Kensington/May 1, 2009
England, 1152. Henry II is king. The country is wracked by bloody civil war. Griffyn Sauvage is a valiant knight with a strict moral code of honor. But when his family's estate and vast treasures are seized, he becomes hardened by the betrayal. Now he will go to any lengths for vengeance even if it means forming a union with his most despised enemy by marrying his daughter, Lady Guinevere de l'Ami. Then, Griffyn lays eyes on Gwyn and is completely disarmed. . .
As war strikes, Gwyn is left alone to fight her enemies who want control of her ancestral lands. When Griffyn comes to her rescue, she is grateful that the mysterious, brave knight has risked his life to protect hers. With each passing day, she finds herself drawn to him even as she senses he's hiding a dark secret from her. And when another dangerous adversary closes in on both of them, Griffyn and Gwyn's trust in each other will be put to the ultimate test. . .
Griffyn Sauvage has grown up knowing war, fighting and espionage. He's been away from his home since he was eight years old. Seventeen years have past and now he's back with a vengeance. Griffyn is such a wonderful hero! He's smart, brave, wicked quick with a sword and funny. Yes, he's funny! For the most part, The Conqueror is a fairly serious story but there are amusing moments, mainly between Griffyn and Gwyn or Griffyn and his men. Griffyn has this quality about him that lets you know he's in command but he also has a kind side to him which came through well in the writing.
Lady Guinevere de l'Ami, Gwyn, has suffered a number of losses in her life. Most recently is the death of her father. Gwyn wasn't close with her father, he was not a man given to closeness, but she did need him and the protection he offered. Now she is on her own for the most part and must rely on her wits to keep her and her people safe. Gwyn does come across as smart but boy does she find trouble easily! It seems like everyone is after her. It turned out well for her since Gryffin comes to her rescue twice in one night!
The romance starts out pretty good but without any intentions on either Gryffin or Gwyn's part for it to continue beyond that first night. Circumstances or fate continue to place both Gwyn and Gryffin together and their romance grows. I did like how their romance was portrayed realistically within the politics of the times. It's rough going and when you have two people with opposing loyalties trying to be loyal to each other, there is bound to be some difficulties. Kennedy does well in providing the right amount of growing tension and affection between Gryffin and Gwyn.
I really enjoyed the setting, time period and political intrigued woven through the story. It takes me back when I would seek out medieval romances because I loved getting lost in those dangerous times and knights in shining amour. The Conqueror gives the reader all that and more.