VERY MILD SPOILERS 😉
4 1/2 stars
The Black Lyon
The Black Lyon was my first Jude Deveraux read. I loved the first half, but the second half faltered a bit as a devious woman’s scheming separates the two protagonists.
Lady Lyonene is young, free-spirited, and really quite charming, while Ranulf de Warbrooke is a powerful and gruff knight. They meet and Lyonene instantly falls for the much older Ranulf. Lyonene has no idea what she’s getting herself into when she agrees to marry him so impetuously. A cruel monster of a man soon replaces the gentle man he seemed to be when they first met.
I loved how Lyonene makes her home on Ranulf’s fortress island, Malvoisin (it means “bad neighbor”), charming his retinue of black-haired knights while Ranulf is his grumpy self. He and Lyonene struggle to make their marriage work due to Ranulf’s turbulent nature. However, when the two are separated due to Amicia, a jealous evil Frankish woman who tries to come between them, the story takes a bit of a downturn.
We do get to find out how the Montgomery family started, as Ranulf & Lyonene’s son is named Montgomery. Montgomery later shows up in Jude Deveraux’s The Maiden as a squire to that book’s hero, Rowan.
The Black Lyon was a great read, however, Ranulf’s needless cruelty and the other woman’s antics made it one fall short of perfection.