My first Teresa Medeiros novel, and I couldn't be more pleased. The book is just too charming and witty to not love. I was reminded of the classic fairytale Cinderella and the classic movie Sound of Music throughout the novel, but the novel still managed to maintain a fresh, original appeal.
The novel's heart and soul belongs with our witty yet resilient heroine, Willow. It begins with a child Willow looking forward to a new mother only to find out she's a cruel stepmother with a horde of children of her own. A child's dream of being loved by a mother vanishes in a heartbeat along with her own father's favor since his new wife brings money to their impoverished castle and estates.
Willow grows up as little more than a servant and nurse for her stepsisters and stepbrothers. She's bent, but not broken, and still dreams of a prince rescuing her from her beleaguered condition.
Lord Bannor the Bold, favored by the King of England, seeks a plump, unattractive yet caring mother for his estranged 10 children who harass and annoy him daily. He doesn't want anymore children of his own, so resolves to seek an unattractive lady. When he sends out his vassal in search of this lady, they bring back a beautiful Willow, who defies her father and resolves to marry a man she has not seen just to escape her situation. Instead of finding a prince to love, she finds 10 children she must care for as a nursemaid and once again her dreams are shattered.
The charming yet hilarious story really takes off there as a kind, witty and resilient Willow captures the hearts of not only Bannor's children but Bannor as well.
I do have some complaints.
I thought Willow should have been more assertive about having children of her own. She says she doesn't want to have her own children, but she gives in to Bannor about this point too easily.
I also thought the ending could have been better crafted, it left something to be desired as Medeiros inserted other romances without having much to show between the lead pair.
I was actually looking for more scenes between Willow and Banner's children, but it seemed we got all too little of that.
Finally, it ended too quickly! I wanted more of Willow, and I wanted to see the second wedding between Bannor and Willow confirming their vows in front of Willow's family.
But oh well, a thoroughly entertaining and charming read nonetheless.