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Lindsay Townsend

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Member Since: Sep, 2008

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The Snow Bride
by Lindsay Townsend   

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Books by Lindsay Townsend
· Mistress Angel
· Bride for a Champion
· Dark Maiden
· An Older Evil
· A Christmas Sleeping Beauty
                >> View all

Category: 

Romance

Publisher:  Bookstrand ISBN-10:  1619261790 Type: 

Copyright:  2011 ISBN-13:  9781619261792
Fiction

She is Beauty, but is he the Beast? The first story of Magnus and Elfrida takes place in the depth of winter. Their romantic adventures continue in 'A Summer Bewitchment.'

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Elfrida, spirited, caring and beautiful, is also alone. She is the witch of the woods and no man dares to ask for her hand in marriage until a beast comes stalking brides and steals away her sister. Desperate, the lovely Elfrida offers herself as a sacrifice, as bridal bait, and she is seized by a man with fearful scars. Is he the beast?

In the depths of a frozen midwinter, in the heart of the woodland, Sir Magnus, battle-hardened knight of the Crusades, searches ceaselessly for three missing brides, pitting his wits and weapons against a nameless stalker of the snowy forest. Disfigured and hideously scarred, Magnus has finished with love, he thinks, until he rescues a fourth 'bride', the beautiful, red-haired Elfrida, whose innocent touch ignites in him a fierce passion that satisfies his deepest yearnings and darkest desires.


Excerpt

Magnus was worried. The fire he had made should have brought his people. It was an old signal, well-known between them. His men should have reached the village by now—that had been the arrangement. They were bringing traps and provisions in covered wagons, and hunting dogs and horses. He had been impatient to start his pursuit of the Forest Grendel and so rode ahead, returning with the messenger until that final stretch when the man turned off to his home. He had ridden on alone, finding the wayside shrine.

But from then, all had gone awry. Instead of the monster, he had found an ailing witch, and the snowstorm had lost him more tracks and time.

Magnus shook his head, turning indulgent eyes to the small, still figure on the rough pallet. At least the little witch had slept through the night and day, snug and safe, and he had been able to make her a litter from woven branches. He would give his fire signal a little longer and then return Elfrida to her village. There he might find someone who could translate between them.

Perhaps she did have power, for even as he looked at her, she sat up, the hood of her cloak falling away, and stared at him in return. She said something, then repeated it, and he drew in a great gulp of cold air in sheer astonishment, then laughed.

“I know what you said!” He wanted to kiss her, spots and all.

He burst into a clumsy canter, dragging his peg leg a little and almost tumbling onto her bed. She caught him by the shoulders and tried to steady him but collapsed under his weight.

They finished in an untidy heap on the pallet, with Elfrida hissing by his ear, “Why have you done such a foolish thing as to burn all our fuel?”

He rolled off her, knocked snow off his front and beard, and said in return, “How did you know I would know the old speech, the old English?”

“I dream true, and I dreamed this.” She was blushing, though not, he realized quickly, from shyness.

“Why burn so wildly?” she burst out, clearly furious. “You have wasted it! All that good wood gone to ash!”

“My men know my sign and will come now the storm has gone.” He had not expected thanks or soft words, but he was not about to be scolded by this red-haired nag.

“That is your plan, Sir Magnus? To burn half the forest to alert your troops?”

“A wiser plan than yours, madam, setting yourself as bait. Or had your village left you hanging there, perhaps to nag the beast to death?”

Her face turned as scarlet as the fire. “So says any witless fool! ’Tis too easy a charge men make against women, any woman who thinks and acts for herself. And no man orders me!”

Magnus swallowed the snort of laughter filling up his throat. He doubted she saw any amusement in their finally being able to speak to each other only to quarrel. Had she been a man or a lad, he would have knocked her into the snow, then offered a drink of mead, but such rough fellowship was beyond him here.

“And how would you have fought off any knave, or worse, that found you?” he asked patiently. “You did not succeed with me.”

“There are better ways to vanquish a male than brute force. I knew what I was about!”

“Truly? You were biding your time? And the pox makes you alluring?”

“Says master gargoyle! My spots will pass!”

“Or did you plan to scatter a few herbs, perhaps?”

He thought he heard her clash her teeth together. “I did not plan my sickness, and I do not share my secrets! Had you not snatched me away, had you not interfered, I would know where the monster lives. I would have found my sister! I would be with her!” Her voice hitched, and a look of pain and dread crossed her face. “We would be together. Whatever happens, I would be with her.”

“This was Christina?”

“Is Christina, not was, never was! I know she lives!”

Magnus merely nodded, his temper cooling rapidly as he marked how her color had changed and her body shook. A desperate trap to recover a much-loved sister excused everything, to his way of thinking.

She called you a gargoyle! This piqued his vanity and pride.

But she does not think you the monster, Magnus reminded himself in a dazzled, shocked wonder, embracing that knowledge like a lover.



Professional Reviews

The Celtic Rose
"The Snow Bride" by Lindsay Townsend is the latest ebook release by a very talented British author whose settings range from ancient Egypt to Roman Britain, medieval Europe to Mediterranean locales, but nowhere has her writing disappointed me.

This book set in England during the Crusades is not specifically Celtic, but its depiction of black and white magic, witches and sorcerers, demons and familiars won it a place in my heart and on this blog. Her name is more suggestive of a lingering Anglo-Saxon heritage, but Elfrida's "magicks" appeal to the Celt in me. Sir Magnus is the lusty knight of yore and I could not resist him. Battle-scarred and battle-wise, he is summoned by villagers whose brides--including Elfrida's sister--are being stolen by an evil phantasm--a Forest Grendel. Although Magnus has long since accepted that his maimed limbs and scarred face make him unacceptable in any woman's bed unless he pays for the privilege, he is nonetheless captivated by the strong-willed white witch who offers herself as bait to the monster in an attempt to free her sister. Saving Elfrida from her ill-thought-out plan, he falls in with it and in love with her, lending his redoubtable courage and shrewd battle skills to the cause. I will not give you spoilers about the identity and motivation of the Forest Grendel, but Ms. Townsend's tale of these two lonely people joining forces to track him to his lair is non-stop, rich and lyrical. Her voice is distinctive, her writing style a delight, and the ending is both satisfying and promising in that a sequel would be possible.

I would classify this novel as sensual but not erotic, with tenderly arousing sexual content which is essential to the story. I give it four out of five Celtic Roses.


Sizzling Hot Book Reviews
Lord Magnus is a battle-hardened crusader, returned to his home after years of fighting. He is missing a hand and a foot, from the battles he participated in during the crusades. His face has been wounded and healed leaving scars across it. Women scream at the sight of him, calling him a monster. He is used to it, but after visiting with a fellow knight and his wife, he too wishes that he had someone to love him like his friend does, despite his appearance. Fearsome even missing appendages, three villages ask for his help in apprehending the Forest Grendel, an unknown that has stolen three brides from the three villages. On his way to assist, Magnus passes a statue of a saint, and prays for a woman to love him, to make his wife.

Elfrida, spirited, caring and beautiful, is also alone. She is the witch of the woods and no man dares to ask for her hand in marriage until a beast comes stalking brides and steals away her sister. Desperate, the lovely Elfrida offers herself as a sacrifice, as bridal bait, and she is seized by a man with fearful scars. Is he the beast?
In the depths of a frozen midwinter, in the heart of the woodland, Sir Magnus, battle-hardened knight of the Crusades, searches ceaselessly for three missing brides, pitting his wits and weapons against a nameless stalker of the snowy forest. Disfigured and hideously scarred, Magnus has finished with love, he thinks, until he rescues a fourth 'bride', the beautiful, red-haired Elfrida, whose innocent touch ignites in him a fierce passion that satisfies his deepest yearnings and darkest desires.
Elfrida is the village wise woman, or witch. She is a beautiful red headed woman, with a bit of a temper. Being the village wise woman, Efrida has never had a suitor. She lives in a cottage with her younger sister who is one of the missing women. Elfrida’s only thought is to rescue her sister Christina and return her home. She had promised her mother that she would take care of Christina. Angry that the men hid what was happening, she plots out her own rescue attempt by tying herself between trees to temp the Grendel out. He did not yet have a red headed bride. She dresses in her best dress, puts out a wedding feast and sets herself up as The Snow Bride.

Lord Magnus comes upon Elfrida, and rescues her, thinking the villagers put her up as a sacrifice. She is sick from being outside, but he cannot help admiring her beauty. He releases her and takes her in to help make her better. He finds out that she tied herself up, and admiring her courage, eventually comes to the conclusion that she can assist him. Magnus is willing to let Elfrida handle the witchy stuff, while she knows he can handle the battle plans and strategy. Together they plan to rescue her sister and the other women.

The Snow Bride is and entertaining medieval love story, one of my favorite kinds. I enjoyed that Magnus is willing to woo Elfrida by treating her as an equal, no matter how hard it is for him to do. They have their ups and downs as they learn each other, leading to confusion and doubt on occasion. Both are well rounded, sometimes stubborn and proud characters, and willing to give and take to work together to rescue Elfrida’s sister. I enjoyed the glimpses of life at a noble’s castle, the look at the peasant’s and villages life styles. The banter between Magnus and Elfrida was entertaining, as was the growing love between The Snow Bride and Magnus.


Two Lips Reviews
Elfrida is a gentle, good witch who serves her villagers with healing and makes sacrifices for her sister who is about to marry, but she’s also a lonely young woman who has no hope of having a husband or family of her own. She is a witch after all and who would want to marry a witch?

When her sister is taken just before her wedding, Elfrida is determined to sacrifice herself to get her sister back. She dresses in her best attire to offer herself to the monster as a “Snow Bride” in the hope of discovering who took her sister and the other brides, and somehow find a way to rescue them.

Magnus is a knight who has given much for king and country. Maimed and scarred from battle, he yearns for a woman who might find it in her heart to love the monster he has become. He doesn’t believe there could ever be such a woman until he rescues the Snow Bride from the sinister abductor who has been stealing brides from the villages with evil intent. She is a woman like no other and she does not fear him. But, he may never get the chance to find out if she could ever return his affection if he doesn’t help her find the real monster before time runs out.

I was completely enraptured by The Snow Bride. It’s the best story I’ve read in quite some time. Ms. Lindsay Townsend creates scenery so vibrant I thought I could touch the mistletoe and freeze from the cold. Magnus became a beautiful knight in spite of his scarred face and maimed body as I saw him through the eyes of the heroine. His spirit of kindness and self-sacrifice made me believe he had a heart as big as the sky. I fell in love with him.

The heroine Ms. Townsend created was the kind of woman who could heal a broken heart and mend a wound with her unusual abiding kindness and devotion. She had a steel spine and courage but wisdom enough to listen to the voice of reason. The Snow Bride has everything a reader could ever want in a story: romance, intrigue, redemption and adventure. Ms. Townsend’s wonderful book, The Snow Bride is not to be missed. I could turn around and read it all over again.


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Books by
Lindsay Townsend



Mistress Angel

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Bride for a Champion

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