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With the world in chaos in the aftermath of the Black Death, the widowed Lady Eleanor arrives at her husband’s tattered and deserted castle, determined to make a home for the trio of orphans she has adopted on her journey, as well as for any other straggler who needs to start their lives afresh. As she explores the battered keep, a huge shadow overtakes her in the darkness–a gargoyle made flesh, commanding her to leave or pay the consequences. Unaware that the beast is the ruthless, black-hearted war lord whom she married by proxy before the Great Pestilence, but had never met, Eleanor steels her courage, claims her legal dower rights to the castle as the widow of William Bayard, the late lord of Hawks, and demands that he either stay and help her restore that castle, or leave immediately.


Nicholas Bayard is stunned to discover the virginal bride he thought had perished in the plague is very much alive, and more beautiful than he could ever have imagined. Not that he could allow such a thought to matter. Believing himself cursed by God and damned for his life of war and infamy, he conceals his true identity from his wife and reluctantly agrees to help restore the castle–one final penance for his sins, and then he will leave the world for a solitary, monastic life.

Yet Eleanor is a constant temptation, her hope and determination nearly impossible to resist. Her generous heart and joy in life is as intoxicating to Nicholas as her belief in miracles, and he soon finds himself burning for the woman he cannot have, for the love he doesn’t deserve.

But when Eleanor follows the clues that lead to Nicholas’s true identity, she falls in love with the remarkable and selfless man her husband has become, and proves to him that love is the greatest miracle of all.


One of the Top Ten Favorite Books of the Year — Romance Writers of America

Career Achievement nomination — Romantic Times

Nominated for a Frances award as Best Medieval; The Romance Journal

“Deeply intense, richly textured in emotion and colorful characterization, THE MAIDEN BRIDE is a tale to savor….” Romantic Times Top Pick — 4-1/2 Stars

AMAZON — Taken to Another Time and Another Place
I really enjoyed this book. When I read a book, I want to be taken away to a different time and place. I want to see good people struggling to overcome life’s tragedies. I want to laugh and I want to cry. This book had it all. By Bernadette

“Deeply intense, richly textured in emotion and colorful characterization, THE MAIDEN BRIDE is a tale to savor. Linda Needham paints a haunting picture of the human heart with all its foibles and nuances, drawing the reader into her tale and proving once again that love is the greatest gift of all.” VERY SENSUAL. Beth MacGregor, Romantic Times Magazine. 4 1/2 Stars.

“THE MAIDEN BRIDE is a reading treasure. The sexual tension starts with a trickle that builds into a deluge. Plotting is outstanding, conflict strong and emotional. These qualities are the signatures of this very talented writer.” MT, Rendezvous

“THE MAIDEN BRIDE sparkles with sprightly dialogue and wit, all infused with the warmth and commitment Eleanor brings to building a safe and secure home. Nicholas/William is alternately dashing and tortured, and Eleanor is strong and passionate.” Lynn Coddington, Contra Costa Times


Book cover The Maiden Bride by Linda Needham