A Splendid Defiance by Stella Riley

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In 1644, one of Prince Rupert’s cavalry officers, Justin Ambrose is posted to the garrison at Banbury Castle as a punishment. The town, already famed for its Puritan zeal, is unswervingly hostile towards the Cavaliers on its doorstep. Justin loathes the place and, deprived of action, is bored, irritable and resentful. Abigail Radford has been taught by her fanatically religious brother, Jonas, to be modest, submissive and, above all, obedient – so when Captain Ambrose crosses her path she finds him as alarming as he is intriguing. When the Parliament sends a large fighting force along with a huge artillery train to re-possess the Castle, Justin gets the action he has been craving and Abigail finds herself playing hostess to the Roundhead colonel and his staff … but the Great Siege takes its toll on both sides. At the end of fourteen long weeks, the garrison have neither powder, shot nor food and have eaten everything except their last two horses. Remarkably, however, they still hold the Castle. Against all the odds, Justin and Abigail secretly develop a curious friendship and, out of devilment coupled with a deep dislike of Jonas Radford, Justin decides to nurture seeds of insurrection in Abigail. But what begins as a few innocent acts of defiance gradually becomes something rather different, bringing danger in its wake. Both of them know that any future relationship is doomed because the gulf between them is so wide as to be unbridgeable. For Abby, this is due to her appalling brother; for Justin, the cause is a shadow from his past that he can no longer keep hidden when it threatens both Abigail’s life and the security of the Castle. But when the Parliament embarks on a second siege and surrender looms large on the horizon, the unwanted feelings that Justin knows he has no choice but to deny become stronger and more painful than any blade or bullet. A Splendid Defiance is a dramatic and enchanting story of forbidden love set against the turmoil and anguish of the Civil War. It is also the true account of one English castle and the men who defended it.

About Stella Riley

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Published December 6, 2012 by HarperCollins Distribution Services. 320 pages
Genres: History, War, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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