I picked this book up because it's set in England in medieval times. I'm a history geek, so this fit's me quite well. In addition I haven't read that many young adult books, which are set in the past.
First I have to say that this book is an interesting read, the story line is not amazing but still decent and the characters are outlined in a way to show them as detailed as possible. I had a problem with the attitude of the book, if there is something like this. Through the author did a lot of research and the historical details were mostly accurate, there were a few things, which didn't fit. For example Annabel's attitude in the beginning. She is avoiding getting married to a far older and almost disgusting man. Not that I approve of this, but I think this was the standard at that time. Girls and women had no saying in who they would marry and as a lot of women died giving birth, older, widowed and well off men very often married young, healthy girls. I also found it shocking that Annabel could read. Books were so expensive that except for very rich people (mainly nobility) nobody could afford them. How could she have learned reading then, especially as girls weren't educated at all. Even knights and other gentry couldn't necessarily read. There were a few others a bit incorrectly portrayed things and though they were all minor they annoyed me. Maybe I'm too strict.
Otherwise Annabel was an easily likeable girl with the right attributes. She is in a bad situation and tries to make the best of it. Lord Ranulf is a noble man, with a rather bad temper. He is well educated and interested in his surroundings. As the plot goes on Annabel and Rannulf come closer to each other and have to face some rather serious obstacles.
I'm sorry but this story was mediocre. Not bad, but not exciting either. In addition I'm not religious and there is a strong Christian motive throughout the book. This suits the historical setting but didn't add anything for me. Also, for me, characters and situation were drawn too much as black and white, good and bad. Maybe I'm not the right audience for this book, as a lot of people seem to like it a lot. As I mentioned, it's not a badly written story, it just didn't work for me.
* ARC courtesy of publisher provided by NetGalley *