The House of Baric Part One (Paperback)

Shields Down

By Jillian Bald

Hillwalker Publishing, 9781943594078, 444pp.

Publication Date: May 1, 2018

List Price: 21.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.


"This is a delightful series." -- Historical Novel Society Book Review

Marriage matches for the Venetian nobility were not preordained by God in heaven, they were skillfully negotiated by fathers looking to enhance their own prestige and wealth.

A 17th century young lady could overlook petty shortcomings in her future husband, if he were rich, held a title, and was easy on the eyes. Mauro Baric would have been such a desirable match. As heir to a Venetian barony, Mauro had connections to powerful political allies that would please a future father-in-law. As a bonus to the potential bride, he was indeed attractive and desirable.

Mauro did have some quirks, though, perhaps due to his crazy mother's neglect, or his father ruining Mauro's wish to die a hero's death on a battlefield somewhere, or his own lingering guilt over his brother's accident. He was the last male of the House of Baric and must marry soon. But his match was sealed years ago.

Terese Kokkinos--Resi, as her family called her--was not a Venetian lady. She was the daughter of an Ottoman sea trader and was not interested in marrying an aristocrat any more than Mauro wanted a common Greek girl as his bride. But what they wanted was irrelevant.

Betrothed as children to repay Resi's father's debt to the Barics, their paired future together was the keystone to the House of Barics' continued success, as well as proof of her father's pledge to no longer cheat them.

Resi made the best of her sequestered adolescence while she waited to be summoned to the Venetian territory of Croatia to marry. Since her fate had already been decided, she did not need to learn the skills other girls focused on to entice a desirable husband. So Resi used her freedom to read every book she could find. An educated wife was not desirable, but her future husband was to blame for that. Mauro's choice to remain a bachelor, soldiering in his uncle's army until finally called home to Croatia, happily kept her in Thessaloniki--until tragedy struck the House of Baric.

The House of Baric Part One: Shields Down begins in the summer of 1649. The Thirty Years' War was winding down, and Mauro and his small army could finally spend their days at Baric Castle again. A year had passed since Mauro and Resi's marriage, yet the newlyweds still barely knew each other. Her strong will and his stoic nature made for an awkward courtship as they learned more about each other. Through it, Mauro could no longer deny that his complicated and unpredictable wife might be his perfect match after all.

There were many people living with Mauro and Resi--soldiers and servants employed to keep the castle running. Dear friends and unexpected visitors would bring their own troubles to the House of Baric. Bonds of friendship will strengthen and love will bloom that summer, and not just between the Barics.

With humor and drama, the trilogy's story grows like smoldering coals igniting as new kindling is added, bit by bit. You are a fly-on-the-wall in the Barics' intriguing and adventurous world throughout the three part saga. Love, war, hating, and mating were perhaps not so different back in the 17th century. These entertaining and memorable characters only wanted to steer their own destinies in search of a happily ever after, and you will find yourself rooting for them to succeed in their quest.