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By Design (Medieval Series (Chronological order) #2)

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  956 Ratings  ·  47 Reviews
Bound by honor...

The moment Rhys saw the stunning young woman selling her exquisitely crafted pottery in the marketplace, he was captivated. But the wealthy freemason would never have guessed that just a few days later, a misunderstanding would land Joan in the town stocks and he would become her unlikely savior. After the grueling ordeal, Rhys tenderly cares for Joan's br
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Bantam (first published 2001)
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Feb 15, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
By Design will be enjoyed so much more if you have read By Possession first. MH is a masterful storyteller and By Design is a poignant story, often sad due to the struggles of the time period but beautifully touching and heartwarming. MH descriptions of the time and place where Joan and Rhys find each other is mesmerizing at times. MH writes with an intelligence and warmth of characters that is true escapism.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was ok
Rhys is a 5 star hero. Joan is a 1 star heroine. I never warmed up to her. At all. Towards the end, I skipped about 50 pages and skimmed the past 10. I wish Rhys would have gotten a better heroine and a better story. :(
Fani *loves angst*
I'm feeling ashamed that I do not like this because every single one of my GR friends has rated it with 4 stars or above. I have tried and tried but I cannot bring myself to like the heroine at all. And the only thing that's progressed in the first 125 pages of the book, is the politics. Other than that it's a repetition of push-and-shove-back: they're attracted instantly, he pushes her to accept it, she shoves him back. And again. And again. And again....

But perhaps I'm just in a bad mood, beca
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance-historic
Read this one a few years ago and loved it. Joan and Rhys were fantastic together -- strong, independent, passionate, and stubborn. I liked the Medieval setting, with the stone masonry (Freemasons) and the potters guild, the craft fairs, etc. Glad to see Joan and Rhys get their HEA, but it didnt come easily, so I closed the book with a very satisfied sigh. After all the drama and injustice, they deserved it!

Flaws? Probably. Just can't recall them.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: medieval
This book is the second in a series and the second book I've read by this author. I am a Regency romance fan testing the Medieval romance waters. I am sold on Highland Medieval romance but not this world of English knights and barons. Social class played a huge role in this book, as it did in the last one. And though I really enjoyed the last book, between that book and this one I've decided I do not like stories where the hero and heroine are divided by social class. It's really disheartening t ...more
Nov 18, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ho fatto molta fatica a finirlo, c’era sempre un qualcosa che mi faceva perdere l’interesse.
Jul 10, 2017 rated it liked it
It was ok. I thought it was very serious and a little depressing.
Mar 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
A steamy romantic read from one of my favorite authors.
Regan Walker
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 5-star-reads
Wonderful Medieval Love Story with Masonry and Pottery Making Superbly Incorporated

Set in 14th century England, when a young King Edward reigned, but was still controlled by his mother, Queen Isabella and her lover, Mortimer, Earl of March, this is book 2 in Hunter’s wonderful medieval series of historical romances (see list below), though it can be read as a “stand alone.”

It is the story of a freemason, Rhys, who longs to create beautiful cathedrals and buildings but is forced to appear to act
BJ Rose
Feb 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: medieval, series
Joan has escaped the horrors in her past, only to indenture herself for 5 years to a London tiler. Her drunken master, however, was responsible for putting her in the stocks, since she was caught selling the defective tiles he sent with her to the market. Rhys protects her from the hecklers & rotten-fruit throwers, and ends up buying her indenture. He knows that he wants more from her than master & servant, but he also senses her fear of physical involvement. So altho he keeps her papers ...more
I was surprised that a book of Madeline Hunter's, an author I really enjoy, was such a miss for me. Maybe it's that I don't particularly care for medievals. Maybe it was that the supporting characters (the main characters, not so much) were acting in historically accurate ways, and I didn't enjoy it. Maybe it's that the main characters did NOT act in historically accurate ways, and that irritated me. I don't know.

In short, Rhys was a male Mary Sue, and Joan hit the TSTL mark with a resounding T
Dec 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the 2nd installment to Madeline Hunter's "Medeviel series". This book featured Rhys and Joan, and I really enjoyed the journey we went on with these two. I have loved Rhys since we had first been introduced to him in By Possession. He proved to be even more beautiful inside and out in his own book. I loved the man that he was, demanding, possessive, protective, and determined, but accepting at the same time, allowing the woman he wanted to do what she felt needed doing regardless of ho ...more
Haley Osborn
Its always been a love hate relationship with Hunter's books. Sometimes I love them completely other times that love seems hard won. Its as if she has bad writting days when it comes to some book in comparison to her others. This is one of those books that kept me teetering, I couldn't decide how I really felt about it. But in the end for the most part I found it enjoyable and that trumphs the confusion.
What I didn't like was how drawn out the story seemed. The attraction seemed half heart at ti
By Design - Ok
Hunter, Madeline

The moment Rhys saw the stunning young woman selling her exquisitely crafted pottery in the marketplace, he was captivated. But the wealthy freemason would never have guessed that just a few days later, a misunderstanding would land Joan in the town stocks and he would become her unlikely savior. After the grueling ordeal, Rhys tenderly cares for Joan's bruised body - and her bruised pride. Yet he longs to do much more ... to satisfy the fire that sparks between the
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is the second book in Madeline Hunter's Medieval series, and while I preferred By Possession, I still enjoyed By Design immensely. Joan and Rhys were a fantastic pairing, both clever and brave individuals, and the secondary characters were well realized, too. I was very happy to see Addis and Moira carry over from the first book. As a matter of fact the one thing I actually liked a bit over the first book was that, though the possessiveness was still there, Rhys wasn't generally as over the ...more
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Hunter's storytelling was so intense, at times it threatened to overpower.  This sexually charged atmospheric immersion reminded me of being in early stages of relationship, when the world narrows down to that other person you want to be with and all you can think about is taking it to the next base.  Rhys is calm, chiseled and manly, perfectly suited for his protector role.  He is a master of saying straight forward swoony things.  Joan and Rhys are contrasted against each other, him with his p ...more
Apr 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: madeline-hunter, dnf
Gave up on this one when the psycho Guy Leighton comes into the story. It was already a grim story before that, but reading about a psychopath who happens to be obsessed with the heroine and keeps her in his clutches by threatening to kill her brother (he's already slaughtered her father in cold blood) is just not my idea of a romantic read.

Madeline Hunter depicts 14th century England in her medieval novels as a time of bloodshed and extreme lawlessness, where only might makes right. Her main ch
Aug 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a great read. It kept me engaged the entire book. At first as usual, MH's prose comes off as stilted and hard to follow, but eventually she gets into the story and it all starts flowing. I love Rhys from the first, but have to warm up to Joan. Once I got her backstory, I understood her better and was able to come to terms with how she is. I thought we were going to get our own medivial "Ghost" scene, you know the one where Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze get busy on the clay wheel, but it ...more
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
This is a very good book! I am usually wary of books taking place before 1800 or so, as they seem to fudge history far more than necessary. This book is an exception. While there are, of course, fudges, nothing stood out to me as being so completely anachronistic that it ruined the book for me (like one 11th century book I read where apparently they were familiar with penicillin and germ theory). In addition, the characters in this book are well developed, sympathetic, and the reader feels a rea ...more
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is the first romance novel I have ever read, and I must say, the historical relevance was rather over my head when I was twelve and reading this kind of book for the first time alone and hiding it from my family.

That aside, this is a tremendously written novel with a very full plot. I haven't read it in quite some time, but I can say that the hero and heroine Rhys and Joan have stayed with me through every other romance I have read and I will always compare other's to this book.

If you like
Nancy Crayton
I love reading books that surprise me. This is one of those. I love the way that Madeline Hunter can make the period come alive and create characters that captivate me. If you are not familiar with the regency period before Edward III comes of age to take the throne from his mother, Queen Isabella and Roger Mortimer, this is a chance to become better acquainted in a wonderful story involving Rhys, a Master Builder and Joan, a woman driven to find justice for herself and her younger brother. Wond ...more
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-archive

I liked the first book in the series but the second, set in the period where Isabelle and Roger Mortimer are in charge, was more interesting and powerful. I warmed to Rhys and his gentle and caring ways and his ability to back off and not push Joan for her secrets and fears. The narrative around the creativity of the two main characters in pursuing a craft was also a nice aspect of the book.
Kerry Kenney
If I was in a beach house, and this series was on the shelf and I was in the mood for a romance this book would be okay, it held my attention enough so that I finished it.

I wouldn't spend money on it. This had the same "you belong to me" thing that characterized her other novels in the series and that is a turn off for me.
Olanrewaju Olarinde
not bad. i have read far better ones though. i cant seem to fix what year the book was set though, but it doesn't seem like the regency era. the hero and heroine were sweet. they had an understanding too early though. i guess i can read it again if i nam bored and have nothing to do. i much more enjoyed the tit-bit from the other book (the seducer) that wis at the end.
Apr 16, 2013 rated it liked it
The best part of this book was how the author weaved in so many details and interesting facts around masonry and pottery in the middle ages. I always appreciate when an author does his or her research AND can still spin a good tale.
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Madeline Hunter never stops amazed me with her intricate story....
Jun 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
Madeline Hunter draws you into her story with intriguing characters. I discover her books, by winning one from her monthly contest.
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
Rhys and Joan -sculptor and tiler.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 18, 2015 11:15AM  
  • Hidden Honor
  • Uncommon Vows
  • Saxon Bride (Bride #4)
  • My Beloved (Langlinais #1)
  • A Bed of Spices
  • A Woman Scorned (Lorimer Family & Clan Cameron #2)
  • The Lily and the Sword (Medieval, #1)
  • Surrender to an Irish Warrior (MacEgan Brothers #6)
  • Betrothed (Montagues, #2)
  • Dark Champion (Dark Champion, #2)
  • The Conqueror
  • The Notorious Knight (King John, #2)
  • Shadows and Lace (Brides Of Legend #1)
  • Alinor (The Roselynde Chronicles, #2)
  • The Scotsman
  • Forbidden (Medieval Series #2)
  • The Ideal Wife (Stapleton-Downes, #1)
  • The Lion's Bride
Madeline Hunter is a nationally bestselling author of historical romances who lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. Her books have won two RITA awards and seven nominations, and have had three starred reviews in Publishers Weekly. In a parallel existence to the one she enjoys as a novelist, Madeline has a Ph.D. in art history and teaches at an East Coast university.
More about Madeline Hunter...

Other Books in the Series

Medieval Series (Chronological order) (6 books)
  • By Possession (Medieval #1)
  • Stealing Heaven (Medieval #3)
  • By Arrangement
  • The Protector (Medieval #5)
  • Lord of a Thousand Nights (Medieval #6)

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“You are the husband of my heart, and the love of my life. Wherever I am, whatever I do, you are joined with me and I with you. The part of me that matters will live with you forever. I accept the chain that binds us with joy, because in this unity I have known the purest freedom.” 1 likes
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