fantasy novel: female protagonist, marries a king, looks like his dead wife

veriis

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I hope someone can help me :).

This story starts with a young woman who leaves her home to become the latest of the king's brides in his 'harem.' She brings with her a bridal gift of ceremonial burial armor (I believe). But the king never even sets eye on her, and she becomes isolated and mocked by his other wives for her uncourtly (?) ways (I'm not exactly sure why she was mistreated). What she doesn't know is that she looks almost identical to the king's well-beloved, deceased wife. Anyway, she actually ends up being given away again to another nation's king/chieftain/warlord as part of a peace treaty. The king finally sees her and realizes his mistake too late.

The next part of the story focuses on her new life as (yet again) the bride to another aging monarch. She falls in love with one of his sons and gets pulled into some clan intrigue. Her enemy is another of the chieftain's wives, who if I remember correctly was a sort of shamaness...anyways, she had a drum made from human skin and would use it to summon some sort of evil magic.

Phew! I didn't realized I'd written so much. You may wonder why I can't remember the name of the book when I apparently remember so much of the plot! But take everything with a grain of salt. It has been almost 10 years since I read the book, so details may be misremembered. The library I got it from burned down a while ago so I can't go back there to look. Those poor books :(
 

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