Wed to an aging goldsmith, Emmaline is so desperate to provide her husband with a son that she arranges to secretly meet with a handsome stranger and then sends him away. Yet, after one night and the birth of her son, Emmaline has never forgotten the virile young man who stirred her passions.

Ten years later Emmaline is a wealthy widow, a revered guild member, a money lender, and a courier for the Welsh prince when their new overlord arrives. Emmaline is shocked to see the face of her one night lover.

Niall fitzJulien is on a mission for King Henry II when he spies Emmaline. Determined to possess the widow, her wealth and his son, Niall will stop at nothing short of Emmaline's surrender. He uses his position of power to "encourage" their marriage, and though she strives to remain cool there is no denying the passion Niall can ignite.

As they strive to build a marriage and to find trust and mutual respect, King Henry and his beautiful Queen Eleanor arrive and plunge the newlyweds into a game of jealousy and political intrigue. Emmaline's dealings with the Welsh threaten her life, but when she helps Eleanor out of a ticklish situation she wins not only the queen's favor, but Niall's respect and unconditional love.

THE CRYSTAL HEART is a stunning historical romance novel by an accomplished storyteller. Katherine Deauxville is a master at weaving reality and romance into a tapestry fit for the medieval reader's "keeper" collection next to Roberta Gellis, Anita Mills and Sharon Kay Penman. VERY SENSUAL (Aug., 400 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin