Alexa Fitzwalter is transported via a magic arch to the world of Lladrana, where the Marshalls—guardians of the land—are fighting an ancient evil. A magical ward that protected Lladrana for centuries is now failing, and according to prophecy, the Marshalls summoned Alexa to be their champion.

The Marshalls want Alexa to choose a mate, yet court politics and petty feuds abound and Alexa doesn't know who to trust—until she meets scarred warrior Bastien. Torn between desire for Bastien and the need to return home, Alexa senses that her destiny is tied to the outcome of the battle for Lladrana.

Owens excels at evocative, sensual writing, bringing the world of Lladrana to life and keeping a large cast of characters sharply defined. But abrupt point-of-view shifts confuse events and Alexa settles far too easily into her role of warrior. Owens' strength is in description and world-building, and the romance between Alexa and Bastien develops naturally, making this a pleasant diversion for romantic fantasy fans. (Feb., 496 pp., $13.95)
Reviewed by: 
Jen Talley Exum