Widowed Lady Lyssa fled when trouble came. As she returns, she fears she will see destruction and her people in poverty. Instead she finds a prosperous community and a safe castle, all due to mysterious knight Lord Thomas' intervention.

Dark and large, Thomas arrived shortly after Lyssa's flight, offering his sword arm in exchange for staying at the castle. The peasants accepted him and have thrived ever since. Lyssa is happy to let Thomas stay, but a secret and her growing passion threaten them both.

Lyssa must contend with her stepdaughter's blossoming sensuality and her stepson's puberty when all she wants is to work at her looms. But her greatest danger comes from her growing attraction to Thomas and his to her.

This realistic portrait of medieval life looks deeply into what makes a man worthy of the title of knight. When Lyssa discovers Thomas' ruse, she nearly loses the man she loves and respects. Not until he proves his mettle do all realize it is within a man's grasp to become a knight no matter his station in life when what he fights for is worthy.

Ms. Samuels weaves a tale worthy of one of Lyssa's tapestries. Not only does she write of love between men and women, but of the powerful friendships between the women and a man's need to be free and respected. This is a powerful, stirring medieval romance. SENSUAL (Aug., 350 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin