Bastard knight Hugh Loxton's father, Lord William Canby finally offers him legitimacy-the right to bear the family name-but only if he accedes to King Richard's usurper Henry Bollingbrook's wishes and weds Richard's Queen Isabelle's lady-in-waiting, Dominique de Severies. But Hugh is wary.
Along with the lady's dowry, Hugh will be granted Evistone and the title of Earl. But he finally consents, despite the "catch" in the arrangements.
Held by Henry's men and drugged because of a dark secret she stumbled upon, Lady Dominique is said to have mysteriously contracted brain fever. Her uncle agrees to Henry's generous offer to see her wed to one of his vassals.
Once they are wed Hugh proceeds to Evistone. Along the arduous trek he discovers there is more to his wife's condition than meets the eye. Deeply attracted to Dominique, Hugh will move heaven and earth to see her safe and happy. Their attraction soon blossoms into a deep and abiding love. Pawns in a dangerous ploy to secure the throne, the lovers must tread softly for treachery abounds and the enemy lurks where they least expect it.
Rich in historical detail, HEART'S AWAKENING is a provocative tale of intrigue, treachery, loyalty and love that will enthrall. With vibrant characterization and a compelling plot Ms. Brantley touches the imagination and the heart with this intricate medieval tale not soon to be forgotten. VERY SENSUAL (Dec., 319 pp., $4.99)