Rock's second historical is a highly readable medieval romance with an entertaining touch of the paranormal.

The Glamorgan women of Ariana's family, on the paternal side, have been spinsters for over a hundred years—due, it's said, to a scorned woman's curse. She's determined to marry a stranger whose approach her mentor foretells. This way, she can end the curse and free her young female relatives to marry.

Before traveling to battle in France, the stranger, English knight Sir Roarke Barret, must secure his Welsh estate and follow King Henry's order for an immediate marriage to a Welsh bride.

When Ariana and Roarke meet, it's obvious to her that he sees her beyond the veil of the curse. After she marries Roarke, poisoned wine puts them to sleep on their wedding night, and consummation of the marriage, which appeals more and more to both of them, doesn't happen because Roarke must complete his mission for the king. He leaves, but Ariana follows to warn him of treachery she's seen in a vision.

This plot is pleasantly complex, the setting well developed, the heroine and hero traditional and romantic and the ending happily interesting. (Sep., 301 pp., $5.50)
Reviewed by: 
Gerry Benninger