LORD OF THE MANOR
Ms. Anton has written a marvelous medieval romance that doesn't present the clichéd plot of a Norman knight and a Saxon maiden.
The hero, Richard of Wilmont, is a Norman. Lucinda of Northbyrne, the heroine, is Norman as well, but has been hiding for three years as a Saxon peasant. When Richard meets Lucinda, he learns she is the widow of his family's enemy, Basil Northbyrne.
After the traitor Northbyrne's death, the king grants his lands to the Wilmonts. To prevent greedy barons from using Lucinda or her son to start a war with the Wilmonts over this land, the king makes Richard young Philip's guardian, and insists that Lucinda live with her son for the next two years.
Richard and Lucinda fall in love, in spite of his hatred for her late husband. He comes to learn that she was a much a victim of Basil as his own family.
Brisk plot, well-drawn characters and believable dialogue all combine to make this romance a gem. One hopes Ms. Anton will write a sequel featuring the delightful Philip as a grown man. SENSUAL (Oct., 300 pp., $4.99)