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This spin-off from the Riordan Brothers trilogy features family friend Dr. John Black. John has seen enough bloody battles and is taking a well-deserved reprieve. On his way to Killarney, he encounters some boys dunking a girl into a pond. John rescues the child and brings her home.

Though grateful for John's concern for her daughter, Daphne, Lily rejects his offer of help. Shunned by the villagers and labeled a witch, Lily does everything she can to protect Daphne from those who believe her daughter's club foot is a mark of the devil.

John's determination to befriend both mother and child leads them all on the road to love and danger as John must protect those he loves from their enemies.

Though not as emotionally powerful as her previous novels, this character-driven romance is a touching story of a mature love. The addition of Daphne's physical problems, Lily's family secrets and some familiar characters are all lovely touches to a satisfying, quietly moving love story. SENSUAL (Dec., 400 pp., $5.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin