THE MAIDEN'S HEART
After his friends death on the tournament field, knight errant Hugh de Greyhurst seeks a new life and agrees to marry a barons daughter sight unseen.
Lady Margrete Trewsbury longs to join a convent, but she must marry to protect her home and freedom. She devises a way to have what she needs by compelling Hugh to agree to a marriage in name only.
Carrying the guilt of his mothers infidelity and his friends death, Hugh feels unworthy, and yet here is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen offering him a home, a title and respectability; with only a small price to pay.
But as they begin living together, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to remain chaste in thought. Hugh strives to be a kind lord and trusting husband while Margrete struggles with her newfound desire and her devotion to the Church.
Their personal battles become public when Hughs jealous and ruthless enemy conspires to see their union destroyed and Margrete and her lands his own.
The colorful backdrop of medieval England complete with the teachings and details about the place of women in the Church make THE MAIDENS HEART an intriguing and thought-provoking romance. Combine this with memorable characters and Ms. Beards ability to recreate the 14th century so clearly, and you have a keeper. SENSUAL (June, 352 pp., $5.99)