After Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine are married, Henry's political machinations include his desire to solidify his French holdings by marrying French brides to his loyal knights.

Raven de Cortillion, rather than her younger brother Jaques, is heir to her father's estate. Henry forces a marriage between Raven and Quynn St. Crowell as a means of testing Quynn's allegiance. Quynn and Raven must produce an heir within a year or both will forfeit their lands to the crown.

To ensure Raven's cooperation, her brother in not allowed to manage his lands or his sister's, and must accept St. Crowell's younger brother as administrator.

Henry's manipulations produce much distrust and suspicion for Quynn and his reluctant bride. Neither is pleased with the forced marriage, but Raven, who was taken away from her home and her beloved brother is doubly against their union. However, she cannot deny her handsome husband.

When Jaques is accused of sedition, her mistrust of her husband is brought to a climactic explosion of turmoil and political unrest in France.

WHEN I GIVE MY LOVE, Ms. Wrighton's debut, is a tale of two lovers with everything against them who nevertheless find love and trust in each other. The poignantly-drawn story moves swiftly as the well-drawn characters search to overcome the obstacles in their path. SENSUAL (May, 400 pp., $4.99)

Reviewed by: 
Michell Phifer