WILD IRISH ROSE
Moreen, a convent foundling, wants to uncover the truth of her parentage, so rather than marry, she takes to the road with a band of minstrels.
Colin, the fine minstrel bard, teases and taunts Moreen, trying to tempt her with his ribald verses and naughty tales. Colin helps Moreen become a singer who earns the minstrels' gold and keeps them out of trouble as they travel through castles and towns.
After she falls in love with Colin, he reveals why he's returning to Ireland: vengeance for his clan's defeat at the hands of Sir William Caddell, whom Colin plots to kill.
When they find that Moreen is Sir William's lost daughter, they're stunned. Can Colin kill his beloved's father; can she love Colin and be William's child? Too soon they learn that they are all pawns in a gambit to bring peace to the land. If Moreen weds Colin, the Mac Egan clan and Caddells can live in peace, but when another truth is revealed, will all be lost?
Like a bard of old and a minstrel with a harp and a song in her heart, Lisa Ann Verge plays upon her readers and brings out a tune of desire and deception, war and peace. Though a bit slow at the start, WILD IRISH ROSE picks up its pace and with its bawdy dialogue and colorful cast of characters. SENSUAL (March, 417 pp., $5.50)