In a desperate attempt to escape King Johns unwanted attentions, Lady Melyssan masquerades as the wife of Sir Jaufre de Macy. Though he is known as the notorious Dark Knight Without Mercy, to Melyssan he is the shining Sir Lancelot of her childhood reveries. Surprised at being wed, but willing to bed his beautiful (though lame) wife, the cynical, embittered knight begins to woo his lady.
Already deeply in love with Jaufre, Melyssan feels her girlish adoration change to a womans passion and surrenders her heart. But his unwarranted, cruel accusations send her straight into Johns vile clutches. Obsessed with taking her back, Jaufre risks his fortune, his home and his life to save her from shameful penance and imprisonment, only to find the kings wrath directed toward them again and again.
Like Roberta Gellis and Mary Pershall, Susan Carroll brings all the iridescent luster of the middle ages to life in this marvelous story that reads like a fine fairytale, WINTERBOURNE is rich with the aura of chivalry, and a womans faith in the enduring power of love. There are evil villains, fierce battles, a fabulous portrait of King John and the signing of the Magna Carta. SENSUAL (Nov., 345 pp., $6.50)