Eight long years pass before Tristan finally comes home. A beautiful woman greets him in the garden, claiming to be Amiranth’s cousin. Yet somehow she seems hauntingly familiar, with an ethereal radiance that stirs him deep within his heart. Is she really his wife, grown into a lady of breathtaking beauty – or another woman who has awakened within him a passion he has never known? To discover the truth, Tristan must reveal the secrets of what happened those years he was away – and find the love that was closer than he ever imagined…
Lately, I seem to hanker for fairytale romances and this story appears to fit the bill. It combines the Ugly Duckling storyline with unrequited love, and love lost and found – some of my favourite themes in romantic fiction – and the whole saga takes place in medieval England.
I was fully immersed in the story from the first page. I loved the restrained yet evocative, heartfelt writing.
Opening lines of Chapter One:
It was going to be the most glorious day of her life.
Today, Lady Amiranth St. Clare was to become a woman. She was fifteen years old, and a bride.
His bride. Tristan Geraint, Earl of Haverlocke.
She had loved him for years already. It was deep and heady and thrilling, and completely without reason, she knew.
Amiranth had not told anyone of it, not even her cousin Lily, her most trusted friend. It was as if to share this feeling with anyone else – anyone – would tarnish it, turn it from shining silver to tin.
She did not dare risk that. It was too wonderful a suffering, too dear and delightful and agonizing to give up.
Amiranth had seen him her very first time at court, when she was just a child. Only nine years old, and the moment she picked him out from the line of squires lingering by a wall in the king’s antechamber she had felt it – her breathing stopped, her heart stopped, her entire existence … stopped.
Tristan and Amiranth are good together. They are well-drawn characters who won me over and made me care about them. Amiranth, especially, is such a great character – very intelligent, calm, stoic yet extremely vulnerable when it comes to Tristan. Their happily-ever-after doesn’t come easy, but when it finally happens, it is moving and very satisfying.
I closed this book with a wistful sigh of pleasure.