When Jonas Bretanne is returned to his family dead (with mysterious rope marks around his neck), his sister Annyn swears to avenge him. Educating herself in swordplay and horse riding, she dresses as a squire and goes to the same training camp where Jonas served, at a castle belonging to Baron Wulfrith. Her sole aim is to kill Wulfrith, but to do so, she must first show herself worthy of a place in his household. As Wulfrith trains her in the rules of conduct and warfare, she sees the honor in his ways. Can she maintain her resolution to strike him dead in the darkness of night when she feels herself falling in love with all his good qualities?
Annoyed at the distraction women create, Wulfrith refuses to allow them on the premises of his castle. His life’s goal is to train warriors, and while he serves King Stephen now, he is aware that times are changing and that Henry Plantagenet may soon be the ruler of the land. The determination Wulfrith sees in his new squire is matched only by the fire of hatred that hides behind the young man’s eyes. The boy is clearly as weak as a priest, but there is something about him that won’t give up….
This book is definitely a historical romance (rather than historical fiction with romantic elements), and although it is a “clean” romance, it is fairly frank about sexual matters. The backdrop of the Anarchy (the civil war between Stephen and Henry Plantagenet) was interesting, but realistically, the story could have existed in a fantasy-style Middle Ages without any grounding in history. The characterization was well-done (aside from Annyn’s anachronistic feminism), and the plot galloped along at a breathtaking pace to the very end.
Tamara Leigh is very skilled at the series “hook,” and I found myself finishing all of her eight-book Age of Faith series within one week. Here is the series in order:
- The Unveiling (Book 1, the story of Annyn and Garr)
- The Yielding (Book 2, the story of Beatrix and Michael)
- The Redeeming (Book 3, the story of Gaenor and Christian)
- The Kindling (Book 4, the story of Helene and Abel)
- The Longing (Book 5, the story of Susanna and Everard)
- The Vexing (Book 6, the story of Beata and Durand)
- The Awakening (Book 7, the story of Laura and Lothaire)
- The Raveling (Book 8, the story of Honore and Elias)