Dangerous Gifts

Haywood Smith, Author
Haywood Smith, Author St. Martin's Press $5.99 (320p) ISBN 978-0-312-96883-0
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Haywood Smith's newest (after Secrets in Satin) is another jewel in her crown--an unusual medieval love story about two commoners in which the lovers don't even meet until a third of the way through. Even readers who prefer a more expedient romance will find this story of two emotionally wounded people deeply satisfying. Cast out of her house by greedy in-laws, widow Claire meets a healer named Nonna and agrees to marry her religious son, Palmer. The characterizations are wonderful; both Palmer and Claire seem like real people, albeit exceptionally courageous and heroic ones. The story line and secondary characters are as fully fleshed as the protagonists; together they compose a quiet but richly detailed story of past pains healed by the power of love. This unusual romance is neither action filled nor driven by internal conflict between the lovers, but those looking for a different read than your basic knight-and-maiden medieval romance won't wwant to miss this. (Mar.)
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