cover image MY LADY BELOVED


Linda Lael Miller, Lael St James, . . Sonnet, $6.99 (358pp) ISBN 978-0-671-53787-6

Though better known for her frontier-set Springwater Seasons series, prolific St. James (aka Linda Lael Miller) has dabbled in every subgenre from time travel to the contemporary. For this feisty 14th-century romance, St. James draws readers back to a time when the war between England and France raged, the Plague ravaged Europe and the only options for a woman like Gabriella Redclift, the gently bred daughter of an impoverished knight, was to enter the abbey or to pray for an advantageous marriage. Gabriella must take the latter path to ensure the welfare of her younger siblings, Meg and Elizabeth, and she couldn't have hoped for a more prosperous husband than Sir Cyprian Avendall, a rather stern-faced knight with considerable holdings. En route to Avendall's castle, however, Gabriella is kidnapped by rugged Sir Morgan Chalstrey, the Duke of Edgerfield and Avendall's archenemy. Morgan blames Avendall for the death of his childhood sweetheart, and he plans to exact his revenge by holding Gabriella hostage. Inevitably, Gabriella and Morgan fall in lust with each other. Love will come, but only after a succession of misadventures and misunderstandings. Though her writing is not at its best here, St. James delivers a fine, fast read that fans of the genre will enjoy. (June)

Forecast:This is Miller's first novel under her new pseudonym. As such, this novel's initial sales will pale in comparison to her recent April hardcover release, Springwater Wedding.