Follow the heart through darkness . . .As the Inquisition gains force, even the faintest rumor can brand one a heretic. In this world it is Sancha's gift--or curse--to be blessed with the gift of healing. But the villagers are in need of her arts more than ever, and she feels it is her duty to help them at the risk of losing her life. And at the sacrifice of her heart . . .
Enrique has never wanted a woman as he does Sancha. Determined to have her love, he woos her with exquisite passion, giving her refuge to pursue her healing in secret. But their very desire and escape from the ruthless forces of the world may be their undoing. And together, they must pit themselves against a jealous rival and archaic tradition to secure their place in a hopeful new dawn . . .
What a fool he'd been to have fallen in love with her, though he couldn't change the matter now. She was his life.
A romance set during the Spanish Inquisition.
Well. Quite honestly I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed this book, I've never really thought of about reading a historical romance set during this period or even wondered about the Spanish Inquisition itself. One thing I will say about this book is that it brought to attention how much I take for granted, being a woman during the Spanish inquisition was not an easy thing. Especially for Sancha.
Sancha is a progressive and independent woman stuck in age where woman are seen as a means to either gain heirs or more property.
If a woman shows to much interest in a subject mainly for men, she's a witch.
If she doesn't want to marry and have babies, she's a witch.
If she speaks her mind, she's a witch.
It didn't really take very much for a woman to be tortured and burned at the stake for witchcraft. And while nobles like Sancha were rarely accused they were not immune.
"I want you because of the joy you give me. Tell me you accept my offer."
I know I haven't mentioned the romance and before you think this isn't a romance let me set you straight. This was most definitely an erotic historical romance. The romance and sex scenes were lush, sensual and very descriptive. And while I've read many erotic romance novels, this one set a very different mood, and I think that was because of the formality of everyone's speech and the writing itself.
But trust me it didn't take away from my enjoyment.
She lowered her face. If his words had come from another man, they would have sounded like an accusation of witchcraft. How she wished to live in a different world where women's lives weren't made unnecessarily difficult. Forcing them to hide their feelings, tell lies when the truth would have served better, and to always wear fear as men did their sense of privilege.
Enrique is besotted. He is dead set on having Sancha, he wants her as his wife while she will hear nothing of it. Don't be fooled though, Sancha desperately wanted Enrique but not at the price of losing one of the most important things in her life. The freedom to use her skills as a healer. And while being a woman and healer is almost as a good as being a witch in the eyes of the Spanish inquisition, trying to do it while married would be impossible. No husband would ever allow his wife to travel with no escort, to heal peasants of all things. At least this is what she thinks Enrique will say.
And while Enrique would rather she not put her life at risk, he's willing to do anything to make her happy as long as she becomes his wife. These two were so hot for each other, there were so many intense scenes between them than began innocently enough but would end with them both horizontal. Enrique had so much patience with Sancha. At times I wondered if she even realised how much danger she was putting not only herself but her family in. Was healing the sick worth the chance of being taken by the inquisition? Possibly at the hands of the very people she was helping?
This book dealt with so much. Lust, love, sacrifice, jealousy and most importantly fierce determination. The romance is a big part of this book, but I honestly felt like it took second place when it came to the battle Sancha had to go though for her independence. And she was very determined.
One of the characters that was introduced in this book was Tomas (Enrique's brother, who seems like a really funny character although I think that will change, I'm definitely excited to read his book!
ARC kindly provided by publisher via Netgalley in return for an honest review