Illuminations of the Heart, by Joyce DiPastena
He spoke the name on a breath like a prayer. Then he lowered his head and kissed her.
Her heart is lost in that first embrace, her world shaken to its foundations. There is just one problem: her name is not Clothilde. It is Siriol de Calendri.
Trained in the art of illumination in the far-off city of Venice, Siri is directed by her late brotherís will to the county of Poitou in France, where she enters the guardianship of her brotherís friend, Sir Triston de Brielle. Once in Poitou, Siri hopes to find employment in an illuminatorís shopóuntil Triston unexpectedly snatches her heart away with a kiss.
Triston is a man of quiet honor and courage, but the guilt he carries for the death of his late wife, Clothilde, has left him numb and hesitant to love again. Worse yet, Siri bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love. Or does she? Her merry laughter and twinkling eyes are very different from his late wifeís shy smiles and quiet ways. Yet when he gazes into Siriís face, all he sees is Clothilde.
Then Tristonís past returns to threaten them both. Will his tragic life with Clothilde be repeated with Siri? Trapped between the rivalry of the kingís sons on the one hand and a neighbor out for vengeance on the other, Triston realizes it would be safer to send Siri away. But how can he bear to lose her again?
Siri is determined not to be cast off and not to live in another womanís shadow. She has illuminated many a priceless book with pen and paint. But can her own vibrant spirit illuminate the darkness in Tristonís soul and make his heart beat for her alone?
Read the first chapter of Illuminations of the Heart here
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