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What would you do when a dashing officer asks you to marry him, and wants to take you away to another continent?
How would you react if this husband gets murdered and you are taken prisoner? Even forced to marry a foreign ruler?
How do you survive if your town is under attack and you are accused of treason?
And what happens if at last you meet this one man who sweeps you off your feet?
The answers are all in this novel. Maria is a strong woman, but she has to overcome many hardships to find her one true love.
The banners were flying proudly from the sturdy towers of Fenwick Castle. It promised to be a beautiful day in May. The skies were clear and there was no threat of rain.
Lady Fenwick, bearing her sixty-nine years with grace, was standing before one of the windows of the highest tower and looking down at the lawns beneath her. She was a fragile woman with now totally white hair and blue eyes which had kept their beauty throughout the years.
She found herself in her secret room - a small, rounded turret room with oak panelling. Years ago the previous mistress of Fenwick Castle had it closed up because the stairway leading to it was deemed unsafe. Mary had taken advantage of one of Michael’s many absences to have it secretly repaired and now used the room to keep her hidden treasures. Only she and Tetla had the keys to open it.
At first, Michael, Lord Fenwick, had not wanted the Indian woman, Tetla, to remain his wife’s most trusted serving woman. Lady Fenwick sometimes thought Michael was afraid of Tetla, and of her sorcery, about which many of the villagers were whispering. But Mary could always persuade Michael to let her have her way. Tetla had come along and had shared her secrets ever since.
"Daughter of the Sun? They are waiting for you!" Mary had not heard the soft footsteps. The words Tetla uttered were in a language that only Mary and Tetla could understand, the ancient language of the Aztec Indians. Mary nodded her head.
"I know, my dear. Tell my lord that I’m coming down at any moment."
"The children are waiting eagerly. They want to escort their grandmother to church."
Ah, the grandchildren! They were the joy of her life, the children of the sons and daughters she had borne Michael – and who had slowly, gradually, made up for the loss of her little boy, her prince.
Together she and Michael were the parents of four children--two sons and two daughters, all healthy and full of life and mischief, just like their father. The eldest son was baptized Michael, after his father (but to Mary after her first husband, Miguel). The second son had been named Philip, supposedly after her father but in fact after Don Felipe, her third husband.
"Not much longer, Tetla. I only need a minute."
Today they were celebrating Viscount Fenwick’s seventieth birthday. Not many people of their age were so fortunate. Everyone, their children, their grandchildren, and the people in the village told them how blessed they were to reach such an old age without loss of health and strength.
"Only one more minute…"
"So I will tell them, Daughter of the Sun." Tetla bowed and left the room.
Mary withdrew from the window and slowly walked round the room. Lately she needed more and more time in here. She wanted to cherish the past, and could do so by looking at the artefacts and mementos she had brought along from New Spain.
Her eye fell on the beautifully ornamented jewellery box, the one that Felipe had given her so long ago. She opened it and picked up a feather, of which the colour had once been emerald-green. She smiled. The feather had been part of the magnificent headdress she had owned then--her crown of feathers. The crown the Daughter of the Sun had worn at official celebrations.
With a pang of regret she put the feather away. Then she looked at the golden ring with the sapphire, the one that matched her eyes, as Felipe had told her repeatedly. It did not fit around her finger anymore. That was good in a way, because she might be tempted to wear it--which Michael would certainly not appreciate given his jealous nature.
"Mary! Mary, hurry up! We should be going!"
Was that his voice? Yes.
Coffee Time Romance says:
It was such a wonderful surprise to have a character written with this much strength and understanding. This story is such a wonderful blend of pit falls and triumphs. Maria Gonzalez is a wonderfully written book,with a really remarkable main character who no matter the situation continues to fight on.
Book Publisher: Rogue Phoenix Press
No. of Pages: 284
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