Jove, Dec 2002,
In 1576, urged on by his friends the Riordan brothers after the latest round of peace talks with the Queen failed, a weary John Black goes home to Killarney for some peace and rest. However, on the trek homeward, John interrupts some lads dunking a young lady in Cotter's Pond. The trio tests whether the lass is a witch. They toss the bundle containing the girl into the water before fleeing. The bundle sinks to the bottom, but he dives in and rescues the child. He takes her to her home in Whistler's Woods.
John brings little Daphne safely to her concerned mother Lily, but both quickly leave him with not much beyond a bit of gratitude, wanting him on his way. A bit stunned not just by their attitude, but that Lily is clearly high born, John leaves. However, John cannot forget the two females so he persists on becoming part of their lives even after learning that Daphne's clubfoot make them pariahs at best and witches at worst.
Readers will find Ana Seymour's latest Irish historical romance absorbing due to the pleasing lead couple and the mature Daphne struggling in a world that condemns her. The story line is more character study than the typical sub-genre novel, but the audience will see more of the inner goodness of John and Lily while also observing the reaction of the townsfolk towards the innocent but physically handicapped Daphne.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner