Atria, Apr 2004, 14.00, 400 pp.
In 1450, no place in England can be considered safe as the War of the Roses soaks the country in a bloody conflict. A group of soldiers are attacked in a forest. One of the escorted females, Jehanne, helps a pregnant woman obtain relative safety. However, the woman dies giving birth to Anne. Out of no where, Deborah appears to escort Jehanne and Anne to a haven. Over the next fifteen years Deborah raises Anne like she is her own daughter within the sanctuary of the forest. The youngster learns about herbs and healing while living a pleasant peasant life.
After a scything, Deborah takes Anne to London where her radiant holy-like smile obtains her a servant's job in the household of Mathew Cutifer. Not long afterward, word spreads through the streets of the city about this extraordinary healer living in the Cutifer household. When her skill saves the life of the queen, King Edward IV moves her into his place as a royal healer. However, Edward and Anne fall in love, but both know nothing beyond clandestine trysts can happen between them because his monarchy remains shaky though the civil war is over and he cannot afford a scandal.
THE INNOCENT is a magnificent medieval love story starring a fabulous protagonist who readers will cherish. The story line has plenty of royal intrigue, but focuses on the star-crossed taboo relationship between the married monarch and the heavenly healer. If this delightful fifteenth century relationship drama is any indication, sub-genre fans have a treat as Posie Graeme-Evans owes two more tales in this trilogy.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner