Mysterious Woman- October, 2003

This delightful book takes place in 1200 A.D. England and France. It is the time of the aging Eleanor of Aquitaine and King John, and features Princess Alais, daughter of French King Louis and sister of King Phillippe. Alais has been asked by Eleanor, who raised her, to go to Canterbury Cathedral to recover some letters the Queen had written to Thomas a Becket. At Canterbury, Alais comes face to face with Prior William. They had grown up together as children, and their paths had crossed severaltimes over the years. He warns her away from a vigil in the Cathedral (where she plans to find the letters) to no avail. King John's men abduct her from that vigil, and she is imprisoned in the Sarum tower where Eleanor had been held for years. John wants to know about the son Alais bore King Henry. Alais was told the baby died, but John thinks the boy is now a man and a threat to his throne. William arranges for her rescue, and Alais and we see him in a different light. He is now Sir William and very much in control of all he surveys. The mysteries in this book, which I could hardly put down and even had to re-read include: 1) did the child survive and where is he now? 2) what happened to the Becket letters? 3) who and what is William? There is romance, intrigue, and lots of movement from one place to another, often in a hurry. The book will be out December 23rd and definitely one to look for and put on your holiday want list. IÕve read other books of this period, including those by Sharon Kay Penman, Ellis Peters, Sharan Newman, and Priscilla Royal. They are all fun, and soon the cast of historic characters becomes familiar.
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