Bittersweet and Strange...

by Erika Tsang

One of the enduring themes of Beauty and the Beast is Belle’s capacity to see beyond the monster, to fall in love with the man the Beast truly is. And that reminds me of Kathleen E. Woodiwiss’ A ROSE IN WINTER

Erienne Fleming is the enchanting, raven-haired daughter of the village mayor. Charming, spirited and exquisitely lovely, she is beset on all sides by suitors. But her irresponsible and unscrupulous father, crippled by gambling debts, is intent on auctioning off his beautiful daughter to the highest bidder. Erienne is devastated to find it is the strange and secretive Lord Saxton who has purchased her—a mysterious, tragic figure who wears a mask and a cloak at all times to hide disfiguring scars gained in a terrible fire some years back.

But in the passing days, Saxton’s true nature is revealed to her. A gentle and adoring soul, he treats his new bride with warmth and abiding tenderness, yet appears to her only by daylight. She, in turn, vows to be a good and loyal wife to him. Conflicted by emotions she cannot suppress, Erienne will soon have to make a devastating choice: between love and honor . . . between her duty and her heart.