by Madeline Hunter

August 2002
ISBN: 0-553-58356-5
Reviewer Graphic Button Bantam Books
Mass Market Paperback

With Stealing Heaven, Madeline Hunter has created another captivating and unforgettable story of loyalty, betrayal and love. Not only that, itís also Mark of Anglesmoreís story. The man that fans of Ms. Hunterís books were introduced to in By Design, then young and angry at the world but already showing potential to be hero enough Ė and to be arrogant enough - to warrant his own book. I was eagerly awaiting Markís story, and Iím glad to report that Ms. Hunter doesnít disappoint.

His is a very satisfying tale, presenting him as a hero that is easy to admire and desire. Knowing his history and what he had to suffer through make his character so much deeper and better to understand and sympathize with. So when Mark, now known as Marcus and an English knight, steals into the garden of his future-wife-to-be only to encounter the beautiful and spirited Nesta, it comes as no surprise when he embraces her in a passionate kiss. But the next morning brings bad news; itís not Nesta he is to marry, but her sister! And itís getting worse. Marcus couldnít have chosen a more unsuitable candidate for his passionate cravings and his growing admiration. Nesta not only is the wrong sister, but also the kingís whore, the woman of ballads, the one to conspire against him and his sovereign for a free Wales.

In Nesta, Ms. Hunter has created a heroine I definitely want to identify with. She is a strong and very intelligent woman, an honest and loyal woman. Still, even though I could relate to Nesta and Iím very glad that Ms. Hunter introduced in her a partner worthy of Mark, I wanted him to succeed in their struggle for trust, loyalty and love, to save her from being prosecuted for treason and to keep her as the woman he loves. Forced together by circumstances, Nesta fights the attraction and the danger that comes with it. But Mark never gives up his campaign for a happily-ever-after.

Ms. Hunterís skill as a writer of historical fiction is a joy to behold in a story and characters that are rich in texture and complex in their passions. And with its perfect balance of historical details, Stealing Heaven never loses sight of its most important ingredient, the romance.

I know Iíve said it before that Ms. Hunterís books are getting better and better. But this time she has created a story that overshadows all her previous ones. Soaring above them with a story that is masterfully written and sensually told. A story that wonít leave you untouched!

Reviewed in July 2002 by Kris Alice.

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