The story takes place during the feud around 1140 between England’s King Stephen and his cousin Empress Mathilda. The story begins when Oliver Pascal smells something burning and decides to investigate. When he arrives what he finds is a horrible scene and his friend who has been raped by lawless mercenaries, she soon miscarries and dies. The only survivors are her 10 year-old son and Catrin her widowed maid. Oliver escorts them to Bristol Castle, home of Earl Robert of Gloucester, who Oliver hopes will help him reclaim his family lands.
Catrin becomes bored and finds a friend in Ethelreda who helped raise Oliver. Ethelreda introduces and teaches her the ways of a midwife. Catrin is a quick study and is soon at Ethelreda’s side helping the local women with their births. Oliver and Catrin are attracted to each other, but are afraid. Oliver’s wife died in childbirth and does not want to be close to anyone, and Catrin loathes the thought of reliance upon and tries to ignore her feelings. They cannot run from their feelings and fall in love.
Ethelreda sees something bad in Catrin’s future, and warns’ her to watch out for this unknown man on a horse. Oliver is soon called into battle where he is captured. Catrin decides to go and ransom him, when she arrives she discovers her husband who was supposed to be dead. Catrin’s old feelings for him quickly returns and she chooses her husband over Oliver.
Soon Catrin realizes she made the wrong choice by going with her husband. Catrin is with child and soon gives birth. Their home becomes under attack, her husband leaves for reinforcements, but never returns.Catrin makes a decision about her and her child’s future, she must return to Oliver.
Catrin arrives she find Oliver badly injured during a fight when he visited his homeland, and she begins to nurse him back to health. Soon they begin to live their life together until Catrin's husband makes his final demand on her loyalty ...
Wow an amazing story there is so depth to this book and the characters. Every time I read an Elizabeth Chadwick book I am drawn back into time.