ILLUMINATIONS OF THE HEART
Joyce DiPastena * * * * *
Joyce’s second historical romance novel, set in 1179, uses characters who played secondary roles in Loyalty’s Web to carry the plot forward into new dimensions. Siri de Calendri arrives from Italy where her dying brother had liquidized their entire estate and sent her to the trusted friend he had made while on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. She brings a sealed document making her Triston’s ward. The complicating factor is that Siri looks amazingly identical to Triston’s dead wife, Clothilde.
DePastena weaves a thrilling tale of swashbuckling sword fights, sweet love scenes, and political intrigue. An understanding that could have been a satisfying ending occurs a hundred or more pages before Triston and Siri finally battle their way through several challenging complications to more complete fruition.
DiPastena's ability to sketch realistic backdrops as grounding to depict strong yet tender emotions, shows with enchanting clarity. For instance, she has Triston idly pick a ripe peach in the garden as he converses with Siri. He first caresses the fruit, then grasps it, increases the pressure until he finally hurls it to smash against the garden wall, a realistic barometer to his rising emotions.
I look forward to hearing more of Triston's frustrating, yet charming, young cousin who aspires to be a knight and seems to be readying for a leading role in a third novel.
This is a very good read, to which I give my highest praise of five stars.