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Posted March 28, 2012
Some reviewers have pointed out that this book contains a number of "improbabilities." It does, but improbability is the stuff of high romance. Think of the Prince and the Pauper or The Comedy of Errors. It's what the writer does with the improbability that is important. And in Henke's hands they are woven into a story of action, adventure, and a tale of redemption achieved through love. During the Mexican revolution of the 1860s, Nick Fortune, a hardened mercenary, comes to the vast estate of Gran Sangre, assuming the identity of it's heir, Lucero Alvarado, his half brother. One of her first actions is to rescue Luce's bastard daughter from a convent. He quickly falls under the spell of the bright 5 year old and begins to think of her as his daughter. He weaves a sensual web around the beautiful Mercedes, Luce's wife. At first his motive is simple lust (the woman is a golden haired stunner). But gradually, at some juncture, lust turns to love, and in his mind, Mercedes becomes his wife. Through his love for the two females, he begins to see the world about him through "new eyes." He develops a sympathy for the peons who are crushed beneath the yoke of the aristocratic Dons, true feudal lords. He begins to work with the Juarista rebels (okay at first he's blackmailed into it) and develops a deep respect for Juarez himself. And Mercedes? Well, at first she bitterly resents the return of "Lucero," whom she had only known for a couple of weeks before he rode off to war years before. He's as arrogant as ever. Yet he is now kind, and slowly she succumbs to his sensual assault. Slowly, even though she begins to suspect that this man is not her legal husband, in Mercedes mind, this new Lucero becomes the husband of her heart, one she will kill to protect. Set against the struggle of the clash between a dying feudal order and the rise of a new democracy, this novel is an exciting celebration of the power of love. I highly recommend it.
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