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The Truest Heart
     

The Truest Heart

3.7 13
by Samantha James
 

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Did fate send her a villain with the blackest soul...or a lover with The Truest Heart

Her name is her only crime, yet Lady Gillian must take refuge in a humble cottage on the on the stormy Cornish coast, hiding from a king who seeks her death for her father's treason.Now destiny has sent Gillian a cure for her loneliness: a

Overview

Did fate send her a villain with the blackest soul...or a lover with The Truest Heart

Her name is her only crime, yet Lady Gillian must take refuge in a humble cottage on the on the stormy Cornish coast, hiding from a king who seeks her death for her father's treason.Now destiny has sent Gillian a cure for her loneliness: a handsome shipwrecked stranger washed ashore on a perilous tide who requires a kind lady's gentle touch to heal his broken body and tormented spirit.

His own name — Gareth — is all that he remembers. Yet he knows he has found paradise in the company of an exquisite beauty whose caress is sweet rapture and whose smile warms his soul. But as his memories slowly return, so does the dark task entrusted to him by King John. If he fails, a young boy will surely perish. Yet how can he betray Gillian, whose passionate love has lit a blaze in Gareth's heart that no vengeful king's decree could ever extinguish?

Editorial Reviews

bncom
Samantha James's complex characters bring 13th-century dilemmas to life. During the darkest days of Bad King John's rule, the barons of England hoped to seize power for themselves, leaving the common people to suffer cruel taxes and endless turmoil. In the midst of this fear and oppression, Lady Gillian's father attempts regicide — and fails. Hiding in a cottage in the wilds of Cornwall, Gillian offers aid to a shipwrecked man, grateful for the company of another lost soul — even one with no memory of anything except his name. But, as Gillian's gentle touches heal his wounds and soothe his soul, Gareth's mind begins to clear. He remembers that his king has ordered him to kill this woman he has come to love. To slay Gillian is both murder and betrayal, but to spare her life is a treason that will abandon another innocent to the vengeance of a merciless king. What is an honorable man to do?
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Lady Gillian is a hunted woman. After her father's failed attempt on King John's life, provoked by the monarch's refusal to abide by the Magna Carta, the vengeful king sends Gareth, lord of Sommerfield, to find and kill her. A shipwreck tosses Gareth, wounded and missing his memory, at Gillian's hiding place in Cornwall. She devotes herself to his care but can't help her suspicions of, and her tender feelings for, this mysterious man. Gareth recovers enough of his memory to recall that Gillian is in deadly danger and flees with her to Sommerfield, only to realize with horror that he is the danger she must avoid. To save her from the king's revenge, Gareth quickly marries her, claiming she carries his child a claim they must substantiate or suffer the fatal consequences of deceit. With Gillian's nearly constant bitterness and mistrust toward her new husband despite all the risks he takes on her behalf, it's a surprise that Gareth falls in love with her at all; their compatibility seems restricted to the bedroom. But James (His Wicked Promise, etc.) adds nice touches, such as Gillian's anxiety about not measuring up to Gareth's first wife, and she gracefully depicts Gareth and Gillian's struggles against the backdrop of King John's tumultuous reign to shape a romance with unusual historical depth. (June 5) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380805884
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/28/2005
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
942,714
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.96(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

There was no sleep for Lady Gillian of Westerbrook this night.

Her heart thundered as loudly as the thunder that boomed without. 'Twas said to be the most savage coast in all the land, here where the fist of Cornwall thrust into the treacherous waters of the sea. Indeed, Gillian could well believe it.

The wind howled through the crevices, an eerie sound strangely like a keening wail. The cottage was stout and sturdily built of stone; tucked into a fold of the hillside that squatted above, it was shielded from the full force of the gale and thus kept her safe. Yet the fear that the very walls about her would be lifted and flung verily into the raging tempest without was a fear that refused to be banished, try though she might. 'Twas as if a mighty hand from aloft vented his wrath upon sea and shore. As if the gale roared down from the heavens to every corner of the earth.

A Shiver shook Gillian's form. Indeed, the very walls seemed to shiver and shake with the force of the wind. Yea, but this was a harsh, unforgiving place, this far-flung corner of Britain. It would show no mercy to those who had not the strength to withstand its rigors.

For it was in the midst of just such a raging storm that her father, Ellis of Westerbrook, had come to her chamber. Aye, the storm reminded her piercingly of that night — the night she'd been wrenched from her home, from all she'd ever known. Her brother. Her sweet, younger brother Clifton. Nay, but it was not the first such storm that she had endured in the weeks since she had come here...if only itwould be the last!

A wave of bleakness swept over her, as endless as the dark gray seas that stretched beyond the shore. Her heart cried out, for each day was an eternity. November had drawn to a close, and she was still here.... How long must she remain here? Forever, she feared. How was she to bear it? How?

Refuge. She reminded herself it was that which Brother Baldric had sought by bringing her here to the place where he had been born. He'd said that to continue to move about was to risk discovery. That they must hide here until the furor died down. Ah, but would there ever come a time when she felt safe again?

Nay, she thought with a sinking flutter of dread. Not as long as King John was alive. How could she feel safe when she felt like an outcast? Tainted.

This was not the life she'd dreamed of, not the life she had ever thought to find. Memories of the past rose up to mingle with a wistful yearning. Papa had always been one to keep his children close to him. Papa had chosen not to have Clifton foster with another family, but to begin his training at Westerbrook. The winter that her mother had died from a stomach ailment had been a difficult one for all of them. Gillian had been sixteen, and Clifton but ten.

Perhaps, after her mother's death, Papa had wanted to keep his children close to him. Papa teased her occasionally that he must find a husband for her, but in truth there had been no haste. Gillian never doubted that someday she would marry, but she knew Papa would never foist a husband on her that she did not love, a husband who did not return her love in the very same measure.

Someday, she trusted, that man would come for her. A man she would love above all others...

Sometimes she dreamed of him, of a man strong and valiant, and ever so dashingly handsome! And oh, his kiss — that very first kiss! He'd steal her very breath and make her tingle to the tips of her toes, with arms both tender and strong, and warm, compellinglips. Her life would be one of laughter and love and joy. She would watch in wonder and contentment while her babes toddled about, for she had already decided there would be many. A girl she could rock and tell tales of days gone by. A boy as sturdy and handsome as his father, who would teach him of honor and truth.

But now a shadow had been cast over all her hopes and dreams. A shadow that might well last a lifetime.

But what was this? Pulling the soft wool coverlet more tightly about her shoulders, she scolded herself soundly. She was foolish to feel sorry for herself, for what of her brother Clifton? She was a woman full grown, she reminded herself. And for all that Clifton staunchly proclaimed that he was a man, he was but a boy of twelve.

Not until dawn's pale light crept along the misty hills to the east was Gillian able to drift away in slumber.

Yet despite the wildness of the gale that night, when Gillian tugged open the door the next morning, sunlight poured down from the sky, as pure and golden as any she'd seen in the northern shires of Westerbrook. Such was the way of it here along the coast of Cornwall. No sweet, fragrant fields and rolling hillsides here, not like Westerbrook. Tall grasses fringed the stretch of beach beyond the cottage. To the north and west, white-gray cliffs towered over the tiny inlet. She stood for a moment, gazing out. In truth, Gillian could not deny there was a raw, stark beauty to this land...

Her throat dosed painfully She didn't mind fending for herself. She wouldn't have minded living in this tiny, derelict cottage at all, if not for the ever-present fear...and the storms.

Oh, it wasn't for herself that she feared. She worried about Clifton, so young, deprived of his family. She worried about Brother Baldric...

Meet the Author

It was Samantha James's love of reading as a child that steered her toward a writing career. Among her favorites in those days were the Trixie Belden and Cherry Ames series of books. She still loves a blend of mystery and romance, and, of course, a happily-ever-after ending. The award-winning, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many romances and one novella, her books have ranged from medieval to Regency.

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The Truest Heart 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Lady Gillian of Westerbrook has taken refuge along the coast of Cornwall in this novel set in early thirteenth century England. Her father conspired to murder King John and was afraid that the King would choose to harm his children. Before he took his own life, Gillian's father, Ellis of Westerbrook, ordered his children, Gillian and Clifton, into separate places of hiding.

While walking along the beach one day with her trusted friend Brother Baldric, Gillian discovers the bodies of men washed along the shore after a shipwreck. One man is miraculously alive, and she takes him back to her cottage to nurse him back to health.

Though he is finally able to recall his name, Gareth is unable to remember anything of his past life when at first rescued by Gillian. She cares for him with utmost tenderness and kindness, as bits and pieces of his memory return. Sensing that Gillian is in danger from King John, Gareth, Lord Sommerfield, takes her back to Sommerfield to protect her. Can Gillian really trust this man to save her from the wrath of the King, and will she lose her heart in the process?

Samantha James has written a poignant love story that leaves the reader questing for more. The tension between hero and heroine is apparent as it is clear that neither truly trusts the other. Murder and mystery add substance to this plot as Gareth and Gillian discover the meaning of unconditional love.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1215 England, King John needed to break his prisoner Gilbert of Lincoln, who refused to divulge the identity of his ally in an attempt to assassinate His Highness. However, before John can force the identity of Gilbert¿s associate, the noble kills himself, much to the monarch¿s consternation. John decides treason must not go unpunished. He orders Westerbrook burned to the ground and Gilbert¿s son and daughter killed. He orders Gareth of Sommerfield to perform the deed, using the man¿s son as hostage.

Gilbert¿s daughter Lady Gillian hides in a poor cottage on the Cornwall coast where she rescues a shipwrecked stranger claiming amnesia. Gillian helps the stranger recover and as his memory begins to return, Gareth knows that his hostess is in danger, but soon realizes the danger comes from him. The Widower Gareth marries Gillian and claims she carries his child to keep her from John¿s wrath. However, besides the intrigue of the King, their relationship lacks trust leaving their love standing on a shaky base.

THE TRUEST HEART is an enjoyable medieval romance that focuses on the intrigue and machinations of the times. King John comes across as a vengeful manipulator who uses anyone as a pawn to achieve his desires. Gareth is an honorable person while Gillian has good reason for her shrewish behavior, which leaves the audience to wonder how love can survive. Samantha James provides readers with a wonderful historical romance that shows why she is a fan favorite.

Harriet Klausner

TulaneGirl More than 1 year ago
Gillian is a woman on the run. Gareth is the man sent to kill her. Only. He forgets. He's in a shipwreck. Loses his memory. And just HAPPENS to be found by Gillian who nurses him to health. This part? Cute and cuddly. THEN, Gareth remembers his purpose. He takes Gillian to his castle and forces her into marriage in order to protect her. Now, Gillian doesn't take too kindly to being told that Gareth was sent to kill her. Makes it kind of hard to trust him. Yet he demands it. At every turn. He forces her into so many situations that, frankly, feel really uncomfortable. There are plenty of times where you just want to scream at Gareth that no means no. And Gillian turns into a brat. I mean, like a really bratty, spoiled, stubborn brat. Then there's the typical trope of miscommunication. I mean, I suppose that adds to the suspense, but I would prefer a smarter book in which two adults who know how to communicate find love. But maybe that's just me.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so amazing it had everything in it. It had passion, friendship, understanding, humor, and children. This book took me away once I started reading it I could not put it down it is a must read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book keeps you in suspense with the decisions and conflits that show up at every corner. Its great
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS IS BY FAR THE BEST ROMANCE NOVEL I'VE READ. THE PLOT WAS SO DIFFERENT FROM ALL THE OTHER NOVELS I HAVE READ. IT HAS EVERYTHING(EXCELLENT PLOT, MYSTERY, ROMANCE, INTRIGUE AND PERFECT CHARACTERS). A MUST READ!!!.....EXCEPTIONAL BOOK
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love a good romance, and happy endings are a must. This one, however, was way too predictable. Also, Ms. James takes what should be a lovely romantic interlude and uses such guttual words in describing the scene, that instead of a soft romatic interlude, you get smut. Maybe Ms. James should try reading a Nora Roberts or Johanna Lindsey book before she attempts to write another story.