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Book review: 'To Win A Lady's Heart' romantic, engaging, a sweet read

"TO WIN A LADY'S HEART," by Sian Ann Bessey, Covenant Communications, $15.99, 234 pages (f)

In "To Win a Lady's Heart," author Sian Ann Bessey weaves together a sweet story of romance, intrigue and action as the princess of Moreland, Lady Joanna, discovers herself, her father and lasting love.

Joanna has never understood the coldness behind her father's manner toward her and is hurt to find her father, Lord Gilbert, is offering her as the prize in an archery tournament.

She's concerned about the peasants in Moreland who face disaster because their wool is being stolen, leaving them without a way to pay their taxes. Her father discounts her worry. And Joanna is dismayed to think she won't get to choose her husband.

When she finds a badly wounded man on a cliff ledge outside the cave she goes through to visit her friend, she is alarmed and manages to get him help. But the man she helps was deliberately attacked and it has something to do with the thefts of the local wool.

She's drawn in and caught up without meaning to put herself in danger.

Bessey, who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, weaves a simple story but does it with skill.

The drama and intrigue are seamlessly worked into Joanna's story along with a tale of a faithful wolfhound and the rewards that come with showing kindness to stable hands, healers and the poor.

There is no foul language or sex, and violence is limited mostly to generally described swordplay and wounds to the head.

Joanna is unaware of the circumstances surrounding her birth and infancy and doesn't understand her father's fears or apparent lack of love for her. She assumes he simply doesn't have time for her.

As the story unfolds, the events explain much of Lord Gilbert's behavior (although it's a touch simplistic).

It's rewarding reading as the villain is exposed, along with the plot to rob the peasants and harm the kingdom, not to mention that true love prevails.