Sir Balduin de Soler gave up long ago on love. He never had the means to support a wife until an unexpected advancement in his fifties allows him to reassess his future just as the lovely Lucianna enters his life.
Lucianna Fabio harbors a secret, painful memory from her past that has kept her unwed, as well. Now in her forties, she thought herself too old to marry until she meets Sir Balduin. Now suddenly their lonely autumn lives feel very much like spring again . . . until Lucianna’s brother appears without warning and threatens to revive the secret that will destroy Lucianna’s second chance at love.
“Loving Lucianna” is the first in my new “Hearts in Autumn” romance series, medieval romances revolving around heroes and heroines “in the autumn of their years.” Because you’re never too old to fall in love!”
Joyce DiPastena dreamed of green medieval forests while growing up in the dusty copper mining town of Kearny, Arizona. She filled her medieval hunger by reading the books of Thomas B. Costain (where she fell in love with King Henry II of England), and later by attending the University of Arizona where she graduated with a degree in history, specializing in the Middle Ages. The university was also where she completed her first full-length novel…set, of course, in medieval England. Later, her fascination with Henry II led her to expand her research horizons to the far reaches of his “Angevin Empire” in France, which became the setting of her first published novel, Loyalty’s Web (a 2007 Whitney Award Finalist).
When she’s not writing, Joyce loves to read, play the piano, and spend time with her sister and friends. A highlight of her year is attending the annual Arizona Renaissance Festival. She lives with her two cats, Clio and Glinka Rimsky-Korsokov, in Mesa, Arizona.
Did you know that Lucianna (the heroine of “Loving Lucianna”) has her very own Pinterest board? http://www.pinterest.com/jdipastena/loving-lucianna/
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[This is an excerpt from a flashback in Loving Lucianna. The heroine, Lucianna, was abandoned as a baby to a nunnery in medieval Venice. There she made friends with another young girl, named Elisabetta, who was sent there by her father to be educated. In this scene, the girls are 10 years old.]
“How do you know your father’s name was Panfilo?” Elisabetta asked.
“Why will you not tell me? I have kept no secrets from you.”
“It is not a secret,” Lucianna said quickly, stung by the hurt in Elisabetta’s voice. “It is only—special. I do not want it mocked.”
Elisabetta sat up, her dark eyes a-flash. “You think I would mock you?”
“Speak softer,” Lucianna hissed. She regretted that her words had aggrieved her friend.
She had grown to trust Elisabetta as she trusted her own heart. But— “It is not you I fear, it is Sister Maria Angela. If she came upon us and heard me, she would laugh, or perhaps she would scold and say I made it up and then she might call me devil child.
“That is what she did when she made me pick berries for the infirmary from the barberry bush and I called it an evil plant for pricking my fingers so badly that I could not stitch for a week.”
Elisabetta eyes widened in awe. “Is that not the one known as the Holy Thorn?”
Lucianna nodded with a sigh. “Because it was part of the crown of thorns borne by Our Lord upon the cross. But I was not thinking of that when it pricked me. Sister Maria Angela said I had spoken a blasphemy—”
“—and switched you,” Elisabetta finished before Lucianna could. Lucianna nodded again. Elisabetta pressed her lips together very tightly.
“I do not want her to say that my father’s name is wicked, too,” Lucianna said. “And so I must keep how I know to myself forever and ever.”