When Addis de Valence returned to England from years of slavery, it was to find his birthright usurped and his son being cared for by his late wife's friend. Moira is a bondwoman who claims Claire's father gave her and her mother their freedom prior to his death. Drawn to Moira for her generous heart and the link she represents to the past, Addis refuses to accept her claim for liberty. Initially Moira decides to let Addis have his way for the sake of his son, whom she raised as her own. When it becomes clear, however, that Addis will never let her go, Moira must decide whether she should yield to the love she bears him or hold onto her pride which demands her freedom.
Madeline Hunter has written an emotionally powerful story about a man who returns home to find all is not as it should be. His one ray of hope is Moira whose love has helped him more than he knows. Addis is determined to reclaim his place as the lord of Barrowburgh and Moira is willing to help. She knows, however, that she will pay a heavy price for the love she bears him, but she refuses to let history repeat itself by serving as Addis's leman no matter how great his need for her. Moira is perhaps the strongest part of this story because she is forced to endure so much. And yet, she is never a victim. All she does for Addis to help him is done in the hopes that she will eventually realize her own freedom though her heart will always be tied to Addis through the years they shared as children. Hunter also successfully integrates a plot of political intrigue as a means for Addis to reclaim his title. In addition, Addis proves to be a hero in the end. When he first appears, though he understands Moira's plight, he refuses to sympathize. But as his attraction for her deepens into love, he belatedly comes to relate to her feelings on the issue of individual freedom. This is a wonderful story filled again with rich, historical detail and the flavor of this period really stands out through Hunter's incredible use of perspective.