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The disappearance of a young and beautiful heiress tests Brother Cadfael’s investigative powers to the limit.
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This May of 1142, spring has begun late; winter's prolonged grip has been reflected in human affairs. King Stephen, freed by a prisoner exchange after THE PILGRIM OF HATE, raised the Empress' hopes by falling ill, but her move to Oxford was premature; he's now in fine fettle, picking off the empress' outposts. While these events, and the war at large, have little effect on this story, they'll be relevant in the next book, THE HERMIT OF EYTON FOREST. Cadfael's worries are more immediate, but easing now that the crops have finally been sown and it looks as though the roses will be out by the 22nd of June, the feast of St. Winifred's translation.
The Widow Perle - 25-year-old Judith Vestier that was - lost her husband to a terrible fever four years ago, despite everything Cadfael could do, then lost her only child in miscarriage shortly thereafter. In the depths of her grief, she couldn't bear to stay in the house where they'd been happy, so she deeded the place to the abbey in exchange for an annual rent of one white rose from her favorite rosebush, to be paid into her hand each June 22nd. (As heiress to the Vestier clothier business, Judith has ample property even without the house; she moved in 'over her shop', as it were, with her widowed aunt and her cousin Miles.... Read more ›
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