Please note: some may consider the following as potentially containing some plot spoilers.
Although the subject matter of the persecution of the Cathars in this book was interesting and as always I cannot fault Ms Chadwick's fluid writing and research, I found the constant references to the 'life force' caused a bit of a 'human' barrier for me, preventing any real attachment to the characters and their lives.
But the aspect that I found the most difficult to stomach was the cold and calculated way in which the aforementioned 'life force' was passed from Bridget to Magda.
Basically Catharian Bridget - who had proof she was descended in an unbroken female line from Mary Magdalene - wanted Raoul (a man from her dreams/visions she knew was married) to get her pregnant with a daughter to continue the line. And so, before you can say 'hello soldier', they have a one night stand and she duly gets 'with child' on the first and last attempt with Magda.
Meanwhile Raoul's wife, Claire, is being brutally raped by Simon De Montfort, who persecutes her Catharian people. Claire similarly finds herself pregnant as a result, giving birth to Dominic who is taken away from her at birth and brought up with De Montfort's other Catholic children.
No prizes for guessing what happens when Magda and Dominic meet.
Don't get me wrong, it is not a bad book by any means and will certainly not stop me from reading future books by the author. It's just that I found that, for me, it lacked the elusive X factor of Elizabeth Chadwick's other books (of which I have read almost all).