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It can and does happen: A chance encounter that leads to romance, love and fulfilment. Equally, such an encounter may lead to fear, sorrow and loss. Both are met in this tale that crosses national and social boundaries and within which unwarranted evil plays a far too real part.
In all innocence the protagonists go about their daily lives occasionally taking in divergent activities out of curiosity or in the interest of learning more about life. Being caring and kind hearted both fail to understand why they are constantly warned about helping others. Ultimately, after numerous twists and turns, the truth behind these warnings becomes manifest with results never anticipated or expected.
When I started reading I felt this book was going to be a light read but the intrigue and intensity sneak up and before you know what has happened you are drawn into feeling the scope of emotions the characters do.
Though Maria longed for a family of her own, she was not prepared to allow the conventions and expectations of society to manipulate her into a marriage of convenience. To her an arranged marriage or one without love were anathema. However, will she be able to withstand the pressures, demands and expectations of society and church doctrine? Her natural beauty combined with her caring, loving and intelligent character as well as her marriageable age do not help. While some quietly admire and hope, one becomes an obsessed stalker and another decides no one else has a right to her and contemplates steps to ensure she becomes his alone. Will Maria be able to withstand all the pressures or will she be forced to accept the life of compromise she has been determined to avoid or will her life be forfeited in the effort?