This is my all-time favorite book EVER, as in of-the-read-it-to-tatters variety.
The heroine Xylara takes pity on enemy prisoners, defying her brother’s orders to do so. When the enemy leader defeats her brother’s army, the conqueror’s demands are straightforward – Xylara as his slave, in exchange for peace. In order to save her people, she goes. But her “master” Keir isn’t what her brother has told her to expect. He treats her with respect, allowing her to practice her healing arts and make friends. Xylara finds herself drawn to the handsome warrior, as as she begins to see how the firelanders live, she begins to wonder if everything her brother’s told her is a lie…
As she and Keir forge tentative bonds of peace, and romance blossoms, it soon becomes clear not everyone is in favor of unity. There are traitors everywhere. Who to believe? Who to trust?
Xylara is an amazing woman – strong, compassionate, open-minded. I loved her spirit and practicality. She is so forgiving and always tries to see the other side – like when the firelanders gift her with a red dress (the color harlots in her city wear), she wears it proudly, b/c she honors the spirit in which it was given and knows they would have no idea it meant anything other than a pretty dress… moments like those are what make this book stick in my mind, read after read. Keir is the perfect hero for her, because he honors and cherishes the very things that make her unique. He’s very human, but struggles to change what is to what can be, and every choice he makes is for the betterment of his people.
Read this book – I promise you won’t be disappointed!