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One Heart One Way Paperback – February 24, 2003
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"ONE HEART ONE WAY is a quaint romance that touches the true romantic in all of us." -- Romance Reviews Today, Catherine McHenry
4 Stars "...a book that will delight readers who love suspense, magic, and a happy ending." -- Romantic Times Magazine, April 2003, Faith V. Smith, ****
FIVE HEARTS "I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a well-written, captivating story." -- The romance studio, Brett Scott
From the Author
I hope I have created a saga that sweeps you off your feet to a different time and place and somehow leaves you more enriched when it ends and you are back in this world.
One Heart One Way takes place in the legendary hillfort of Dinas Bran, which stands on the crest of a 100-foot mountain overlooking a lush Welsh valley. It is there that Ricole, a spirited Saxon Princess and Blaise, a red headed Celtic Prince gradually fall in love amid adventures such as escaping from the Mercia fortress, hiding from Saxons in a wagon of woad flowers, and hunting for the treasure of an ancient God. Since their sires are enemies, Blaise and Ricole have to fight for a way to be together. But through love, they conquer all.
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'Tis a fate worthy of a hotheaded fool, surely. Chained to Aethalbald's hearth like a lowly animal for the purpose of ransoming, he has time aplenty to regret his actions -- and to plot a likely escape. Ricole, the Mercian princess ministering to his wounds, could very well aid him in such an endeavor, but Blaise is yet unclear of the details. Her big, blue eyes are strikingly beautiful, and her blond hair is a perfect halo of ringlets. He really shouldn't be admiring the beauty of his enemy, however, or even acknowledging the heated flicker of attraction her comeliness inspires.
Betrothed to the King of Wessex, Ricole is desperate to foil her planned wedding a sennight hence. Persuading her father to cancel the proposed alliance is nigh impossible, as she has unwisely tipped her hand to Aethelbald, revealing her defiance and the utter contempt she feels for Cuthred of Wessex. So it's a happy quirk of fate to stumble upon her father's hostage while in the process of escaping. Blaise reluctantly agrees to escort Ricole to her sister in Caledonia if she'll agree not to raise the alarm. Any chance to escape from the clutches of Cuthred is better than no chance at all -- but is it foolhardy to trust her enemy to deliver on his promise?
Aye, Ricole admits, but what choice has she?
One Heart, One Way is a light and airy romantic adventure that will raise a reader's spirits with its gentle exploration of external pressures on a star-crossed love affair. Cornelia Amiri has an unembellished writing style and a simplistic approach to conflict development. Instead of focusing on Blaise and Ricole's inner turmoil, Ms. Amiri utilizes the conflict brewing between England and Wales to establish relationship parameters.
With their kingdoms at war, Ricole and Blaise are victims of prejudice, forced to maintain an emotional distance when their hearts are already engaged. Exactly when and how they fall in love is something of a mystery because there is little build-up towards it. Nonetheless, a sweet, sinuous chemistry adds believability and heartfelt sincerity to their quickly blossoming relationship. If Ms. Amiri's characterizations lack depth and dimension, at least they're honest and likeable and satisfy a reader's needs for peripheral plot development.
In other words, Blaise and Ricole are fully fleshed out characters from the very beginning, and require little padding or extrapolation to add weight to the storyline: a fairly cut and dried example of "what you see is you what you get." The odd reference to modern day lingo in the narrative is a little off-putting, and the dialogue is simplistic at times, but overall Ms. Amiri has captured the essence of the era, and its majestic, mystical, ballad-worthy mystique quite nicely.
It's easy to become lost in Ms. Amiri's prose, and the subtle, understated grandeur of One Heart, One Way. Aching innocence and ancient knowledge underscore this story of a spoiled princess eager to carve her own destiny, and her duty-bound prince, torn between loyalty and love. If you're looking for a sweeping, involved epic, however, I recommend you look elsewhere, as Ms. Amiri's novel is on the fast track for a happy ending (which suited my mood perfectly).
Reviewed by C.L. Jeffries