This deliciously readable historical has the feel of a great Gothic: an unrepentant villain, a virginal heroine, nefarious doings with nuns and priests, daring escapes, and the promise of true love. Set in 1702 in the Saint Lawrence River-area of New France, it follows the beautiful Emilie and her betrothed, Robert the miller, whose plan to marry is derailed when the evil seigneur, Richard Tonnacour, decides he wants Emilie for himself. The story unfolds at a breakneck pace, full of intrigue and adventure, and I was literally delighted with every turn of the page.The novel felt a bit like a book from the 18th century: the story had a kind of unapologetic romantic melodrama not often found in modern novels and I loved it. I literally raced through this book, eager for the next turn of the story, and I loved the characters and plot twists. The writing is clear and straightforward, the characters distinct and vibrant. I anticipated some of the story's developments which actually heightened my anticipation because I was so looking forward to seeing how Patzer would tie up everything. This is a perfect escapist historical novel, easy to dip in and out of or read in a few long sittings. I can't rave enough about it (ask my coworkers!) and I'm now an eager Patzer fan.