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The Secret Swan
Bantam
ISBN-10: 0553582003 ISBN-13: 978-0553582000

Read an Excerpt

I just love bad boys...

What happens when a man's true love has been hidden right before his eyes?

Ever have a secret crush?

Oh, come on! We all have! He was that fascinating boy in school, the popular athlete, charming, handsome, splendid—and completely unattainable. He was the one all the girls wanted: tousled hair, sparkling eyes, a smile that could melt your bones with its sheer sexual intensity. Maybe he even had a subtle edge of danger to him, a rebel at heart, every inch of him promising a wild, wild ride.

That's Tristan Geraint, Earl of Haverlocke.

And you: dreaming of him, craving him, silent and unseen, too shy to speak, far too in love to resist those sweet fantasies of him, that dangerous gleam to his eyes....

That's Amiranth St. Clare.

Amiranth has been in love with Tristan almost all her life. She was just a girl when she saw him first, struck instantly and incurably by the glamour of this boy, his beauty, his smile, his searing sensuality. Plain and demure, Amiranth never quite gathers up the nerve to speak to him. Wrapped in his own world, Tristan never even notices. But still, she dreams.

And then one day, her dreams come true.

Amiranth and Tristan wed. She is overcome, amazed. The fact that Tristan still has trouble noticing when she's in the same room doesn't bother her. She loves him with all her heart, and knows that someday, somehow, he will love her just as much.

But then Tristan disappears in combat. Amiranth's "someday" slowly fades away. By the time Tristan Geraint finds his way home again, eight years have passed, and his shy young bride has died.

Or so he's told.

In her place is a stranger, a coolly beautiful woman with a heart full of secrets. Tristan knows all about secrets; he's endured a trial not many could survive. He's a battle-weary warrior who has a few dreams of his own—all of them centered on his wife, the life he used to know.

The danger surrounding Tristan is not yet over, his trial not yet done, but he has found a reluctant ally, this woman who scorns him even as she saves his life. Now, amid treachery and betrayal, Tristan is going to have to risk all that he has, and everything he is, to discover who she is to him, and to regain what matters most: the steadfast heart of his secret swan.

RECOGNITION

Winner of Aspen Gold for Best Historical Romance
Finalist for the RITA, the Beacon, the Award of Excellence, and the Orange Rose for Best Historical Romance
Nominated for Romantic Times' Reviewers' Choice Award for Best Innovative Historical Romance
One of Amazon.com's Top Ten Best Historical Romances, Top 50 Romance Bestsellers, and one of their Top 100 Best Books of 2001
A Romantic Times Top Pick
Named by The Oakland Press One of the Best Romances of 2001

REVIEWS

"Shana Abé is at her best when creating strong characters and a powerful, original plotline; she is at her finest in The Secret Swan. I was immediately enthralled and kept spellbound as I became a part of the romance and felt as if I, too, lived during the terrible plague-ridden days and would now fight for my love. This is storytelling at its best."
Romantic Times

"Author Abé is masterful as she draws us into the story.... The Secret Swan is an emotional read and a most rewarding one. Here is a book you'll recommend to friends because of its powerful impact."
—5 Hearts, The Oakland Press

"This is a beautiful love story with compelling characters that are very well drawn and capture your attention immediately. You are going to find yourself rooting for this pair of lovers who surely deserve a second chance at love. First, they will have to go through the fire of healing hurts from the past, and battle an enemy who is cunning and envious and will go to any lengths to get what he wants. Ms. Abé paints some gorgeous word pictures that still keep flashing in my mind of a woman and man who are dealt a cruel hand by fate, but then again, love just might come to the rescue. Read The Secret Swan and find out!

Shana Abé is one of my favorite authors. She never disappoints in any way. Her characters are endearing and oh so loveable. Her stories are fresh and original and beautiful to behold. Put this author on your "must read" list."
—Suzanne "I'm Still Glorying in the Beauty of Tristan and Amiranth's Love"
Coleburn, Belles and Beaux of Romance

"Shana Abé has created another story of timeless depth and emotion. Her characters and historical settings draw her readers in and hold them to the last sigh. You will enjoy every minute of The Secret Swan."
Old Book Barn Gazette

"The Secret Swan is a tale of two people wedded as youthful strangers, separated, and brought together again as adults who have been tested by time and heartache. This deeply emotional and intense story not only has superb characterization, but also features a terrific plot, a complex villain, and a wonderful setting. Author Shana Abé just keeps getting better and better with each new novel, so if you love fine historical romance, don't miss The Secret Swan."
—Lois Faye Dyer, Amazon.com Editorial Reviews

"The Secret Swan by Shana Abé is a delightful novel that should not be missed! Ms. Abé has crafted a tale that is sure to grip readers and never let go. Once you start reading this tale of love, you won't be able to stop until you turn the last page—it's that good! Ms. Abé delivers an exciting and beautifully woven tale with a rich and fascinating plot which is layered with plenty of intrigue. The characters of Tristan and his lady are strong and complex, totally mesmerizing. Tristan is vividly portrayed; his emotions and personality are absolutely captivating. The fears he faces, his recollections of life in prison, his fiercely protective attitude to keep what is his—each and every facet of him came across exceptionally well. I could certainly understand why Amiranth loved him so deeply!

The Secret Swan boasts excellent narration and engaging dialogue. Ms. Abé has definitely penned a winner! Readers of historical romance are sure to claim this book for their keeper's shelf!"
—Reader To Reader

"The Secret Swan is a superb medieval romance that will keep readers up late in order to finish it in one sitting. The lead characters are filled with depth so they seem real and their relationships genuine. The support cast, including the graphic descriptions of the plague, provides the needed impetus to a cleverly designed plot. Shana Abé ably renders her audience with what will be considered one of the sub genre's top novels of the year."
—Painted Rock

"The Secret Swan by Shana Abé contains several elements frequently found in those old-fashioned bodice-ripper-style romances: an innocent child bride, a tormented alpha hero who wrongs her, an adversarial relationship, a couple of Big Secrets. Abé magically weaves these not-so-promising threads together to create a story that's both original and lovely... Amiranth (Lily?) is a great heroine. She's both vulnerable and very clever; there are a couple of wonderful scenes in which her quick thinking saves Tristan's bacon... And I loved Tristan. After his years in prison, his rage at fate, his aggressive desire to regain all he lost, and his hopeless longing for Lily all make him tremendously compelling, even when he is not (as he often is not) terribly nice... There's something dreamy and brilliantly-colored about Abé's prose... This is the kind of book that makes you want to stop and savor certain passages. We here at AAR have been known to complain about some of the plot devices in those old-fashioned romance novels. In The Secret Swan, Abé does better than make them work—she makes them sing. The Secret Swan also has the sort of epic feel that some older romances had, that sense of two souls who are destined to be together, moving amidst the great pageant of history. If you've been missing that sort of romance—even if you haven't—I heartily recommend this book. I know I'll want to read it again."
—All About Romance, Desert Isle Keeper

"Ms. Abé is such a gifted writer, the reader experiences all of the protagonists' moods and looks forward to a time when they can have well-deserved happiness."
Rendezvous

"The Secret Swan holds enough action, conflict and suspense for readers who love an intricate plot. The lush prose paints a convincing picture of a land and people in the latter part of the Middle Ages. But even more enthralling is the emotionally stirring relationship between two extraordinary characters. Ms. Abé's rich voice seduced me into the minds of both protagonists while she took them from optimistic youth, through hardship and disillusionment, and into their full potential. The Secret Swan is an intensely captivating novel, one I highly recommend."
—Romance Reviews Today