Get it at Amazonfrom our DIK review: Uncommon Vows is my favorite among Mary Jo Putney’s books, more romantic to me than even the wonderful Shattered Rainbows. Putney’s only medieval begins under the omen of an eclipse of the moon whose light is devoured by shadow on the night of a Christmas tragedy. Fifteen year old Adrian de Lancey, a nobleman's youngest son, is preparing to take a monk’s vows when he learns his family has been massacred. Adrian’s destiny is forever altered when he vows to avenge his loved ones. It’s a doubly dark moment because Adrian entered the abbey at the advice of his mother, who feared his resemblance to her vicious father. While he looks like a silver-haired angel, Adrian has a dark side. Though Adrian had hoped to serve God in peace and light, he must now face not only the violent outside world, but the darkness within himself. Six years later, Meriel de Vere, a young novice at a nunnery, witnesses a vicious ambush of Adrian and his men. She admires Adrian's fighting and tells him so afterward. Adrian replies harshly and then departs, and Meriel never realizes he was angry with himself for desiring a nun. As she prepares to take her final vows, Meriel finds herself growing uneasy. She becomes unable to sleep or pray and finally receives a vision of a sword-wielding archangel blocking her path to a holy life. Five more years pass before the two characters meet again. Adrian has regained his lands, become Earl of Shropshire, and built the impregnable Warfield Castle. Despite his wealth and position, he has lived the disciplined life of a warrior monk, with just one long-term mistress in his past. Meriel, who now lives with her brother, goes hunting with her falcon one day and becomes lost in a forest, where she encounters Adrian’s hunting party and is mistaken for a peasant. Meriel has reason to encourage the false assumption, but when she’s asked to relinquish the commoner-forbidden peregrine, she defiantly sets the falcon free before anyone can stop her. "You should not have done that." Adrian tells her. For at the moment Meriel released her falcon, Adrian’s own dark forces were also cut free, the reins that control his emotions pulled from his grasp. Though he knows he has no rational reason to hold her, Adrian has Meriel brought to his castle. After a night’s rest, Meriel presents herself to the earl, expecting to defend her innocence and depart. She is shocked when Adrian suggests she become his mistress instead. The offer would flatter a commoner, but of course the devoutly religious Meriel turns it down immediately. Since he doesn’t know her background, Adrian believes he can change Meriel’s mind. He tells her that she won’t be traveling alone without escort or leaving Warfield until he’s had a chance to convince her. Overnight Meriel finds herself imprisoned in Warfield’s tower, a bird in a gilded cage. One of the many things that sets Uncommon Vows apart from other captive/captor stories is that the heroine doesn’t fall for her captor. Meriel cannot love in captivity, and the more Adrian pursues her, the more she resists. Her rejection is genuine, and as Adrian insists they belong together, she grows desperate and vows she will never be his. Adrian’s blind obsession almost destroys both of them, and only when it’s nearly too late does he realize this and make another vow - one that offers salvation for Meriel and for his own soul.
Grade: ACheck Review