Valentina is my favorite heroine in the O'Malley series and more like Skye than Skye's offspring is. When Valentina goes to court to serve Elizabeth I, I was heartbroken. Mrs. Small's exceptional writing and incredible detail showed me how the lively days of courtlife in Elizabeth's youth had dramatically changed and become a somber place as Elizabeth approached her last days. When a family secret is revealed, Valentina shows us her adventurous spirit and heads East! Her adventures are incredible! I appreciated how Mrs. Small touched on "The Kadin" through the duchy of San Lorenzo and reintroducing us to Esther Kira (who met Valentina's mother in "A Love for All Time"). Also, the appearance of Cica Pasha tied into "Love Wild and Fair." Wonderful! (A note to Mrs. Small: Since you have touched on Esther Kira so often, how about a book dedicated to her entire life. Just a thought.) I wept at least 3 times and was filled with anger, frustration, joy, fear, and triumph as Mrs. Small weaved her magic spell of words and phrases and pulled me into her story. If you haven't read the O'Malley series, you might get a little confused. You should at least read "A Love for All Time" which is the tale of Aidan, Valentina's mother, and is the basis of much of this book's plot.