Sense of Touch: Love and Duty at Anne of Brittany’s Court

Written by Rozsa Gaston

For readers of Philippa Gregory and Diana Gabaldon, a 2017 RONE Book Award finalist.

“A romance and an interesting novel about a little-known French queen. A striking story of heartache and forbidden love, of women in the 15th century French court who fought with passion and determination for what they wanted.”–Historical Novel Society

In July of 1497 Anne of Brittany, Queen of France, gives birth to a son. Within hours the child joins the five dead siblings who came before him.

In the mournful weeks that follow, fifteen-year-old Nicole St. Sylvain meets Philippe de Bois, a young horse trainer breaking in one of the queen’s stallions. The attraction between the two is immediate, but duty and honor bring their romance to an abrupt halt. They work together to heal the horse’s infected hoof, then part ways.

As the daughter of a wealthy but untitled merchant, Nicole exists in a precarious social position. Her family has money, she is the sole heir, but she is only noble on her dead mother’s side. An arranged marriage to an established noble family will secure her future but dash any hope she has of a life with Philippe.

When the queen’s only living child falls ill, she remembers Nicole’s skill as a healer. If Nicole’s healing sense of touch can save the royal child, will the queen reward her with the greatest desire of her heart—marriage to her one true love?

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