Siri de Calendri was trained in the art of illumination in her brother’s workshop in 12th century Venice, but when her brother dies his will sends her far from home. Siri travels to the faraway county of Poitou in France, where she enters the guardianship of her brother’s friend, Triston de Brielle. Once settled, she hopes to find employment in an illuminator’s shop— until Triston unexpectedly snatches her heart away with a kiss.
Triston is a man of quiet honor and courage, but the guilt he carries for the death of his wife, Clothilde, has left him numb and hesitant to love again. Worse yet, Siri bears an uncanny resemblance to his lost love. Or does she? Her merry laughter and twinkling eyes are very different from his late wife's shy smiles and quiet ways. Yet when he gazes into Siri's face, all he sees is Clothilde.
Then Triston's past returns to threaten them both. Trapped between the rivalry of the king's sons on the one hand and a neighbor out for vengeance on the other, Triston realizes it would be safer to send Siri away. Siri is determined not to be cast off and not to live in another woman’s shadow. She has illuminated many a priceless book with pen and paint, but can her own vibrant spirit illuminate the darkness in Triston’s soul and make his heart beat for her alone?