Ellen L. Ekstrom has been intrigued by all things medieval since seeing Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” as a five-year old—when it was first run in theaters. Now that she is in her own middle ages, the passion for the Middle Ages hasn’t abated. She is a deacon in the Episcopal Church, Diocese of California, whose ministry concentrates on social justice issues and historical theology. To support her family and frenetic lifestyle, she works as a legal secretary. Once in a while, she sleeps.
Violet Ellison is a woman who seemingly has it all: three adorable kids, a handsome - but distant - husband and a home in a good neighborhood. But her life is falling apart: she’s burning the candle at both ends to look after her family, finish a history degree and working a full-time job to keep the bill collectors at bay. The morning she finds a chess piece on the sidewalk, a knight on horseback, things start to change. While not one for fairy tales, Violet’s life takes a Cinderella turn and in finding the perfect dress for a society event, she runs into the perfect man: a rock star she’s had a crush on since her teens. A family friend who reminds her of everything she’s been trying to forget suddenly returns, and Violet has some difficult decisions before her. When it all comes crashing down, she realizes that she really didn’t need a knight in shining armor – just some time and space to figure things out, and maybe some sleep.
When Quinn Radcliffe shows up in a village somewhere in the Cotswolds or Dorset, he knows he's been there before. It's a place out of a Thomas Hardy novel - or the imagination. There's the Curiosity Shop with The Proprietress and her famous guests, the church at the end of the lane, and unbelievable but necessary journeys that test and affirm. Now the conductor of a world-renowned orchestra, Quinn isn't surprised by his surroundings - the love of his life, Alice Martin, told him all about the village but he has always and secretly thought it was the best part of a dream she shared after her life-threatening illness.
There are two sides to every love story. This is the other side of the haunting and poignant romance that began with "Tallis' Third Tune."
Alice Martin discovers herself in a quaint English shop. Iconic historical figures appear no sooner than she thinks of them; they come and go, offering advice - unwanted, but always interesting. While there, Alice learns that she can change definitive moments in her history, to correct mistakes made in two important relationships: with her first love, Quinn Radcliffe, a sensitive classical musician destined for the concert halls of the world, and with Donovan Trist, a charming archeologist with New England blue-blood and expensive scotch in his veins. Each has a hold on Alice, and what she is compelled to undertake begins a momentous and sometimes painful journey. Throughout her travels, Alice is linked to love by a melody, the luminous and evocative Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis. As she seeks answers and happiness, Alice knows one thing is for certain - this is not a trip to Wonderland, but deep into her heart and soul.