A Rose in Winter - Shana Abe Young, orphaned, Damon is taken in as a ward by the heroine's father and the two grow up together. They become as close as two souls can be and can't fathom the thought of life without the other. Unfortunately, this is medieval times and greedy men rule their daughters, so the two are torn apart and Solange is forced to marry a depraved man or else risk the life of her dear Damon.

After almost a decade of abuse Solange finds the means to escape the hellish man who's kept her prisoner and is reunited with Damon. Because they've both been hurt their reconciliation isn't an easy one and it's a long road before they're able to find bliss because they've got to confront, admit to, and get past their misconceptions and heartache.

I really liked the way the author avoided creating the stereotypical wronged and bitter hero. Damon was a dream hero, he was a lovely blend of contradictions; a powerful warrior and leader but also a tender healer, he was strong but not too strong and arrogant to admit to his love for Solange, even after all of the hell he'd been through. He didn't spend the book denying his feelings and striking out at the heroine. What a breath of fresh air! And I empathized with Solange who was courageous and never let her tortured past overwhelm her. She was abused and understandably scarred and scared but she didn't use her past as an excuse to keep Damon at arms length. Her gradual opening up to Damon's people was real and touching. In a nutshell I liked this book so much because the characters acted like adults who weren't afraid to admit what they felt in their hearts. It was refreshing and I definitely recommend this one, especially if you like strong relationship-based books and terrific character growth.