From Goodreads: Catharine, smarting from the bitter blow which deprived her of her lover, meets the lusty sea Captain Jake Pennlyon, who makes it clear that he allows nothing to come between him and his desires. Catharine is the chief of these and the battle between two strong-willed and tempestuous people is fought out in the shadow of the growing rivalry between Spain and England.
Catharine delights in outwitting the man who would subdue her and before he can have his way a mysterious abduction takes place. A captive on a Spanish galleon, Catharine experiences the terrors of the sea and makes the acquaintance of the mysterious and dignified Don Felipe. In the Hacienda she discovers the reason for her capture and what is demanded of her, which bears out the fact that Jake Pennlyon is a man whose life is inextricably interwoven with her own.
Dear Diary: Catharine Kingsman, the only child of Bruno and Damask Kingsman. Heartbroken after learning she can never marry the man she loves, Catharine is in Devon, visiting her adopted sister Honey Ennis at Trewynd Grange.
From Goodreads: "I was born in the September of 1523, nine months after the monks had discovered the child in the crib on that Christmas morning. My birth was, my father used to say, another miracle: He was not young at the time being forty years of age. . .My mother, whose great pleasure was tending her gardens, called me Damask, after the rose which Dr. Linacre, the King's physician, had brought into England that year."
Thus begins the story narrated by Damask Farland, daughter of a well-to-do lawyer whose considerable lands adjoin those of St. Bruno's Abbey. It is a story of a life inextricably enmashed with that of Bruno, the mysterious child found on the abbey altar that Christmas morning and raised by the monks to become a man at once handsome and saintly, but also brooding and ominous, tortured by the secret of his origin which looms ever more menacingly over the huge abbey he comes to dominate.
Dear Diary: Damask Farland, the only child of lawyer William Farland and his second wife, Dulce. Her father wanted her to be educated and so she had tutors. Damask is very close to her father and he confides in her his worries about the way things are heading with King Henry and the church.
This day in history: My notes from an earlier re-read are filled with important dates in Henry's, Edward's, and Mary's reigns. The book spans from 1522 to 1558. Damask was born in September 1523 and is ten years older than Elizabeth I.
How history played a part: Damask's father was a lot like Sir Thomas More -- initially intended to be a monk and left that life to have a family, though still strong in his faith. Henry's split with Rome and proclaiming himself head of the church upsets Lawyer Farland and his household, which is next to St. Bruno's Abbey. Damask and her family suffer through the political and religious changes each reign brings.