The Night's Dark Shade explores the passions of the human soul, the danger of heresy and religious fervor, and the heady enchantment of courtly love. In the wake of the untimely deaths of her family and her betrothed, Lady Raphaëlle, Vicomtesse de Miramande, is delivered into the custody of her uncle, the Baron de Marcadeau, during the height of the Albigensian Crusades. Innocent and brave, the Lady Raphaëlle is thrust into the midst of the heretical Cathar sect, falling prey to the machinations of her aunt, the Lady Esclarmonde, a Cathar Perfecti. Aided by her cousin Bertrande and the dashing Sir Martin, a Knight Hospitaller whose love for Raphaëlle challenges everything she knows about herself, Raphaëlle seeks the aid of the crown to nullify her betrothal and protect her ancestral home from an unholy alliance that will prove advantageous to the Cathari.Share
Torn by duty, honor, and love, Raphaëlle is a woman bound by the rules of medieval society. Unwilling to compromise her virtue, Raphaëlle stands firm, remaining true to her faith and enduring unspeakable hardships with spirit and grace. A gripping tale filled with danger, intrigue, and adventure, The Night's Dark Shade is a fast-paced romance that recalls the tradition of the troubadours and the lais of old. The narrative is compelling and Vidal’s treatment of the moral and spiritual concerns of the time drive the story and illustrate the female experience of thirteenth-century Christianity. Raphaëlle also emerges as a well-rounded and likeable character, making this an enjoyable and highly readable novel.