A rose bush had bloomed beside the ruined altar. Stephen had reached out to caress one of the flowers.
“I’ll find you,” he had said. “In ten years, when we have finished school, when we are able to marry, I’ll find you. Until then, whenever you see a yellow rose, remember me. Remember I love you.”
In those ten years, Katherine had finished college, completed med school, and become a doctor. In those ten years they had not seen each other, had not spoken, and had not written.
It was what they had agreed.
For a decade, she had been waiting, hoping, praying.
Today ─ her birthday─ she finds a vase of yellow roses when she reaches home.
Stephen, though, is not Katherine’s only suitor. Bill Wilson has known her since they were in high school. He has long planned to wed her, and he finally decides to stake his claim.
Although the action occurs primarily in New York City, psychologically, the story is set in a small town in Virginia. Change came slowly to the rural South in the nineteen-seventies, and attitudes toward women were most resistant to change. Women were expected to be subservient to men, to have children, to keep house. A woman was to be above reproach, and any hint of scandal was met with censure, with ostracism, with shame. These attitudes threaten to destroy Katherine and the life of which she dreams.
The Handfasting is a story of love renewed, a suitor spurned, a vicious attack, a struggle for healing. It is a story of love that survives.