by Susan Carroll
Category: Fiction / Historical
560 pages; ISBN: 0345437977
Rating: 9/10 (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner
Ballantine, Aug 2005, $13.95, 560 pp.
In 1575, courtesan Gabrielle Cheney visits reclusive friend Cassandra Lascelles at run down Maison d'esprit where the latter’s family were killed as befitting witches. Gabrielle wants to insure her friend is okay and ask Cassandra to communicate with her only love Captain Nicholas Remy who her brother informed her died. The séance conducted by Cassandra brings up the spirit of Nostradamus but fails to find Remy whom Gabrielle wants to apologize to for her behavior towards him on Faire Isle when they met three years ago (see THE DARK QUEEN). Cassandra knows that means he still lives but says nothing.
Just after leaving her friend to return to her sculpturing studio though she no longer uses her talent, Gabrielle is stopped by Remy who followed her. At first believing he is a ghost, she finally realizes her beloved lives. As Gabrielle walks a thin line between being the Courtesan of King Henry of Navarre and her love for Remy, the Dark Queen Catherine de Medici, the most powerful and most connected witch has plans of her own for the upstart.
The second Cheney sister historical tale combines otherworldly and romantic elements into an insightful look at the de Medici impact in Paris. The story line is action-packed starting with the séance and never slowing down until the final climax in which Catherine’s bewitching minion and her political power seems too daunting to be overcome by a bewitching courtesan and her beloved soldier. Fans will enjoy this sixteenth century suspense thriller and seek the first tale when sister Ariane battled THE DARK QUEEN while looking forward to the third sibling’s story.
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