Dark Angels by Karleen Koen
Crown, 1st edition, 2006
Genre: historical fiction, romance
Synopsis & Review: Alice Verney is a perfect courtier, clever, fashionable, graceful, and ambitious. Raised in an exile court, she became a maid of honor at the Restoration of Charles II, but fled to France after a scandal involving one of her dearest friends. After two years in the household of Henrietta Maria and at the court of Louis XIV, Alice returns to England to fulfill her ambitions, first by regaining her position as maid of honor, then by an advantageous marriage–and from there to ever greater heights, dragging her friends up with her. She endeavors to make herself a credit to her patrons, making herself one of the most popular ornaments at court, assuaging the ennui of a corrupt and jaded cohort with clever tricks and spectacles. Though the English and French courts differ in many ways, there are two certainties in both: ambition and duplicity. Though less refined than Louis XIV’s, the court of Charles II has grown ever more dangerous, and Alice finds that old loyalties are no longer certain. Even as Alice arranges the lives of those around her, her life beging sliding out of her control as she falls in love with a handsome young officer who just happens to love her dear friend Louise Renee de Keroualle. While she proceeds with her plans, the murder of a member of the royal family sucks Alice into a maelstrom of intrigue. No one’s loyalties are certain anymore, not those of her father or her friends, and Alice begins taking measures to protect both herself and the queen she serves.
It’s no Forever Amber, but Dark Angels is a more than adequate historical romance, richly invested in the details Stuart England. Read the rest of this entry »