Susan Carroll, Author . Ballantine $13.95 (544p) ISBN 978-0-345-43796-9

When a wounded captain of the Navarre army arrives on Faire Isle in 1572 and calls for an audience with Daughter of the Earth (aka healer, or witch) Ariane Cheney, he provokes the wrath of the eponymous queen of France, Catherine de Medici, in this readable historical romance by the author of The Bride Finder . The captain's queen, Jeanne of Navarre, has second thoughts about marrying off her son to Catherine's daughter (a union arranged to smooth troubled Catholic-Protestant relations); the next day, she's dead. Ariane reluctantly agrees to help the captain prove that Catherine murdered Jeanne with a cursed pair of gloves, although the healer has plenty on her plate already, what with caring for her two younger sisters, the innocent Mirabelle and the conniving Gabrielle, and fending off the advances of her new neighbor, the lusty, muscular Comte de Renard. As Ariane investigates the magic gloves, the Dark Queen's soldiers prowl the island, witch hunters seek their prey, Renard woos his reluctant would-be bride with the aid of an enchanted ring and the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre looms. Carroll breaks no new ground in this overlong tale, but readers in the mood for a marriage plot spiced with magic should find that this one does the trick. Agent, Andrea Cirillo. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/28/2005
Release date: 01/01/2005
Show other formats
Ebook - 978-0-345-48214-3
Hardcover - 533 pages - 978-0-449-00679-5
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