cover image Herald of Joy

Herald of Joy

Pamela Belle. St. Martin's Press, $22.95 (501pp) ISBN 978-0-312-04327-8

The Cavaliers and Roundheads are at large in this richly detailed sequel to Wintercombe by an author well acquainted with 17th-century England. At Wintercombe, the country seat of the Puritan St. Barbe family, young Silence copes with the recent demise of her elderly husband, the hurtful effects of his mean-minded will, and a brood of lively and appealing children and stepchildren. In secret, she nurses her love for Cavalier captain Nick Hellier, who, while berthed in a command post near Wintercombe, fathered Silence's daughter, Kate. When their destinies do cross six years later, Kate and other children who are devoted to the captain implement stratagems that save his life. The Civil War sunders the country and threatens the security of the St. Barbe family, torn between Puritan restraint and Royalist romanticism. Bell's characters come alive in a charming domestic setting removed from the center of conflict. (Apr.)