A Falling Star

Pamela Belle, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (500p) ISBN 978-0-312-05084-9
In 1685 when James II, the Catholic monarch, is on the English throne and a fragile peace prevails, the members of the St. Barbe family, particularly the grandchildren, are at odds with each other. While it helps to have read the earlier volumes of this trilogy, Wintercombe and Herald of Joy , there is enough recapitulation of the central character's rakish past to set the scene. That character is reputed libertine Sir Alexander St. Barbe, returned from the Continent where he has probably engaged in espionage, to claim his inheritance, the rambling estate of Wintercombe. This means the eviction of caretaker relatives who are papists and resentful of his cynical worldliness. Staying at Wintercombe is a freethinking young cousin, shipped over from France in the wake of an unsuitable liaison. Their inevitable attraction and subsequently dangerous affair is set against a political fracas, the Protestant Duke of Monmouth's rebellion, into which various family members are drawn. With her customary satisfying mix of historical fact and romantic fiction, Belle conveys the terror of the times and its impact on one family. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
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