Shadows in Velvet

Haywood Smith, Author St. Martin's Press $5.99 (424p) ISBN 978-0-312-95873-2
French civil unrest in the mid-17th century is interwoven with a complex love story in this intelligent, accomplished debut historical romance. An orphan raised in a convent, Anne-Marie de Bourbon-Corbay finds herself ill-prepared for the elegantly corrupt world she is thrown into by an arranged marriage to her cousin, Philippe. As a result of his recently ended affair with an ambitious princess, Philippe and Anne-Marie find themselves in the middle of deadly civil disturbances that pit nobles, clerics and commoners against the autocratic regency of Cardinal Mazarin and Anne of Austria. Anne-Marie's maturation, Philippe's coming to terms with his long-buried emotions and the revelation of family secrets make for an explosive tension that leaves the happy ending in doubt until the last minute. Rich in history, romance and fine narrative drive, this is an impressive debut that explores new territory for readers who may be growing a little tired of the usual plots and settings. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1996
Release date: 07/01/1996
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