cover image Love in a Mist

Love in a Mist

Patricia Grasso. Dell Publishing Company, $5.99 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-440-21669-8

The author of Highland Belle and Desert Eden offers a flawed but bawdy romp through Elizabethan England by way of Melrose Place. Steeped in the Druidic lore of her dethroned Welsh ancestors, pagan princess Keely Glendower journeys to fulfill her mother's deathbed wish that she meet the powerful English duke who, unbeknownst to him, is her father. Accompanied by her oafish cousins, Odo and Hew, whose misadventures as highwaymen nearly cost them their lives, Keely is taken to heart and hearth by her ducal sire, if not by her half-sister Morgana, who is aghast at being replaced by a bastard in both her father's and neighboring Richard Devereux's affections. Esteemed throughout England for his Midas touch with the queen's coffers, Richard is charmed by the eccentric, innocent Keely. And as she is beset by troubling prophecies, troublesome spirits, bed-sporting courtiers, her jealous half-sister and other lurking treacheries, they are married with due pomp, imperiled and impassioned. While Grasso hits many a false note, sprightly prose infused with New Age paganspeak, enlivens the jarringly modern atmosphere and clunky sitcom sensibility. (Dec.)