Koen's prequel to her successful Through a Glass Darkly highlights the treachery and drama of King Charles II's court, carefully combining historical events and characters to create a spellbinding novel. Alice is a formidable protagonist. Her pragmatism and forthrightness enable her to survive the death of a princess and the betrayal
of a suitor.

Alice Verney is a maid of honor to French Princesse Henriette, the sister of King Charles II. Alice and other maids of honor accompany the Princesse to England, where the King Charles' court is filled with decadence. His queen, Catherine, is acutely aware of the king's many mistresses, and she's despondent because she's failed to provide him with an heir.

When Alice returns to France with Henriette, the Princesse suffers a horrible death, and rumors that she was poisoned abound. Bereft at her loss, Alice returns to England and is thrown into intrigues of the heart and the court as she searches for a love of her own. (Crown, Sep., 544 pp., $25.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick