James’ fully realized version of naughty, bawdy Restoration England is the ideal setting for her marvelous characters to play out their sensual and romantic love story. Through the pages readers come to believe in hope, true love, trust and the great gift of passion lovers share. The quick pace, strong dialogue and high degree of sensuality added to the lush backdrop will have readers enthralled.

A bawd’s daughter, Hope Matthews, has had two protectors before King Charles chooses her as his favorite mistress. With Charles’ queen arriving at court, Hope realizes her days are numbered. The recent Civil War and Charles’ return to the throne have altered Captain Robert Nichol’s fortunes for the worse. He has lost his lands. But a dear friend and fate intervene with the king presenting Robert with a new dilemma; all he need do to reclaim his land is wed the king’s mistress; providing a cover for Hope and Charles’ affair to continue. Robert has no desire to be the cuckold, but he does want his home. Each agrees to the king’s scheme, but neither expects passion to flare between them. Both Hope and Robert desire independence and their clash of wills can be heard from the countryside to London. Eventually they realize only the other can heal their past. But what will happen when Charles calls Hope back to court? (HQN, Sep., 372 pp., $7.99)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin