Hambly, best known for her mysteries, takes her second foray into historical fiction with a tangled, inspiring exploration of America's founding mothers and the events leading up to the American Revolution and the War of 1812. Told through flashback and memories, this novel constantly switches of points of view, which can be distracting, but the basis is the connection these women have with one another, and it's the glue that holds them book together.

Martha Washington, Dolley Madison, Sally Hemmings and Abigail Adams. Not only do they all play a role in the formation of this country, but each feels bound to her spouse (or lover) and functions as confidante, lover, hostess and partner to these powerful men. Three of the women were privileged and though their stories are powerful, it is Hemmings' that is the most poignant. Even readers not totally fascinated with the historical backdrop will be spellbound by Hambly's intelligent, compassionate portrait of four unequaled women. (Bantam, Feb., 412 pp., $25.00)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin