Elizabeth, Countess of Ravenwold has been living a nightmare. So when her husband's body is brought home to rest, she is so relieved she becomes drunk.

Edward Garrett, Viscount Creighton, is stunned by the widow's apparent coldness at her husband's death. But he discounts her, until they meet under unusual circumstances years later.

England has been divided by war and religious differences, but nothing can stop Elizabeth from going to her ill sister's side, even if she must cross into "enemy territory." She will even carry a message for the King from a good friend who is also a spy.

Suddenly Elizabeth finds herself both caught up in the intrigue that surrounds Charles II and married off to the one man she would like to forget, Edward Garrett.

As they return home, it becomes apparent that they are drawn together by the dangerous games they are forced to play as well as by a slowly growing passion. Caught between loyalty and the desire to live out their lives, Garrett and Elizabeth must chase away the ghosts of the past and the political pressures of the present to find a love that can withstand anything their king and their countrymen place before them.

Haywood Smith's grasp of history and her innate ability to weave details into a cleverly plotted novel will endear her to readers who like lush backdrops and colorful information with their romance. Here is an author who has the gift and will win a place along side Sharon Kay Penman and Roberta Gellis. SWEET (Apr., 339 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin