TARNISHED ROSE OF THE COURT
This is the sequel to McCabe’s The Winter Queen. It’s the story of estranged lovers thrown together in a dangerous game of queens and thrones. The history and the setting are flawless, but the characters doth protest too much. And though there are hints of kinkiness, there is never any follow-through.
Lady Celia Sutton is homeless and dependent on Queen Elizabeth’s favor. So when her queen asks her to visit the court of her cousin Mary, Celia has no choice but to agree. The only thorn in her side is her escort, Lord John Brandon, the man who betrayed her three years earlier. John has never forgotten Celia, nor the role he played in her family’s downfall. He hungers for her still and will do anything to win her again. He takes every opportunity during their perilous winter journey to Scotland to woo Celia, but there are more than hearts at stake, and soon the lovers are caught in a web of espionage, treachery and betrayal. (HARLEQUIN, Oct., 288 pp., $6.25)