This is one of the books in the Skye O'Malley series. Actually, this is to be the last book in the Skye O'Malley series. I have to admit that I have not read all of the books in the series, but I have read a few of them. In this book, Jasmine, one of Skye O'Malley's granddaughters, is in charge of three of her own granddaughters. The three are to be going to Court this year for the first time. The three granddaughters are Frances Devers, daughter of Fortune, Lady Diana Leslie, daughter of Patrick, and Lady Cynara Stuart, daughter of the not-so-royal Charles Stuart.
All of the cousins look alike. There are very minor differences between them. They all resemble Skye O'Malley. They all have dark hair. Fancy has turquoise eyes, just like Jasmine. Diana has green eyes and the Mughal mole. Cynara has blue eyes and she also has the Mughal mole. The three of them become good friends. Frances, or Fancy, is coming from the Colonies where her parents have a large plantation in Maryland. She was pursued and married the handsomest man in the colonies. She also became a widow on her wedding night. Her mother and father are sending her to England to escape the scandal of this. Jasmine and Fancy are the only ones that really know what happened that night. Unfortunately, the scandal has also reached England. Fancy has no desire to marry. She will not trust a man again. Diana has earned the sobriquet of Siren at Court. She is beautiful and is so good that even her enemies cannot find anything bad to say about her. She is going to Court for the sole purpose of having fun. She is not looking to marry right away either. Cynara has the sobriquet of Cyn at Court. She is a Stuart and will not let anyone forget it. She is a typical Stuart and is the one granddaughter that most closely reminds Jasmine of herself at that age.
They will be staying with Charles Stuart, the King's cousin. The King and Charlie have a very strong, close relationship. When they descend on the Court, Fancy immediately catches the King's eye. Siren is immediately flocked by suitors and Cyn already knows who she wishes to marry. Fancy becomes the King's mistress. Siren is attracted to the Geminid, devilishly handsome twin brothers. She dismisses the rest of her suitors and has to decide which one of the twins she will marry. Cyn pursues the man known as Wickedness.
All three of these women are very strong. They know what they want and pursue it single-mindedly. They are all honest and very plain spoken. Jasmine remains in the background and is always available with advice, which she gives only when asked for it. This is a wonderful look at the time of Charles II, his relationship with both the Queen and all of his mistresses, including Fancy. This story also provides a look at the social interactions and morals of the times. It also deals with family as well, in how Skye O'Malley's offspring all tends to stick together, regardless of what is going on at the time. I got quite caught up in this story had a difficult time putting it down. The only problem I had with this book is that it is the end of a series of strong women taking care of their families.
I recommend this book to all lovers of historical romance.
Chere Gruver, March 2003
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