Monday, December 10, 2012

The Lady of Secrets by Susan Carroll

This brilliant new installment in bestselling author Susan Carroll’s mesmerizing Dark Queen historical fiction series is perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory.

Queen Catherine de Medici is dead, and for Meg Wolfe—successor in a line of legendary healers and mystics known as “daughters of the earth”—it is a time of new beginnings. She strives to be ordinary, invisible in the mists of Faire Isle, and is determined to put the terrifying days of a wicked mother and turbulent childhood behind her. But soon a summons from King James will rekindle a menacing power from the past, bringing haunting visions of a nightmare already unfolding—and a shattering mystery steeped in magic that will determine a destiny from which she cannot hide.

Meg’s task: Save the king from the most insidious form of treachery, invisible to those who do not possess Meg’s extraordinary gifts. But as Meg discovers, there are more sinister motivations at play in the king’s world. Torn between two very different men whose motives and secrets are tied inexorably to her own fate, Meg learns that she can no longer trust anyone or anything—not even her own heart.

In 16th century Edinburgh, Maidred Brody and Tamsin Rivers are found guilty of being a witches and are scheduled to be burned at the stake. A crowd of people, including King James I, have gathered to witness the executions. Maidred’s brother, Robert, begs the king to save his sister’s life, but the monarch refuses. Robert swears vengeance against the king for the injustice. As flames consume Tamsin Rivers, she curses the king and his family, which both horrifies and terrifies King James.

Many years later, in Brittany, an anti-evil healer named Meg Wolfe is called to break the curse placed upon a young girl by a village witch. In the presence of a sceptical doctor, Meg is successful in freeing the young girl from the evil curse. As news of the cure spreads, Meg is called to London to aid the king who is suffering from ill luck, haunting visions, and the powers of a dark witch he is certain has befallen him because of the witch he had ordered burned at the stake. The men sent to escort Meg believe the spell has been cast by witches who belong to the Silver Rose Coven.

The front cover is this novel is beautiful and drew my attention immediately. The Lady of Secrets is one of a series of novels. Although you do not have to read earlier books in the series to enjoy this one, there were some references made to earlier subplots which made me regret not having read them. There is much to find interesting in this story – murder, vengeance, and dark secrets. A romance blooms between Meg and Blackwood which was charming due to her feisty nature and his tendency to be a bit of a scoundrel at times. And of course, because of Meg’s talents as a healer with a talent towards healing supernatural or paranormal problems, added quite a bit of interest. There was a fabulous plot twist at the end which made the ending more than satisfying!

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