The long-awaited prequel to Koen’s beloved Through a Glass Darkly, Dark Angels is a feast of a novel that sparkles with all the passion, extravagance, danger, and scandal of seventeenth-century England.
Alice Verney is a young woman intent on achieving her dreams. Returning to England after a messy scandal forced her to flee to Louis XIV’s France, Alice is anxious to re-establish herself by regaining her former position as a maid of honor to Charles II’s queen and marrying the most celebrated duke of the Restoration.
But all is not as it seems in the rowdy, merry court of Charles II. Since the Restoration, old political alliances have frayed, and there are whispers that the king is moving to divorce his barren queen, who some wouldn’t mind seeing dead. Alice, loyal only to a select few, is devoted to the queen, and so sets out to discover who might be making sinister plans—and if her own father is one of them.
When a member of the royal family dies unexpectedly, the stakes are raised. As Alice steps up her efforts to find out who is—and isn’t—true to the queen, she learns of shocking betrayals throughout court, and meets a man who she may fall in love with—and who could spoil all of her plans. With the suspected arrival of a known poison-maker, the atmosphere in the court electrifies, and suddenly the safety of the king himself seems uncertain. Secret plots are at play, and war is on the horizon—but will it be with the Dutch or the French? And has King Charles himself betrayed his country for greed?
Unforgettable in its dramatic force, here is a novel of love and politics, of romance and betrayal, of power and succession—and of a resourceful young woman who risks everything for pride and status in an era in which women were afforded little of either.
In this sprightly prequel to her bestselling Through a Glass Darkly, Koen transports readers to the Restoration court of England's King Charles II. As England recovers from civil war, the court is awash in intrigue, treachery and debauchery. Koen's protagonist, Alice Verney, "a born courtier, wily, patient, steadfast," and maid-of-honor to Queen Catherine, moves seamlessly through this glittering world. When King Charles's sister is poisoned, Alice suspects the mysterious Henry Angel is responsible and has Queen Catherine as his next target. Alice allies with the duke of Balmoral, a statesman and one of the king's advisors whom she hopes to wed, and the young handsome Richard Saylor, the commander of the Queen's Guard, to foil Angel's plot and expose the conspirators within the English government. As she races to save the queen, Alice is increasingly torn between the wealthy, powerful duke of Balmoral and the lowly but dashing Saylor. Koen knows her material and painstakingly recreates the Restoration period. Her large cast both historical and fictional are sharply rendered, and the larger-than-life Alice makes a memorable heroine imperious, even vindictive, but always unwavering in conviction. Koen blends history, mystery and romance to craft a historical romance that will delight fans of the genre.
Well-written, entertaining, brings history and historical figures to life and shows them as fallible, interesting, real human beings.
I am a lover of historic novels, and this one is one of my favorites, read and re-read. It is written beautifully, the imagery is fantastic, I can almost smell the feasts, feel the exquisite dresses, and feel the sting of insults and betrayal personally. If you're a fan of historic novels, this rich period of English and French history, then scoop this one up.
Very entertaining and fast paced. Loved it, "through a glass darkly" is still my favorite