Synopses & Reviews
When I first saw her, I realized that the miniature portrait I had shown to the king did not do her justice. Lady Guinevere Mallorys beauty transcended even a portrait painters skill. It was nearly impossible to believe that this woman, who had buried four husbands before her thirtieth birthday, could have used murder and the dark arts of witchcraft to achieve her great wealth.
I carried the kings writ to investigate Lady Guineveres oft-repeated widowhood. Was it mere coincidence that each death had left her wealthier than the last? The fact that I believed she also held lands that rightfully belonged to my family made my investigations all the more personal and all the more thorough.
Surely, I thought, such a woman would bear some obvious mark of treachery on her countenance, in her manner. But when we met I saw only the beauty of her pale blond hair and her deep violet eyes that seemed to me to offer a glimpse into the intriguing world of her brilliant mind and spirit. I began to wonder how the gentle hands of such an elegant woman, whose cool composure belied her dubious past, could have committed cold-blooded murder.
Now as I learn more about the mysterious widow, I find myself growing more curious about the secrets of her heart-and more determined to reveal those secrets. Guinevere is the most captivating and intriguing woman I have ever met. I have but one question:
Will my interest in her prove to be a fatal one?
Hugh of Beaucaire
About the Author
Jane Feather is the New York Times
-bestselling, award-winning author of The Least Likely Bride
, The Accidental Bride
, The Hostage Bride
, A Valentine Wedding
, The Emerald Swan
, and many other historical romances. She was born in Cairo, Egypt, and grew up in the New Forest, in the south of England. She began her writing career after she and her family moved to Washington, D.C., in 1981. She now has over five million copies of her books in print.
From the Hardcover edition.
This Valentine's Day I expect to be tramping the hills in the Lake District in the pouring rain, because it always rains there in the winter, and most of the summer too, although then it's not quite so cold. Water dripping down our necks, boots squelching through mud, while we nibble the local equivalent of a power bar, Cumberland Cake, its sweet fudginess melting on our tongues and giving at least the impression of comfort. Most of our spurious warmth comes from the knowledge of righteousness in our healthy discomfort, but also from the views, that even through the rain are spectacular. Windermere below us is a jewel of rain-pocked silver amid mist-wreathed hills.
We stop for lunch in a thatch-roofed pub. Smoky, crowded with monosyllabic locals downing pints as they lean their elbows on the stained counter. We eat Cornish pasties and drink Guinness, rich and dark and creamy. Then we go out into the rain again and climb a style into a field with a pretty trout stream running through it. But there'll be a bull in the field, there always is, so we'll scramble back over the style pretending we're not frightened of cows, and decide we'll stick to the lanes for now, because, after all, they're not quite so wet and muddy.
It's getting dark by four o'clock and our righteousness is no longer sufficient motivation to keep us going. We stop at a cottage advertising cream teas, and gorge ourselves on scones with thick clotted cream and raspberry jam, and teacakes full of currants and dripping with butter, and hot, strong tea. Then with visions dancing in our heads of hot baths, blazing logs, crisp champagne we head for home.
Home for this night is a Jacobean country house hotel, its walls thick with ivy and wisteria. We climb two flights of curving wooden stairs to a door on a half landing. Behind the door lies the four poster bed, the blazing fireplace, a clawfooted bathtub in the bathroom lit only with perfumed candles.
My companion opens the bottle of Krug Grande Cuvee that awaits in the ice bucket. It is a discreet pop, he's good at opening champagne. We toast each other in the delicate golden wine and prepare for an evening of well-earned sybaritic delights...