To strengthen his position amongst the shifting intrigues at Court, Cardinal Mazarin sends his lovely Italian-born niece, Marie Mancini, into battle with the aim of attracting the roving eye of young Louis XIV. But they both fall desperately in love, and as politics forbids their marrying the relentless Cardinal ships the girl off to Italy to marry into the noble house of Colonna. Louis proves feckless and forgetful, but Marie keeps the torch burning for the rest of her restless and discontented life. The historical reconstruction is well done, but the thickly romantic story is awkwardly put together, and the characters somewhat conventional. It could be popular, however, particularly with younger readers of the female persuasion. Sometimes frank, but never offensive.