An Elizabethan re-creation, this story of Frances, daughter of Walsingham, who dreamed of the day when she would be ""husband-high"" so that she could marry Philip Sidney and who, when she did wed him, found she had an unremitting foe in Lady Penelope Rich, his ex-mistress, and in Elizabeth, her Queen. Their love and their marriage achieved maturity and, with Philip's death, there were other choices but it was a long time friend Robin Deveroux, the young Earl of Essex, to whom, by her dead husband's direction, she turned -- for a marriage kept secret because of Elizabeth's devotion to him. This marriage, blighted by Robin's sister, the Lady Penelope, and her ambitious designs, by Robin's own popularity and high-handed insubordinations, and by Elizabeth's growing impatience, tried Frances' hard-won strength, kept her loving and trusting in spite of Robin's flaunting of authority, his weakness and his insecurity, and brought her to face his execution with a fortitude equal to his. A fictional handling that is very much at home with these private lives, this moves in the times and with the people in a friendly and understanding fashion. Satisfying, in its history and its telling.