A second hardcover from romance veteran Feather (The Least Likely Bride, not reviewed) tells of a 16th-century noblewoman who stands accused of murdering her four husbands.
Lady Guinevere Mallory is blameless—or so she claims. Her first husband died in a riding accident. The second was the unlucky target of an arrow. The third perished miserably from a mysterious disease. And the fourth—well, the drunken brute tripped and fell out her window. Guinevere’s innocence has never been questioned—until, that is, the conniving Thomas Cromwell, King Henry VIII’s Privy Seal, hears about the latest death. He hopes to enrich the king’s coffers (and his own) with Lady Guinevere’s immense fortune, grown much larger after each husband’s demise. Her lands and wealth are under her sole control—unusual even for a noblewoman of the era, though Guinevere is brilliant and self-educated, particularly in the law. Still, Lord Privy Seal is well aware that Guinevere’s claim to the estate of her second husband (the only man she loved and the father of her two beguiling young daughters) is shadowed by some doubt. Hugh of Beaucaire, a distant relative of hers by marriage, is assigned to investigate the haughty lady. He escorts the unwilling Guinevere back to London—with a pause or two for some truly hot sex—where Cromwell promptly imprisons her in the Tower. Then, brought before King Henry himself in the Star Chamber, Guinevere adroitly proves her case. Hugh, utterly smitten by her beauty and intelligence, proves her innocence by a proposal of marriage, to everyone’s astonishment. Guinevere doesn’t quite trust him, but she must agree if she is to regain her freedom. Hugh is madly in love, Guinevere resigned and wary, when tragedy strikes: Robin, Hugh’s young son, is at death’s door, the victim of poison. And Hugh refuses to believe his new wife’s passionate protestations of innocence.
Rich characters, sophisticated sensuality, and a skillfully crafted storyline: a first-class historical romance, wonderfully entertaining.