ROYAL PASSION by Jennifer Blake


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Another of Blake's almost endearingly foolish period-romances with its goopy plot, ringlet-tossing dialogue and sighing-strings sex. This one takes place during France's February Revolution of 1848; and here and there Blake interlocks with nuggets of French history. ""Mara"" Delacroix, maid of old Louisiana, who's in Paris with Grandm≤re Helene, is snared into a dastardly plot by court official de Landes. For rather foggy reasons he has threatened Mara with Grandm≤re-cide unless she seduces Prince Roderic of Ruthenia (a for-real country in the Ukraine). The Prince--hair of molten gold and chin of ""square jut""--is lounging in the woods with gypies and his own cadre of followers when Mara tumbles in, but soon he'll whisk her off to Paris. Now warned by de Landes, Mara begins a two-week countdown for Seduction Night. In the meantime, Roderic is up to his jutting chin in politics, and the post-seduction assassination attempt on the life of King Louis Phillippe seems to have been involved in some way With Roderic and his cadre--the ""Death Squad."" Into the Ruthenia residence comes a stream of visitors: Princess Juliana, Roderic's sister, loved by the noble gypsy Luca; King Rolfe, of Ruthenia, married to Mara's godmother; a passel of lit'ry lights (Dumas p≤re and fils, Sand, etc.), and political heavies. Finally Roderic will propose marriage, but, for reasons too tiresome to enumerate, Mara hauls out the flag: ""I am an American. What are titles to me, or the useless trappings of kings?"" (But, ah, those enchanted evenings in the hay, ending with ""sudden grandeur toward the inevitable explosion""!) The fates of France and Mara are decided in a blaze of action, highlighted by a female Three Musketeers standby: Mara, Juliana and a woman of the cadre, caught in a mob, swinging swords, shoulder-to-shoulder. One more sure-fire Blake laminated romance to keep the paperback rack swinging around.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1985
Publisher: Ballantine