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Another genre romance from Lide, this one more tied to the history books than her recent salt and heather-scented Tregaran duo since it concerns events during the early part of Henry VIII's reign. Here, in fact, it's 1512 when Lide raises the curtain on her downy-skinned Devonshire heroine, Philippa de Verne, daughter of a Yorkist traitor and just about to be married off to an elderly solicitor so that her wicked stepfather can steal her land. Coincidence throws her into the arms of one Richard Montacune, a Northumbrian lord returning from the wars in France. He saves her from a rape attempt; she offers up her lips, which he accepts while refusing to help her run away. Abscond she does, nonetheless, to Henry's court, where she plans to plead for the king's help. Instead, she lands in the middle of a Yorkist riot--where guess who shows up to rescue her again? (""Why, Lord Montacune, such a coincidence...."") Next, she winds up in the entourage of the king's sister, Princess Mary, a self-indulgent chit bent on resisting marriage to Emperor Charles. The princess has Philippa make her case before the king, resulting in another rape attempt, this one royal. Philippa's liaison with Mary continues to cause trouble in France when the princess marries Louis, elopes with an English duke after the French king's death, and finally betrays Philippa while trying to escape Henry's wrath. But all's well that ends well, since Montacune appears to fight for and win his lady fair at the lists. Surprisingly labored, characterless, and coincidence-plagued. In earlier books Lide's won the day out of sheer romantic panache. Not this time.

Pub Date: Dec. 18th, 1991
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: St. Martin's