KNAVE OF HEARTS by Philippa Carr
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In the last installment (The Adulteress, 1982) of Carr's English-historical series, 18th century sprout Dickon, determined to get his hands on Eversleigh, home of his Aunt Zipporah, seemed headed for an adulthood of nastiness and greed. Here, however, Dickon will be the long-term obsessive love of young Lottie, Zipporah's daughter. . . who now learns that her real father is the French Comte d'Aubigne, lover of her widowed mother: the lovers marry and take Lottie to the Comte's grand chateau in France--where Lottie meets her plain half-sister, sad Sophie, as well as lively minx Lisette, supposedly the housekeeper's niece. Meanwhile, back in England, Dickon has managed to acquire Eversleigh, showing little passionate interest in Lottie. So, while the Revolution simmers, she weds Charles de Tourville, ex-fiancÉ of Sophie (now scarred from accidental burning and generally 'round the bend). But Lottie will continue to wonder about Dickon--even after the suspicious deaths of Dickon's rich wife and that of husband Charles. (Is Dickon still up to no good?) And things are getting increasingly dreary for Lottie in France: her half-brother Armand is betrayed in some secret political activities and is popped into prison; a children's tutor, who coaxed Sophie out of her isolation, turns out to bear a striking resemblance to a leader of an aristocrat-extermination drive; Lisette, returned as Lottie's friend after a forced marriage to a farmer, now a widow and a mother, shows her true tricolors. So rescue, as the mob moves, is imperative--and guess who's the Good Guy who finally propels Lottie (whose children are safely in England) toward the White Cliffs? Oh, yes, with Dickon's twins, and Lottie's three, there's a ready-made cast for Carr's next romantic period-adventure--as this pleasantly blowsy, unsurprisingly popular series churns along busily.

Pub Date: April 19th, 1983
Publisher: Putnam