Latest in a pleasant historical series (The Witch from the Sea, 1975; Saraband for Two Sisters, 1976), this pre-Restoration adventure again highlights the passionate concerns of two women--gentle, loyal Arabella Tolworthy, descended from a long line of ladies sore beset, and headstrong, bewitching Harriet, by-product of a strolling player who made merry with a simple village girl. Loyalist Arabella takes in Harriet, the serf-styled adventuress, and the entire Tolworthy menage removes to France to await the restoration of the King and the defeat of Cromwell. When Arabella is married to handsome Edwin, Harriet, by now a close friend, urges her to join Edwin in England where he is to base his spying mission at the family home--held (in Puritan disguise) by intimidating cousin Carleton. Edwin is mysteriously killed, and Arabella and Harriet both give birth to sons. In the months that follow, Harriet's dazzling doings and her marriage to Arabella's kinsman begin to take on an unpleasant coloration--particularly when Arabella learns some horrid truths about her sainted departed husband. It all ends with Arabella's marriage to Carleton, and a narrow escape from the one who had plotted her death. Domestic dither in the midst of historical troubles is Carr/Holt/Plaidy's long suit, and she cross-ruffs characters and events with a practiced hand.