Another companionable Laker romance, this time set in Napoleonic France. On the way to her wedding, Gabrielle Roche literally runs into the man of her dreams. Rather, her coach collides with a funeral cortÃ‰ge--Nicolas Devaux is escorting the body of his father. He has just returned to Lyon; years before, Gabrielle's father had been responsible for Nicolas and his family having to flee Lyon for their lives. Despite this brief but volatile meeting, Gabrielle goes ahead with her marriage to Emile Valmont, a man she respects and hopes will allow her to be an active partner in their silk business. (Gabrielle had learned a lot about the silk industry, hoping to impress her father, a silk magnate who never really forgave Gabrielle for the fact that her mother died during childbirth.) Gabrielle and Emile have several years of happiness together, even though there are close calls when the passion Gabrielle and Nicolas feel for each other threatens to ignite. But Gabrielle remains true to her husband and is content to indulge her second passion: her ambition to be active in the silk trade, first as her husband's surrogate while he's ill, then as her father's heir to Maison Roche. Laker is at her best when exploring the history of the silk industry, the labor practices of the time and the attitudes toward women in business. Tree of Gold takes a while to come into its own, and some readers might become impatient with it; but in this book, as well as in Gilded Splendour (1982), What The Heart Keeps (1984), Jewelled Path (1983), and Banners of Silk (1981), Laker has proven herself a master at focusing on one industry during a particular period in time, going beyond historical event to get to the human drama.