Daughter of James II, Mary Stewart, a sensible and sensitive beauty, was bred in a court of excess and license. Her arranged marriage at the age of fifteen, violated her vow to live the dedicated life of the celibate Queen Elizabeth. But her ambition was supplanted by a new dream, to win the love of William, the stern Dutch Prince, thirteen years her senior. William, who considers this a marriage of state, does not consummate his pledge to Mary until she is eighteen, by which time his guilt and natural reticence prevent him from displaying his feelings for her. Against a background of political tension--Catholic France constantly menacing William's domain--and political intrigue--James attempts to deprive Mary of her right to the English crown--the two follow a tortuous path toward mutual understanding. Mary's refusal to reign unless William is also crowned as King gives the Dutchman final proof of his wife's affection as does her support of his daring and successful attempt to drive James from the throne. And William's acknowledgement that it is of no importance to him that the frail Mary cannot produce an heir brings contentment to her. Despite a somewhat idealistic approach to the career of these two monarchs, here is a novel well conceived and richly arrayed with historical fact.