Lovers, marriages, and high hopes are blasted by thunderous historic events in this fourth novel of the ""Bridges Over Time"" series (after Women of Ashdon, 1993). The English civil war and its aftermath form the backdrop for Anand's tale of doomed, sad, and betrayed lovers, brave souls scurrying or galloping ahead of murdering pursuers, and survivors of plague, fire, and mindless persecutions. The beautiful Indian girl Parvati (renamed a chaste ""Penelope""), slave to the captain of a privateer, had (literally) been swept into the arms of 40ish bachelor Ninian Whitmead, who rescued her from shipwreck on Cornwall's shores. The nearly drowned waif brings joy and passion to nice, drab Ninian, and he marries her. Ninian, a mild royalist, tries subterfuge and a somber Puritan visage to protect himself and his wife, but fanatic religious fervor, cresting as King Charles is executed, will take away his friends, his safety -- and his beloved Parvati, denounced as a witch. In 1664, their son Charles, a handsome, amoral scoundrel, impregnates and is forced to marry gentle Louisa, while spending more of his amorous time with Christabella, whom he'll marry after Louisa's forlorn death. In her short life Louisa had not only discovered the possibilities of intellectual adventures, but with Ninian, been introduced to a long estranged branch of the Whitmeads in Essex. Louisa's daughter Henrietta will find love with Benjamin, an Essex cousin, but father Charles and Benjamin's sire, driven by religious scruples (there was that heathen grandmother!) and plain greed (Charles had found Henrietta an ancient, rich husband) lie and betray to prevent a marriage. Henrietta dedicates herself to another lifelong commitment -- to a woman. Throughout the chases, clashes, doings in high places, and appealing views of country life, brave women search for freedom. Like the others in the series, a Christopher Hibbert-style dynasty drama with reliable historical special effects.