Witchcraft and intrigue dominate the life of a 16th-century girl serving the Lady Elizabeth Tudor, imprisoned in Oxfordshire by her sister Queen Mary in this series opener.
Fifteen-year-old Meg is a witch—a real one. She and her aunt Jane try to see the future at Elizabeth’s request, but in 1554, witchcraft is a hanging offense. Looming over all Meg’s activities are Marcus Dent, the area’s professional witchfinder, who wants to marry her, and Alejandro de Castillo, a priest-in-training sent by Queen Mary to watch over Elizabeth’s Catholicism. Complicating matters further, Meg’s family wants to foment rebellion against the crown by dragging Elizabeth into their plans, an action that could get Elizabeth killed. An established romance novelist, Lamb sticks closely to the genre conventions for this book. Meg’s volatile emotions command her actions entirely, usually leading her into serious mistakes that provide much of the novel’s tension. Meg’s hang-fire romance is with the character most impossible for her, and the book’s villain is over-the-top evil. Full of cliffhanger moments, impossible escapes, dastardly villainy and even a few chase scenes, the story has enough suspense and unrestrained emotion to satisfy romance fans and enough witchy activity for paranormal fans. The mostly accurate history is something of a lagniappe.
Great for romance fans, probably too shallow for history fans. (Paranormal historical romance. 12 & up)