In this second book of a trilogy set in Renaissance France, daughter of the earth Gabrielle Cheney leaves Faire Isle and lives as a courtesan in Paris. Haunted by Huguenot soldier Nicolas Remy, murdered on St. Bartholomew’s Eve, she consults a fellow wise-woman to raise Remy from the dead to beg forgiveness for spurning his love. Instead she is told she will become mistress of Henry of Navarre, future king of France. When Remy, who survived the massacre, surprises Gabrielle, he requests that she help him rescue Navarre from Catherine de Medici, who holds him prisoner. Gabrielle must choose between her love for Remy and her ambition to become Navarre’s mistress while facing trial as a witch.
I felt no time or place in this novel. Listed as historical fantasy, it’s more of a romance. “Bloody” and “blasted” weren’t interjections used in this era and sound awkward. Gabrielle is supposed to be a courtesan, yet little in her actions proves her capable of such notoriety: she throws temper tantrums in front of the queen and is terrified of sex. The publisher errs in using a portrait of Empress Josephine from 1805 on the front cover. I can’t recommend it.