Title: The Dark Queen
Author: Susan Carroll
Series: The Dark Queen
Date Started: July 28
Date Finished: July 30
Format: Paperback from library co-op
Ariane Cheney – the Lady of Faire Isle – always wanted a simple life. A life where she could do the work she does and not give her heart to another and have it broken like her mother. But it isn’t to be. The comte de Renard has set his eyes on her and will stop at nothing to make her his bride. He even gives her a magical ring where if she uses it three times to summon him, they will wed. She doubts she will use it, but she should never say never. In the middle of the night, a messenger from the abbey comes to her, there is a wounded man there and if she doesn’t come right away to help he won’t make it through the night.
This man turns out to be a captain from the king of Navarre’s army. He was protecting the queen when she was suddenly struck ill and died in the morning. The captain believes that she was poisoned by Queen Catherine de Medici, or as everyone else knows her the Dark Queen. He enlists her help to find the poison on the pair of gloves the Queen of Navarre was wearing before she was struck by the illness. Despite knowing what going against Catherine will do to her family, Ariane agrees.
Okay, let’s be honest, I’ve read A LOT of historical fiction in the last six months. Like more than I usually do in a year. So when I saw The Dark Queen on my Goodreads feed, at first I was like “no, I can’t put anymore historical fiction on my reading list, I’m going to burn myself out,” but then I read the summary, and I couldn’t resist. I’m glad that I didn’t. This book was very different than what I’m used to reading for this time period. It was cute and fluffy at times, while being dark, mysterious and erotic at others. I was completely captivated.
Ariane’s character leaped off the pages, and the character development in her though 500+ pages was amazing. She goes from this shy girl with a ton of responsibilities, to a girl who’s brave and trusting, and even goes up against the Dark Queen without blinking. Renard’s character got me from his first interaction with Ariane. A suitor who doesn’t take no for an answer and keeps pursuing her. I know I should be against that kind of thing, but the way that he did it was actually kind of sweet. Their slow fall for each other was brilliantly done.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I don’t normally go for tales told from different perspectives (especially without any warning of the change) but for this book I’ll make an exception. It was insightful to see the plot from not only Renard and Ariane’s perspective, but from Ariane’s sisters – Miri and Gabrielle – and Queen Catherine’s as well.
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