Genre: alternate history/fantasy
Length: 350 pages
Setting: England and France, early 1800s
Interest: I was looking for an N author and for my reading challenge and came across an Andre Norton book. I read a lot of her stuff as a kid and enjoyed it, so it seemed a safe and enjoyable bet.
Summary: The Lady Roxbury is dying of consumption, which is a problem since she is tied to the land and has no heir on which to pass her role. She and Dame Alecto make a wild game and trade places with Sarah Cunningham, Roxbury’s persona in a parallel universe. Dame Alecto tries to convince Sarah she’s really Lady Roxbury, but Sarah’s down-to-earth personality eventually reasserts itself. During this time, the Duke of Wessex, long betrothed to Roxbury, is pushed into marriage. He is unwilling, because he’s secretly a spy, and doesn’t want to pass on that trait or get Roxbury involved in such a sordid profession. Wessex is sent to find the missing Danish princess, key to an important treaty between Denmark and England. Roxbury is kidnapped trying to help a friend escape a snare for the Prince of England. They meet up in France, finding the rightful King of France hiding from Napoleon.
Final thoughts: A delightful book. I wasn’t familiar enough with the history to really catch the differences. It basically felt like a historical novel instead of an alternate history novel, but a well-written story either way. Lots of intrigue, both French and British, with a touch of romantic tension. I wanted a bit more payoff of the romantic culmination at the end to be perfect, but I enjoyed watching Sarah take charge of her life and Wessex do his spying. It reminded me a lot of The Scarlet Pimpernel. I’m sad the library doesn’t have the second book in the series.
Title comes from: Napoleon is looming on the horizon of England, threatening both the crown and magic of the land
Reading challenges fulfilled: 91/100 in my Finally to 100 Challenge, and an N in my Author Alphabet Challenge
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