Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Susan Carroll: The Dark Queen

The Dark Queen: A
Ariane Cheney & Justice Deauville, Comte de Renard
Dark Queen Series 1

Susan Carroll starts her Dark Queen series with the introduction of the eldest of the Cheney sisters, Ariane Cheney.

Ariane Cheney is slightly spinsterish, as most responsible, eldest siblings in romances tend to be. She is a Daughter of the Earth, a healer or a witch, but in the nicest sense of the word. Her mother was Faire Isle’s legendary healer and Ariane is struggling to fill her mother’s shoes while raising her younger sisters, dealing with a stubborn suitor, and battling the all-powerful queen of France, Catherine de Medici.

Justice Deauville is the Comte de Renard and has decided on marrying Ariane. She isn’t interested since she wants to marry for love, but he continuously pursues her as she tries to figure out the mystery surrounding the injuries of a wounded captain of the Navarre army. Renard backs off, only if Ariane accepts a ring that he gives her; he tells her that the ring will let him know should Ariane ever need him. If she succeeds in calling for him three times, she must marry him.

Ariane agrees, and goes back to trying to figure out if Catherine de Medici has surreptitiously killed Captain Remy’s queen, Jeanne of Navarre. As Ariane investigates the situation, Catherine sends witch-hunters onto the island after Ariane and other wise women.

Will Renard get Ariane? (yes, he will; it's a romance...remember??) What will happen to Captain Remy? And evil Catherine de Medici?

Read and you’ll find out. Renard is lovable – who doesn’t love a man who knows what he wants and pursues it? Ariane is sensible and when she realizes Renard might be that man for him…

An intriguing start to the series, The Dark Queen is a very fast read with compelling characters.

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