New York Times bestselling author Jane Feather has won legions of fans and critical accolades for her unique blend of sizzling seduction, dangerous intrigue, and passionate adventure. In this second of two romances featuring two unconventional sisters whose quest to solve the mystery surrounding their lives puts each of them in the path of an irresistible hero, Jane Feather tells the story of a young bride in peril and a mysterious English lord who find themselves at the center of a sinister plot...and a reckless affair.Kissed By Shadows
Set during a period of political unrest and persecution, the final entry in Feather's 16th-century Kiss trilogy (following To Kiss a Spy) will hook readers at the outset, but it may not hold their attention throughout. When Lady Philippa Nielson meets Lionel Ashton, a close confidant of Queen Mary and King Philip II, she has the eerie sense that she's met the mysterious English lord before. Lionel denies the connection, but the more time she spends with him, the more convinced she becomes. As Pippa's friendship with Lionel grows, her relationship with her husband, Stuart, deteriorates. She suspects he's having an affair, but it isn't until she learns she's pregnant that she discovers the truth: both she and Stuart are pawns in a plot to secure Queen Mary's place on the throne, and Lionel, whom Pippa has come to trust and even love, may be one of the Queen's puppeteers. Feather skillfully draws out the intrigue and immerses readers in the time period with her descriptions of court costumes and customs. However, her tendency to overstuff the novel with details undermines the suspense. Though the pace plods at times and the secondary romance between Pippa's brother and Lionel's Spanish ward lacks depth, Feather's firm grasp of history and compelling plot will push readers past the slow spots. (Feb. 11) Forecast: Readers accustomed to shelling out twenty dollars or more for Feather's hardcovers will welcome this moderately priced paperback original. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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December 31, 2002
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Excerpt from Kissed by Shadows by Jane Feather
Winchester, July 26th, 1554
The paneled chamber was in shadows, the only light thrown from a branched candelabrum on a side table that caught the deep fire of ruby, the golden glow of topaz, the rich flash of emerald adorning the heavy silks and velvets of the six men in the chamber.
The tall windows were shuttered, closing out the warm summer night, and the air in the chamber was stifling. The men were sweating, dark patches staining the thickly embroidered brocade of their doublets, rivulets trickling down the back of their necks where their hair clung wet beneath jeweled velvet caps.
As a group they approached the daybed that stood in deepest shadow against the wall. The bed was draped with a white sheet and the still figure upon it looked as if she lay upon her bier. One arm hung down, the fingertips brushing the rich Turkey carpet. Her hair, the color of cinnamon, was loose on the pillow, her thin frame clad only in a linen nightshift. Freckles were visible even in the shadowed gloom, standing out harshly against the extreme pallor of her countenance. Paper-thin eyelids fluttered as if she were dreaming, and then were still again.
"You are certain she is aware of nothing?" The question was startling as it broke the almost reverent silence in the chamber. The voice, although barely more than a whisper, was a thickly accented rasp.
"She is unconscious, Your Majesty. She will not come to herself for many hours." One of his companions moved up to stand beside him as he looked down upon the woman.