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Pamela Belle continues the saga of the St. Barbe family as Silence’s grandson Alexander returns home upon his father’s death from his *exile* on the continent to take over management of Wintercombe – and brings quite a notorious reputation with him. Alex’s cousin Charles (who is the next in line to inherit until Alex marries and produces a legitimate heir) resents him for being the heir, and that resentment grows into an all-consuming hatred for Alex.

Both men desire their cousin Louise who has a secret past of her own that she’s left behind in France when her mother entrusts her to Silence’s care in order to find her a good Protestant husband. The tension and passions between Alex and Louise heat up just as the Monmouth rebellion and the attempt to overthrow James II erupts in the surrounding countryside. Papist Charles thinks he’s found the weapon he needs against suspected Monmouth sympathizer Alex to gain the ultimate prize – Louise and Wintercombe.

All in all a pretty good read, although I found the central part of the story a tad bit on the slow side, the smaller details of the rebellion and battles just weren’t grabbing my attention – not like Alex and Louise who literally smoked off the pages. Still, the book ended well with what appears to be quite the set up for a rocking good story in the last of the four book series, Treason’s Gift. 3.5 stars rounded up to four.

The series in order,

Wintercombe

Herald of Joy

A Falling Star

Treason’s Gift

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