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The Serpent Garden by Judith Merkle Riley
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The Serpent Garden

by Judith Merkle Riley

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365244,917 (3.96)9
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Danish (1)  English (1)  All languages (2)
This is a wonderful book with a strong heroine who is able to best her male counterparts in medieval England. There is lots of court intrigue and sorcery. Was a really fun book to read. ( )
  Heather_Arrington | May 31, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Judith Merkle Rileyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Leister, BryanCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
A touch of the supernatural adds spice to Riley's fourth novel, a historical romance filled with high-level political chicanery set in 16th-century France and Tudor England. Susanna Dallet, a young English widow and painter, becomes embroiled in Henry VIII's scheme to marry his sister to the aging French king and thus plant an heir in France. Lucking into the position (unheard of for a woman) of court painter to the would-be bride, Susanna heads for France. Her husband, slain by a jealous sea captain, has left her in debt and in a curious kind of trouble: a band of suspicious strangers, in league with a demon (that's the supernatural part), believes she has a fragment of an ancient book whose secret information is of the utmost importance to the Church and the French royals. In France, Susanna finds herself under surveillance by Englishman Robert Ashton, secretary to King Henry's cunning and ruthless advisor, Archbishop Wolsey. Ashton, of course, falls in love with the winsome widow, and the two of them became enmeshed in the intrigues of the French court. Riley (The Oracle Glass) alternates between a third-person narrative and Susanna's voice, in which the heroine reflects on her life with appealing irreverence and horse sense. Riley's depiction of Susanna's genius for portraiture-Wolsey uses her revealing pictures of French nobles as intelligence briefs-is particularly inspired. Richly populated and lustfully told, this tale punches through the weight of its occasionally overwhelming historical detail with consistently vivid writing and a shrewd, modern irony. --from Publisher's Weekly
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140258809, Paperback)

When Henry VIII arranges a marriage between his sister and the aging French king, widowed painter Susanna Dallet joins the entourage of the princess-bride, unwittingly carrying a perilous secret that will embroil her in the dark intrigues of the French court. Reprint. K.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:57:43 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

A young woman painter is sent to France by King Henry VIII of England to spy on the French court while painting its members. Henry has ambitions on the French crown. The painter is Susanna Dallet, a widow, and as she paints portraits she describes the character of her subjects for the reader. In due course she becomes embroiled in political intrigue and a romance. By the author of The Oracle Glass.… (more)

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