THE HEDGEWITCH QUEEN by Lilith Saintcrow
Available now (Dec. 2011)
Review copy purchased
Vianne di Rocancheil is a lady waiting at the Court of Arquitaine, where she studies her books, watches for intrigue, and shepherds her foolhardy Princesse through the glittering whirl. Court is a sometimes-unpleasant waltz, especially for the unwary, but Vianne treads its measured steps well.
Unfortunately, the dance has changed. Treachery is afoot in gilded and velvet halls. A sorcerous conspiracy is unleashed, with blood, death, and warfare close behind. Vianne must flee, carrying the Great Seal of Arquitaine with her. This is the one thing the conspirators need to rule, and they won’t rest until they have it. A life of dances, intrigues, and fashion has not prepared Vianne for this. Nor has it prepared her for Tristan d’Arcenne, Captain of the King’s Guard and player in the most dangerous games conspiracy can devise. Yet to save her country and avenge her Princesse, Vianne will become what she must and do whatever is required.
A Queen can do no less.
Because I am a massive Lilith Saintcrow fangirl, I just had to read her newest release, THE HEDGEWITCH QUEEN, a book that’s a huge departure from her usual fare. A good, old fashioned adventure, this story takes place in a world that reminds me of France, with a King, a princess, and their court (who are killed off rather quickly in a court coup–oops). The main character, Vianne, a noble-born orphan who gets entangled in circumstances far beyond her control, winds up as the bearer of the Great Seal of Arquitaine and, since the Seal accepts her as its bearer, the new Queen of the realm.
Vianne, a hedgewitch who can do small magics, would rather be mucking about in the garden than gossiping with the other ladies at court, plays the role of overly-helpless damsel in distress extremely well. She has no real idea of how to take care of herself, especially once she’s forced to flee the castle on horseback in the company of the handsome and (of course) very rakish Tristan, captain of the King’s Guards. Tristan himself is a bit of an enigma–is he truly a good guy or is he a bad boy playing the role of the gallant knight? Though Vianne finds herself falling for him, the more she finds out, the more she questions his motives and character.
While I did get a bit annoyed with Vianne’s helplessness at times, I really enjoyed this fairy tale-like story. Still, I wish I’d waited for THE BANDIT KING (out in June 2012) and read both stories together, as there’s a cliffhanger at the end of THE HEDGEWITCH QUEEN.
Available on Amazon
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