This author is one of the few that doesn't have a website, this is the publishing house http://www.randomhouse.com/author/results.pperl?authorid=4374
Yes, this is a book in a series called "Cheney of Faire Isle". In fact this is the 5th book and should be the last, however, I'm thinking there were some unresolved problems with Meg (a thirteen year old secondary character) so, maybe we will return to the Faire Isle.
Even though this book is about the Cheney sisters, I would really nickname it The Dark Queen saga. In this case the dark queen is Catherine De Medici. Catherine De Medici was one of the most interesting historical personages around (my opinion), she was a contemporary of Elizabeth I, when she was young her family was overthrown and she was almost murdered, she was married at the age of 14 to the Francis II of France. Francis will never get any award for being a wonderful husband, he flaunted his mistresses in front of Catherine, going so far as to hold one on his lap while he fondled her breast and doing so in front of Catherine. During his reign, Catherine was excluded from any kind of political control. If half of the rumors of Catherine are true, this was probably a good thing. Remember, she was a De Medici, so, she was very well versed in the art of political intrigue. She really gave birth to some awful children, three of her sons sat on the throne, she is rumored to have poisoned a number of people, she had a group of women called the "flying squadron" (sex in exchange for information type of women), her court was filled with intrigue and corruption and she is said to be responsible for the St. Bartholomew massacre of the Huguenots, although some historians disagree. She consulted with Nostradamus and was said to dabble in the Black Arts. Really an amazing person and she was real! Which leads us to the books.
This book, Twilight of the Queen is what I would call an historical fiction book with a touch of magic and a touch of romance. The romance in this one is between Lady Jane Danvers who has taken refuge on the Faire Isle and Xavier, the half brother of the Cheney sisters. I can't say too much about the plot, because it would really take too long. Let's just say that Catherine wants something and it is on the Faire Isle and she tries to use Xavier to get it.
Susan Carroll does a great job of blending historical fact with fiction, and her take on Catherine De Medici is very interesting. In fact, all five of these books are filled with wonderful historical things. This is a stand alone book, however, I really think that all books should be read, just so you can experience a very very interesting time in the history of France. This is a great series!
Also, even though I would say that this book is classified as historical fiction it has one of the greatest romantic last sentences that I've read in a long time.
Other books in the series: The Dark Queen (Ariane story), The Courtesan (Gabrelle's story), The Silver Rose (Miri's story) and The Huntress (Catroina's story). And, if you want to see a really great costume movie about Catherine DeMedici, check out the French film Queen Margot. It's full of great costumes, and even though it may twist some of the facts (what movie doesn't?), it is really quite a breath-taking film. And it has some of my favorite ugly-sexy actors in it.
Time period: Late Renaissance
Place: France and Faire Isle
Sensuality rating: Warm