FACE DOWN ACROSS THE WESTERN SEA
St. Martin's, April 2002, 22.95, 240 pp.
Sir Walter Pendennis is at Priory House in Cornwall on a mission for the queen. With him is Susanna, Lady Appleton, the woman who turned down his marriage proposals well as a host of England's best scholars. Their job is to find England's claim, if any, to the New World and a faster waterway to the Asian Markets. Susanna is glad to find something worthwhile to occupy her time since her lover Nick Baldwin, a member of the Merchant's Adventures, is in Hamburg to advance England's cause in that port.
When one of the scholars explains to Susanna that one of the documents is missing, she intends to help him look for it. She is distracted from her mission when Sir Walter's estranged wife arrives on the scene causing emotional turmoil. In the meantime, the scholar who lost the document has been killed and Sir Walter and Susanna must find out who did it since England's interests are involved in the matter. When a second scholar disappears and is presumed dead, Susanna is determined to find out what is going on.
Every Susanna, Lady Appleton novel is a joy to read. In an era when a powerful queen ruled England, a widowed noblewoman has much power, especially if she has enough money to back up her desires. Susanna is a person of sterling character who wants to make the world a better place. That is why readers love her and the plot of her latest tale, FACE DOWN ACROSS THE WESTERN SEA, enhances her desire to leave a positive mark while also enhancing the reputation of author Kathy Lynn Emerson
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner