Bantam, Feb 2003, 421 pp.
In 1554, Queen Mary openly displays her disdain towards Lady Pippa Nielson for the latter voluntarily staying in the Tower with Elizabeth. Since the half sister Princess has been freed Pippa is back with her spouse of seven months, Stuart, but wonders why he only makes love to her when she sleeps. She also questions why he has become so especially enamored towards the Spaniards, attending Mary's new husband, Phillip. Worse she is attracted to Phillip's English advisor Lionel Ashton.
Stuart takes full culpability for the mess he has caused for himself and Pippa, who he loves in a brotherly manner. He wonders if suicide would free her of the fiasco for he cannot think of any other means of escaping the blackmail of Simon Renard who knows that Stuart is gay. As Simon and Lionel manipulate Stuart, Pippa is also caught in a web of deception that has ramifications involving two thrones. Yet Lionel and Pippa cannot resist an affair of the heart that could only end disastrously without royal intervention, but regal impediment could also prove calamitous.
KISSED BY SHADOWS is an exciting sixteenth century romance that focuses on the intrigue of Queen Mary's court and its impact on innocent dupes. Pippa is courageous showing her loyalty that makes her a victim of royal contempt. Lionel is more complex so subsequently adds depth to the plotting. Stuart is an intriguing individual whose anguish will gain him empathy from the audience. Though the machinations slowly surface, Jane Feather insures her audience knows what motivates the key cast members. Once the novel attains full acceleration it never slows down until the climax.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner