Bantam, Jan 2001, 19.95, 364 pp.
By 1537, King Henry learns that eight and twenty years old Lady Guinevere Mallory has been a widow four times, an excessive amount of husbands buried. However, what concerns His Highness is the legal marriage contracts have made her the prime owner of most of the wealth in the Derbyshire area. Wondering if he has a black widow among his aristocracy and worried that one person owns so much property, the monarch assigns Hugh of Beauclaire to investigate. Hugh informs King Henry that he has a personal interest in a piece of property that Mallory owns which he claims should be his.
When Hugh meets Guinevere, he is stunned by her beauty and even more shocked by how brilliant the woman is. Worse to Hugh in spite of his belief she is a deadly killer; he is very attracted to the woman. Guinevere tries to protect her own heart because she knows Hugh wants to hand her head over to Henry. As the duo fight the growing love between them, their mistrust of one another grows proportionally.
WIDOW'S KISS is a wonderful historical romance that succeeds because the characters seem genuine. The lead protagonists provide conflict, as neither trusts the love that is emanating from the other. Guinevere's daughters add a young energy that makes life even more complex and difficult for Hugh. The King and his key advisor provide a historical point of reference as well as added intrigue, tension, and mistrust. Although the climax is featherweight, sub-genre fans will relish this fabulous novel that proves Jane Feather is a heavyweight author.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner