The Dark Queen, by Susan Carroll, is a wonderful historical fiction/romance with a bit of magic thrown in. The story centers on Ariane, the Lady of Faire Isle, and her two sisters. They descend from a renowned line of wise women who use their magic for good only. At the same time that Ariane is being pursued for marriage by the comte de Renard, the sisters become involved in events that require them to fight against the dark magic of the Dark Queen, Catherine de Medici. I enjoyed the way in which the women call themselves healers, not witches, but are feared by the ignorant and must survive the attacks of witch-hunters, and the way in which Ariane refuses to marry until she reaches a point where she can do so without giving up her power or independence. I also loved one of the main skills the wise women have, that of “reading eyes” – being able to see inside someone’s mind through their eyes.
Overall, The Dark Queen is very well-written and engaging. I chose it to read during my holiday travel and it was perfect for that – it completely drew me in and I hardly noticed the time pass on the plane. I am thrilled to have discovered a new author – Carroll has written several other books, including two sequels to this one. If you like this genre, I highly recommend The Dark Queen!