Dark Angels
Karleen Koen

Crown Publishers, 2006. ISBN 0307339912.
Reviewed by Trilla Pando
Posted on 09/14/2006

Fiction: Historical

Faraway and long-ago places—I love them, always have. I especially like reading tales from history, particularly if the history is good and the story is riveting. No wonder I enjoyed every one of the exciting scenes, every one of the 530 pages of Story Circle Network member Karleen Koen's new book, Dark Angels. It is a treat indeed.

Don't be put off if your grasp of Restoration English history is a bit loose; Karleen provides an author's note at the beginning that gives all the information you need to enjoy the book. On the other hand, if you are a history buff and this is your period, you will not be disappointed. This book is so thoroughly researched that you will be not only awed but probably will learn something new as well!

If history is secondary to your quest for adventure and romance, you are in the right place as well.

Young Alice Verney grew up in the entourage of the exiled King Charles II. When the king regains his throne, Alice and her wily, scheming father become part of thrilling and intrigue-filled court life. Then King Charles II's sister, Princess Henrietta, marries Louis XIV's brother, and Alice goes along to France in the cortege.

After a rich look into that exotic and dangerous French setting, we accompany Alice back to England, where she becomes a lady-in-waiting to the queen. Alice is in the thick of things, loving (and taking advantage of) every moment.

No shrinking violet is our Alice. Not only does she savor being where things happen, she enjoys—no, she relishes—making them happen... To herself, to her friends, to her enemies (especially her enemies), even to England and to the king!

I'm not going recount her adventures. You need to grab this book and find out for yourself. What a good time you have in store. Many will close the book and say, "What happens to Alice? It can't end here! I want more."

We're in luck. If you are new to Karleen's writing, then good news—it doesn't end here. There is more, and you will be fascinated by Alice's later adventures. What a girl! If you've already read Karleen's earlier novel, Through a Glass Darkly, you know what happens to Alice. Dark Angels is its prequel. (It's been a while since that book came out, so you may want to go back and refresh your memory.)

Settle in for a good read with Dark Angels. Or listen if that's your style. You can also pick up an abridged audio version for your driving, gardening, and walking pleasure.

I'm delighted to add that you won't have trouble finding Dark Angels. Crown Publishers is giving it a big boost and making sure folks everywhere hear about it and can find it. I saw a good-sized stack at my Tallahassee bookstore. With all the books that come out in a year, not many get this effort from the publisher. What an honor for a Story Circle member.

Speaking of Story Circle, check out the acknowledgments. Karleen knows it helps to have other writers' support. She thanks her writing group members, her pod, Joyce Boatright and Sandi Stromberg. They are both Story Circle members and members of the Houston Free Range Circle. Way to go!

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