A secret love affair like no other…
As a child living in exile in France, Frances Stuart was accustomed to threadbare dresses and going hungry.
Yet everything changed when her cousin Charles arrives to visit and Frances’ world is turned upside down.
The Restoration of the monarchy quickly raises Charles II far higher than anything Frances ever dreamed of.
Several years later, Frances arrives in Court to attend to Charles’ wife, Queen Catherine, as a lady-in-waiting and once again, her path collides with the man who is now King.
At sixteen, she is already renowned for her beauty and vivaciousness and Charles cannot help but take notice of Frances.
The King rapidly becomes obsessed with her, and it is not long before whispers begin to circulate that Frances has supplanted the famous Barbara Castlemaine as mistress to the monarch.
So strong is her power that gossip suggests were the Queen to die, Frances would almost certainly take her place.
Aware of the King’s interest, and knowing that to offend Charles would be to put her out of favour at Court, Frances plays a dangerous game of flirtation – keeping her man close whilst also maintaining a safe distance.
But it’s not long before Charles begins to grow impatient and Frances soon finds herself rapidly running out of ways to keep him at bay.
The arrival of the young Duke of Lennox and Richmond at Court unexpectedly presents Frances with a way of escaping the corner into which she has backed herself.
To do so threatens her position as the King’s favourite and risks incurring his rage, but surely such a risk is worth it for the man she loves…
Born in 1891, Margaret Campbell Barnes was educated in Paris and London and married in 1917. The majority of her books were written between the 1940s and 1960s, during which time she established herself as one of the most popular historical novelists in Great Britain and America. She is the author of Isabel the Fair and With All My Heart.