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    Review of THE KING'S MISTRESS by Sandy Blair

    Samhaim, July 2011

    Scotland's King Alexander has one essential job. He's got to produce an heir and his French wife fully intends to be the mother. Unfortunately for the King's guard, Britt MacKinnon and for all of Scotland, Alexander has decided to recall one of his mistresses and Britt is sent to bring her back. It isn't a job he relishes and he plans on taking his time... who knows, maybe the King will do his duty while he's gone.

    Genny Armstrong knows exactly what will happen to her twin sister, Greer, if the court ever discovers that she's pregnant with the King's bastard child... she'll be the center of intrigue and unlikely to survive. While Genny doesn't approve of her sister's falling in love with a married king, she has no intention of allowing her to be murdered by the court. The solution seems obvious. Genny will play the part, show up at the court and prove that she isn't pregnant, then head to Ireland to join her twin. She wants to get to Edinburgh quickly... she's not sure she could remain undetected if she stayed a full month in the court. Most of all, she has no intention of falling for someone like Britt MacKinnon.

    Rumors of Greer's pregnancy have reached the Queen, who hates her competition and hates the idea that anyone but she might bear the future King of Scotland. Her assassins force Genny and Britt to work together to stay alive. When the king dies in an apparent accident, though, danger only escalates as the Queen, and her claim of a coming child, is now the most powerful person in Scotland.

    Author Sandy Blair (see more reviews of romance by Blair) writes an emotionally involving historical adventure set in the popular world of medieval Scotland. Blair gradually escalates the stakes for the characters, letting us see that Genny's concerns are only symptoms of her greater fears--fears that Britt embodies. I would have liked to see a more integrated resolution of Britt's external issues with his father and family, but Blair did an excellent job showing Genny's dilemma, with her inability either to walk away from Britt or to accept him fully.

    Both Britt and Genny are strong characters facing problems that are partially external, but that also flow from their fundamental characters. As a reader, it's easy to get involved in their lives, care about them, and hope that they'll be able to work through their issues. Blair's strong writing increases reader buy-in to this world. Even though Queen Yolande, the cause of so much trouble for Britt and Genny, is motivated and sympathetic. Fans of Scotish historical romance will definitely want to add this one to their to-read lists.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 8/18/11

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