Shadows lengthened along the walls of the stone house in the countryside just beyond the suburbs of Paris. The place bore a gloom-ridden aspect and was shunned by its nearest neighbors. Monsieur Vachel Le Vis might be deemed a great and holy man, appointed by God to rid the world of witches, but even honest citizens dreaded to have his dark eye turn in their direction. Especially when he was in one of his black moods, as he had been ever since his return yesterday. ~ The Dark Queen, page 281 ~
She is Ariane, the Lady of Faire Isle, and one of the Cheney sisters, renowned for their mystical skills and for keeping the isle secure and prosperous. But this is a time when women of ability are deemed sorceresses, when Renaissance France is torn by ruthless political intrigues, and all are held in thrall to the sinister ambitions of Queen Catherine de Medici. Then a wounded stranger arrives on Faire Isle, bearing a secret the Dark Queen will do everything in her power to possess. The only person Airane can turn to is the comte de Renard, a nobleman with fiery determination and a past as mysterious as his own unusual gifts.
This is a new author to me so I didn't know what I'd be getting into reading this book. I originally bought The Silver Rose as I was attracted by the title and cover art so I had to back track to the beginning of the story with The Dark Queen, first in the Cheney Sisters trilogy. I found it be a pleasant mix of romance, intrigue, and magic - both white and black. While this book has an element of fantasy I found it to be much more of a love story. Not only Ariane and Renard's but Ariane's love for her sisters and her willingness to defy the Dark Queen for their safety. I was immediately drawn into their story. The need to protect themselves from evil and, possibly, the men who will be their destinies. I enjoyed the story line, historical setting and writing style of the author. I'm currently reading book 2 in this trilogy, The Courtesan.