It has been a long while since my last post because I had a little problem getting to Mexico this year. But here is the result of the reading I did along the way.
The focus of A Pledge of Better Times by Margaret Porter is the relationship between Charles Beauclerk, an illegitimate son of Charles II and his most famous mistress, Nell Gwynne, and Lady Diana de Vere, daughter of the Earl of Oxford, last of the ancient line of de Veres. However, the book has a wider sweep than that. It is populated by real historical figures, William and Mary, Queen Anne, Sarah Churchill, the tragic Duke of Monmouth and others.
Through the eyes of Charles and Diana, we see England’s growing disillusion with the Catholic James II and preference for the foreign but staunchly protestant William of Orange and his wife Mary, daughter of James II. We also experience Mary’s tender and poignant love for her warlike husband. So two love stories, with all their joys and tribulations in one book.
The characters are presented with finesse and the author draws us with impressive ease into lives replete with palace intrigue, scandal, thwarted ambition and tragedy.
I haven’t read anything of this period before and it was a pleasure to be introduced to it by this fine book. (Note to self: broaden your tastes, woman!)
I’m also grateful to the author for not using reams of (virtual) paper on descriptions of fashion. For me, it’s a case of less is better. What didn’t I like? Ms Porter’s editor let her down on several occasions. Such a fine writer deserves better.
***** Highly recommended