A sweeping tale of ambition, treachery, and passion incorporating historical figures and events.
For generations Lady Diana de Vere's family loyally served England's crown. But after King Charles II's untimely death, her father firmly opposes James II's tyranny. Charles Beauclerk, Duke of St. Albans-the late king's bastard son by actress Nell Gwyn-also rebels against his newly crowned uncle's manipulation. Secretly pledging to wed Diana, he departs for the Continent to become a soldier.
Political and religious turmoil bring about revolution and yet another coronation before Charles returns to claim his promised bride. As companion to Queen Mary Stuart, Diana has followed her de Vere forbears into royal service. She expects Charles to abandon his military career after marriage, but he proves unwilling to join the ranks of the courtiers he despises and mistrusts.
In palace corridors and within their own household the young duke and duchess confront betrayals, scandals, and tragedies that threaten to divide them. And neither the privileges of birth nor proximity to the throne can ensure their security, their advancement-or their happiness.
About the Author: Margaret Porter is an award-winning, bestselling novelist whose lifelong study of British history inspires her fiction and her travels. A former stage actress, she has also worked in film, television, and radio.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.92(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Power and its consequent manipulations, betrayals, immoralities, favors, and dysfunction are characteristic of 17th Century England under the reign of King Charles II, King James, King William III and his Queen Mary, and King George III. But Lady Diana de Vere is an anomaly in the middle of the turmoil that ensues from royal chaos and those who vie for favored status. Diana and her husband Charles share a common background; their fathers sired many children out of marriage and the status of “bastard” has innumerable consequences that are hard indeed to survive. Financial worries are ever-present as well. But Diana and Charles are made of feisty stuff and their love endures no matter what ever-changing circumstances surround them. To begin with Charles knows he must become a soldier in order to make enough money to hold any higher status and connection to the royal family. Fortunately for him, the arrangement he makes with Diana’s father will become reality, a fact Diana will not discover for years. Diana lives through the trauma of King Charles II’s demise and wonders how the absolute tyranny of King James will end. Political parties connected with Parliament abound and as those parties change so do those in royal favor. Some become so powerful that their demands supersede those of the kings and queens they serve – amazing! War with France is on and off throughout most of this novel and Charles conducts himself so favorably that he attracts the attention and favor of King William III and his Queen, Mary, becomes very fond of the companionship of Diana. That bond will be broken but justice will eventually be served as Lady Diana remains a woman of practical skills and impeccably moral character. Joys and tragedies fill the years of Charles and Diana’s marriage and these scenes are delightfully depicted in a vivacious style by this obviously skilled author, Margaret Porter. She quite clearly knows how to balance plot and character development and present 17th Century English royalty and service in a dynamic and enchanting manner. Fine, fine historical fiction that this reviewer highly recommends!
A Pledge of Better Times by Margaret Porter was able to take me to a time in history that I have rarely travelled before. There have been a couple books that I have read where King Charles was mentioned, mostly the books were about his mistress Nell Gywn, Barbara Palmer, and Louise de Kerouaille ( who was not well-liked by the people of England). He was always part of the books about his mistresses of course, but the main part would be about their lives, and their drama and competiveness with the other mistresses who also ruled a large part of his life. This novel gives the readers an idea of who he is and how he interacted with his multiple children by his mistresses, although it’s short, because he dies shortly into the book, but it’s enough to get an idea of possibly what he was like, and how he treated his sons. The reader also is able to see and in depth portrayal of the succession of King Charles II’s brother, King James II, and then his daughter, who ended up marrying Prince William of Orange. The author did a great job researching this novel and putting it together in a well thought out manner. It definitely is obvious that a lot of time was put into researching and writing this book. My only issues are that I often was confused with the wealth of different names that were used in the book. Some characters were called by more than one name, and it took me a little while to even figure that out, so by the time I realized that one character was being called two different things in the book, I had lost some of the information or meaning. Also, while it was a well written book, and I do believe that fans of historical fiction, especially fans of England’s historical fiction, will enjoy this book, it is a little dry at times. I liked it well enough, but to be honest, there are other books on my list that I would rather be reading. I would give this novel a FOUR out of FIVE stars.
A Pledge of Better Times offers a wealth of passion and intrigue surrounded by the history of the 17th and 18th centuries. Diana is a complex heroine who lures the reader into her fascinating world, refusing to relinquish her hold. Margaret Porter weaves history and imagination together with such ease, the reader is able to follow the story through the years, almost without realizing it you've been swept away. There is so much to this book--such great detail--and I highly recommend it to fans of historical fiction.