During last minute preparations for seventeen-year-old Mary Boynton's wedding, the plague arrives in London and the country is plunged into unimaginable chaos. The Boyntons flee to their Norfolk estate, but soon a relative with close connections to Charles II's court offers Mary the opportunity to join Queen Catherine's entourage. Mary quickly gains the admiration of both the king and his lonely wife, but it is not long before Mary's innocence is challenged by the attentions of the glamorous Duke d'Almanda, who helps save the Boynton family home from the Great Fire of London. It is only when her love affair with the Duke goes mysteriously awry that Mary shows her true strength. Far from the pampered child she once was, Mary now negotiates a maze of intrigue and influence, love and lust, to become a key player in the royal network of spies and intelligence agents. Although her success arouses the jealousy of the King's mistress, Mary has come too far, lost too much, not to find happiness in the end...
Vanessa Hannam worked for many years as a journalist, contributing to numerous publications including The Sunday Telegraph, the Observer and Harpers and Queen, before she started writing novels and film scripts in 1995. She lives with her husband John on the Isle of Wight and in London. She has three married daughters and a son who is a musician.
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