From Publishers Weekly
Ten years after Koen introduced heroine Barbara Devane in her bestselling debut novel, Through a Glass Darkly, she brings back the strong-willed young woman to face further challenges among the baroque world of the European and colonial American nobility of the early 18th century. The settling of America and the courtly intrigues of the Jacobite rebellion in England serve as both backdrop and parallel for Lady Devane's path toward her own independence as an aristocrat and as a woman. Having been widowed at age 20, she has embarked for colonial Virginia, determined to develop a plantation there. Spunky and headstrong, she bristles when she is patronizingly described by one of her many admirers as a "fragile black butterfly"; anything but fragile, she takes lovers across political divides and frees her slaves against all advice. These flamboyant gestures often seem shallow, however, and Lady Devane's dismay at the treatment of the slaves in the New World characteristically seems more picturesque than humane. Koen doesn't hesitate to make her heroine less perfect than conventional characters of this genre; Lady Devane comments in a rare moment of self-reflection that her pity for her favorite servant never led her to seriously consider his feelings. A pervasive tone of gentility grounds the novel in its period, and Koen's smooth prose and nicely integrated background details make this a superior historical romance.