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About the Author

Diane Haeger is the author of four previous historical novels, including The Ruby Ring and My Dearest Cecilia. She lives in California with her husband and family.


Haeger's first novel offers a romanticized account of the relationship between King Henri II of France and his mistress, Diane de Poitiers. Invited back to court after several years' absence, the 31-year-old widow is unwilling to warm the bed of Henri's father, King Francois I. Yet Francois's powerful mistress, Anne d'Heilly, still schemes to drive Diane from court, and Diane finds an ally in Prince Henri (the king's second son), who is almost equally friendless. Although many years her junior, Henri is infatuated with the beautiful widow and devastated when the king, hoping to get his hands on a chunk of Italy, sells him in marriage to Catherine de Medici. After the marriage, Henri continues to pursue Diane, and, about the time of the Dauphin's death, she becomes his mistress and advisor, roles she fills until his death. By drawing her pictures in stark white (Diane's friends) and black (Diane's foes), Haeger diminishes her book's effect: power struggles and court intrigues can be truly portrayed only in shades of gray. Without this complexity, the only readers this book will satisfy are those who value sentiment over authenticity. (Mar.)

"Riveting . . . I guarantee you'll stay awake nights not being able to put this book down." --Affaire de Coeur

"Spectacular . . . The story of a remarkable woman and her clash with society . . . Lush in characterization and rich in historical detail." --Romantic Times

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