Carly Thompson

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The Schoolmaster's Daughter

Despite the inclusion of famous historic figures and several of the major battles of the American Revolution, Smolens's plot and characters remain uninvolving. A tepid love triangle among Abigail, a British colonel, and a young American doctor adds little to the story and ends abruptly. Readers are advised to look elsewhere.

Reign of Madness

Cullen's second historical novel (after The Creation of Eve) is a sweeping study of political intrigue. But an equal focus on character development and plot makes for a satisfying blend of romance, family drama, and royal machinations. While not as well known to American readers as her mother, Queen Isabella, or her son, Charles V, Juana is a sympathetic heroine, and lovers of historical fiction will enjoy her story. [For another take on Juana, consider C.W. Gortner's The Last Queen.—Ed.]

Deliverance from Evil

Fans of plot-driven suspense may enjoy this novel, but those interested in a more nuanced and descriptive look at the Salem Witch Trials should try Kathleen Kent's The Heretic's Daughter.

The Philosopher's Kiss

While the historical information is unobtrusive and enhances the story, the two-dimensional characters and unbelievable coincidences detract. Only devoted fans of romantic historical fiction and Francophiles will find this title of interest.

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