Title: The Lady of Secrets
Author: Susan Carroll
Series: The Dark Queen Saga, book 6
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Source: Review copy from publisher
“Queen Catherine de Medici is dead, and for Meg Wolfe—successor in a line of legendary healers and mystics known as “daughters of the earth”—it is a time of new beginnings. She strives to be ordinary, invisible in the mists of Faire Isle, and is determined to put the terrifying days of a wicked mother and turbulent childhood behind her. But soon a summons from King James will rekindle a menacing power from the past, bringing haunting visions of a nightmare already unfolding—and a shattering mystery steeped in magic that will determine a destiny from which she cannot hide. Meg’s task: Save the king from the most insidious form of treachery, invisible to those who do not possess Meg’s extraordinary gifts. But as Meg discovers, there are more sinister motivations at play in the king’s world. Torn between two very different men whose motives and secrets are tied inexorably to her own fate, Meg learns that she can no longer trust anyone or anything—not even her own heart.”
The Lady of Secrets is the sixth book in The Dark Queen Saga by Susan Carroll.
Let me start by saying that when I read this book I didn’t know it was part of a series, I didn’t even learn it until after I finished reading the book. I didn’t feel lost or felt I was missing something, I can say that The Lady of Secrets can be read as a stand-alone without a problem.
Margaret (Meg) Wolfe also known as the Lady of Faire Isle (France) is a healer and a wise woman, something very dangerous to be in the 1600s, when hundreds of women found their fates burning at the stake after being accused of witch crafting. This doesn’t deter Meg, she knows the risks but she also knows she has a gift and uses it to help people.
After been asked to help a girl who has allegedly been cursed and now is possessed Meg leaves the safety of her island to come inland, she travels with her friend Seraphine who cares deeply for her and doesn’t like Meg’s plans because it puts her in risk.
After discovering and revealing the real cause of the “possession” two English men approach Meg, Sir Patrick and his friend doctor Armagil Blackwood were sent by King James to look for her and bring her back to England. Years back, a witch cursed King James while she was burning at the stake and now he thinks the curse is taking effect and wants Meg to lift it before it’s too late.
After hearing what Sir Patrick has to say Meg realizes that there is more to this so-called curse, she fears it has to do with her mom and her followers, Meg’s mother was a famous witch who dealt with the black arts when she was alive.
Seraphine tries to stop her but Meg has made her mind and travels with Sir Patrick, Doctor Blackwood and Seraphine to England where her past and future are waiting for her.
Meg is a likeable character; she only wants the best for others and doesn’t care about risking her life to help whoever needs her. Her past is something that follows her wherever she goes and day after day she tries to prove to herself that she’s not evil as her mother was. Her behavior felt a bit naïve at times but I think it was normal according to the time.
Sir Patrick is a very cold character, it was difficult to like him or identify with him because of this coldness. We learned the reason about his behavior at the end, still it didn’t help me to like him or accept his actions.
Doctor Blackwood is a torture hero, he has a past that doesn’t let him be happy or have a moment of peace, he finds solitude in alcohol, but despite this he helps those in need and is more honest than Sir Patrick about his real motives.
I really liked Seraphine, she is a good friend and a woman with a lot of pain inside of her. She shows a strong façade but in the few moments she drops her guard it was easy to see the pain behind her act. I really liked how things ended for her; it was almost the highlight of the book for me.
Even though I liked The Lady of Secrets and enjoyed reading it it left me feeling like there was something missing, I’ve been trying to pinpoint what was it, but to be honest I’m not sure. The story was entertaining and I liked how Mrs. Carroll combined fantasy with the reality of the times. The plot was engaging and I really liked the twist at the end, but I think I wanted more. The characters are interesting enough but as I said there was something missing. I don’t know if I would have read previous books in the series I would have liked The Lady of Secrets better, that’s something I would never know.
The Lady of Secrets was my first book by Susan Carroll but I’m sure it won’t be my last. I’m planning to check some of the previous book on this series.
My Verdict: 3 Paws
Other books in the series
The Dark Queen
The Silver Rose
Twilight of a Queen
The Lady of Secrets
Other reviews Goodreads