Celia is a breathlessly paced story full of deception, desire, despair, and decolletage. It is set in England in the early 17th century. A young King Charles I, recently and unreadily thrust onto the throne is compelled into a political marriage with Princess Henrietta Maria of France.
The King would rather not and the new Queen is greeted unkindly due to her Catholic faith in a time when England had only very recently overthrown the Pope and was a leader in the Protestant Reformation. Thus a political tension creates a backdrop where a poet becomes a sensation and leads all the wrong people to fall for all the wrong people in a hilarious merry-go-round of courtiers and commoners, royals and parliamentarians.
While the author does play a bit loose with the history, what is historical fiction if not a re-imagining of history from a new perspective? The changes she makes push the story along at furious speed and add much of the humor and tone, in my opinion, enhancing the tale that is told.
I especially like the way the story turns at the end, at how the author reveals some truths and adds one last deception to finish at a satisfying conclusion where each player gets what they have earned or deserve.
I fully recommend Redding Walters fantastic second novel, Celia!
Available on Amazon for paperback and Kindle. For more on Redding and her earlier novel, Even Seahorses are Free, see our Profile.
Me as a critic (be careful! the harshness will be well concealed!)