The Pleasures of Love
The Pleasures of Love is the ninth in the Queens of England series. Catherine of Braganza left her home in Portugal to come to the notoriously licentious court of England to marry the newly restored King, Charles II. Before she left her home, Catherine had rarely been outside the walls of the palaces or the convent where she was educated; she had dreamed of a legendary prince who had been exiled from his court after his father's execution. Charles seemed all that she had thought him to be and she was deeply in love with him. Then came realization, when she was brought abruptly face to face with the true state of affairs and shattered and bewildered she was overcome by despair. She was surrounded by enemies. There were the women - Barbara, Lady Castlemaine, bold, brash and beautiful; the even more beautiful but simple minded Frances Stuart; sly, clever and fascinating Louise de Keroualle; the merry playactress Nell Gwynne - and others. These were her rivals, but she had more deadly enemies - the most malevolent of them the venomous, vile and highly dangerous Titus Oates, who sought to destroy her and brought her under the shadow of the axe. The Duke of York, who became James II, the ambitious Monmouth, Clarendon, Ann Hyde and her daughters Mary and Anne - they all had their part to play in Catherine's life. This is essentially a story of love that prevailed through disillusion and despair to triumph in the end. It is set in the court of one of the most fascinating Kings of England - charming, witty, immoral - pursuing a life of pleasure while he kept a shrewd eye on the affairs of his kingdom. He dominated the court - and Catherine - so that in spite of humiliation neglect and frequent despair, she was ready to accept all for the pleasures of love.