Kindred

"A Murderous Procession"

by Ariana Franklin

Arlene Almas: This is the latest installment in the "Mistress of the Art of Death" series, historical romances featuring Adelia Aguilar, a woman doctor from Palermo now living in England. It's best to start with the first book, "Mistress of the Art of Death," but to quickly fill in the back story, women doctors are unknown outside of Palermo, and Adelia would be considered a witch if she didn't disguise her knowledge by pretending to be the assistant to "Dr." Mansur, an Arab eunuch who has been her companion and protector since childhood. She and her lover, Rowley, have a daughter, Allie, but they can't marry because he is the Bishop of St. Albans and is supposed to be celibate. Adelia has solved several mysteries for King Henry II of England and he has great admiration for her courage and medical expertise, so when his young daughter is to travel to Sicily to marry King William, Henry assigns Adelia and Mansur to accompany her and guard her health. This adventure takes Adelia out of England and into France (the journey is overland), and, as always, there is danger at every bend in the road and an evil villain (left over from the last book) following Adelia and her companions on this journey. Adelia is a feisty heroine: smart, independent, loyal, compassionate - where should I stop? - and the writing is smooth and fun to read as it draws you along. If this is your cup of tea, I recommend the series to you.
Rating: ****

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