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Dark Angels (Tamworth Saga #1)

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  3,524 Ratings  ·  302 Reviews
Alice Verney is a young woman intent on achieving her dreams. Having left Restoration England in the midst of a messy scandal, she has been living in Louis XIV’s Baroque, mannered France for two years. Now she is returning home to England and anxious to re-establish herself quickly. First, she will regain her former position as a maid of honor to Charles II’s queen. Then s ...more
ebook, 544 pages
Published September 5th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published 2006)
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Sandi Randelle I would suggest reading Dark Angels first, as it is technically the first book in the series, even though Through a Glass Darkly was published first.…moreI would suggest reading Dark Angels first, as it is technically the first book in the series, even though Through a Glass Darkly was published first. If you read those two out of order, however, the only real spoiler is that you already know who Alice Verney ends up marrying. I loved these books, hope you do too. Happy Reading!(less)
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Community Reviews

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I love this book. I can't say enough about it. I've read it and re-read it and will continue to go back to it. The supporting characters that are based on real historical figures were well researched and their stories (Charles II, Madame) are a pleasing mix of historical fact and fictional intrigue.

The main character, Alice Verney, isn't the most likeable person in the beginning. She can be petty, vindictive and scheming but as the book continues and her history is revealed you begin to underst
This is the prequel to Through a Glass Darkly, where Alice is the formidable Duchess of Tamworth, glorious matriarchal grandmother of that book’s heroine. Dark Angels is the story of young Alice, and I expected it to be a similarly written riotous romp full of spirited characterisations, and charting the big romance between Alice and her beloved Richard.

It was nothing like that. Instead of being primarily about them, it centred more around the plottings and intrigues, both personal and political
Feb 03, 2008 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since it had been so long since the publication of "Now Face to Face," the sequel to "Through a Glass Darkly," I was operating under the dim reminiscences of books I read twenty years ago, which were favorable enough that I picked this one up with alacrity. Once I picked it up, I was trapped in it.

Here the main character is the architect of everything that happens in the other two books (to an extent): the woman who becomes the duchess of Tamworth, whose granddaughter Barbara is the focus of the
Jenny Brown
Sep 21, 2012 Jenny Brown rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book!

I had put off reading it because many of the negative reviews had made me think it would be a lesser book than Through a Glass Darkly and Now Face to Face. In fact, I thought it was a better book. But I'm coming to realize that there is a younger reader who doesn't seem to be able to get what the writers I most enjoy are doing with their stories. Maybe this is because they no longer value being able to sink into a whole new world and spend a week happily making their way throu
3.5 or 4 stars? I'm torn and still thinking about it.

I read this book when it first came out (rated it five at that time), but at that time I had not read Through a Glass Darkly, which Koen wrote long before this 'prequel'. In Dark Angels Alice is a young maid in waiting to the Charles' younger sister Minette, and then after her unexpected death (not a spoiler, that's historical fact) she goes to the household of Charles' neglected queen.

Oh well, there are enough reviews recapping the story. Th
Oct 19, 2012 HÜLYA rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Başlarda beni biraz sıktı çok fazla detay vardı ama okumayı bırakmadım.Ve iyi ki bırakmamışım muhteşem bir kitap saray entirkaları,kişisel hırsları,aşk ve tutkuyu saray halkının ahlaksızlığını her şeyi anlatıyor.Yazar olayları o kadar iyi kurgulamış ki elimden bırakamadım.17.Yüzyıl İngiltere'sini okumuyorsunuz resmen yaşıyorsunuz.Yazarın yakın takipçisi olacağım dan emin olabilirsiniz. Historical değil bu roman tam anlamıyla bir tarih romanı,sanki bir belgesel gibi. Romandaki kadın karakter olan ...more
Disappointing and one dimensional. Koen’s strengths are her ability to develop her characters and environment richly, both main characters and supporting characters, with a full load of politics too. In Tamworth #2 and #3, she writes in Outlander style, with multiple storylines richly built, causing you to feel deeply entrenched in her world. That was not the case in this book. It followed one story and did not develop supporting characters very much. It just wasn’t noteworthy as a complex and c ...more
Aug 08, 2015 Kara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-royal

I don’t know a lot about the time of Charles II, but going in fairly blank, it felt very real to see the back-door politics, the royal family squabbles, the tensions between France and England, Catholic and Protestant, rich and poor, town and country, etc.

The royal court also reminded me very much of a high school. Not much to do, not enough supervision, bored teenagers wandering around getting drunk, gossiping, playing pranks, trying to get together or break others up.

And at the center of this
Sep 14, 2009 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alice Verney, a maid of honor to Princess Henriette of France returns to England after her mistress's mysterious and horrible death, with the ambition to marry the elderly Duke of Balmoral. This ambition holds firm in spite of her attraction to Richard Saylor, an enterprising soldier who, while he appreciates Alice's wit and political savvy, is competing with the king himself for the affections of Renee DeKaroulle, a French beauty who cannot quite make up her mind whose affections she truly desi ...more
May 17, 2011 Hannah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Dark Angels by Karleen Koen
"She had stepped atop a huge coil of rope for this view, and a sailor, eyeing her statins and the single strand of fat pearls at her neck, had warned her to be careful, but she'd sent him off with a withering comment to mind his own business. She wasn't one to suffer fools--or even those who weren't fools--telling her what to do."
And with these lines we are introduced to Alice Verney (and with these lines I immediately loved her).Alice is a courtier in the court of Ki
Feb 23, 2008 JW rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: chick lit readers
Shelves: historical
The story of a young woman's scheming during the Restoration, I almost gave up on this one. I didn't really care about the heroine, I didn't like really any of the supporting characters and I just couldn't get into this book, which can only go into the category of "women's books". Which is just an adjective, not a judgment (c'mon, the protagonist is a women trying to get a rich husband and there's a lot of dress descriptions).

But I needed something to read at the gym and ended picking it up from
Welcome to the court of Charles II, hotbed of corruption, both political and moral. Enter Alice Verney, who aspires to a command a position of power within the court and seeks to attain her goal by marrying the aging Duke of Balmoral. Longstanding friendships are threatened by Alice's quest as well as her unequivocal need to control not only her own life but also the lives of those around her.

Alice is an unconventional heroine in the respect that she has always had money and been accustomed to
Feb 11, 2013 T rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up at a whim at the library with no knowledge of the book (Through a Glass Darkly) that it is a prequel to. Overall, my review is positive--I finished it in two days--for reasons to do with the plot and main character, but I do have some serious reservations about the writing itself.

The main character, Alice, is refreshingly ruthless and wily--a "born courtier," I think she's called. She's not one-dimensional, though; most of her ruthlessness is devoted to doing what she thinks is
Ana T.
Jan 22, 2011 Ana T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
This was my first read by Karleen Koen. A book set in Charles II's court sound interesting and full of intrigue and I decided to pick. I also have a biography of his Queen in my TBR pile and thought this could be an interesting first introduction to the period.

The main character is a young lady, Alice de Verney, a former lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine who followed Princess Henrietta to France on her wedding to Monsieur, the brother of the French King Louis XIV. The beginning of this novel se
Sep 16, 2010 Gaile rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The central character is Alice Verney. Alice is a manipulator. At the beginning of the book, she has lost her finance to a girl he got pregnant. Maid Of Honor to King Charles's sister, she returns to England when the princess dies and becomes Maid Of Honor to the queen Of England. Her she strongly disapproves of her friend's choices of finances. She decides on the aged Duke Of Balmoral for herself.
In the meantime, the Duke is managing a large spy network.
All around Alice, everyone falls in love
Sep 12, 2007 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans
This was a treat for me... it's a well crafted historical novel set in the reign of Charles II of England. And that has to be one of my favorite periods in English history. This is the prequel to Through a Glass Darkly Koen's earlier novel and the main character in this novel is the grandmother in the earlier novel. I reread Through a Glass Darkly after reading this novel and doing so definitely lent a new flavor to it. Dark Angels is set mostly in the court of Charles II, which is a court full ...more
Aug 25, 2016 Jacqueline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Dark Angels is a prequel to Karleen Koen’s historical fiction novel Through a Glass Darkly. It is 1670, ten years after the Restoration in England took place. Dark Angels is over 500 pages of secrets, plots, counterplots, counterplots to the counterplots, betrayals, false loyalty, extravagance, passion, heartache and, yes, even some regrets. This is a one line summarization of Dark Angels. There is a thread of romance that follows Alice throughout part of the book and I thought that was not well ...more
Teri Heyer
May 15, 2014 Teri Heyer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves historical fiction.
Karleen Koen's 'Dark Angels' is historical fiction at its best. I've read all four of this author's books and loved every one. Although the four can be read as stand-alones, the books, though not an actual series, are related. Here's the chronological order: Before Versailles, Dark Angels, Through a Glass Darkly and Now Face to Face. As so often happens, I read the books out of order. Two of them I read on my Kindle Fire and two I borrowed from the library. I'm anxiously looking forward to futur ...more
Sherry H
Huh. That's it, it's over?

I was impressed by the author's ability to make me cheer for a thoroughly unlikable protagonist. Selfish, manipulative, unforgiving, arrogant Alice was a rich character. Most of the other characters were believable, as well - their flaws, their inconsistencies were presented with clarity and gave them great depth. Richard, however, needed more development - his powerful feelings at the end of the novel came out of (almost) nowhere.

I enjoyed this book throughout... but
Aug 13, 2010 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first four-fifths of this book were great, and I felt that they really embedded me in the time. They gave a full, rounded sense of the social mores and machinations of the courts of the era.

Unfortunately, Koen essentially winds up what could be a tense thriller and then just lets all the pieces fall, rather than giving a thrilling climax. All of our main characters have things done to them rather than taking action, which is pretty dull. Also, there's one fairly important character in the no
Jul 15, 2015 Quirkyreader rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story wasn't as thrilling as the other parts of the series, but it did have its moments. To anyone who wishes to read the Tamworth Saga, "Dark Angel". should be read first to avoid spoilers. Granted "Dark Angel" was written many years after "Through A Glass Darkly", DA should still be read first.
Katie Rekowski
Story contained many characters and plots. In the end, the plots were unresolved. Was there a secret treaty? Did Buckingham's activities ever get discovered? Suddenly King charles & Queen Catherine disappeared from the story. Why did Barbara die? What was there a problem with the pregnancy? Why didn't the baby live? Why did all of Alice's efforts to put a baby in Barbara's arms not happen? Why did Onge get away with killing Richard's horse, The Duke and Walter? Why did no one suspect foul pl ...more
Apr 20, 2007 Joy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: more horny girls
Another Cracker Barrel pick. I'm reading another Koen book now - Through a Glass Darkly - that a friend recommended. They're both cute page turners with the occasional hearty sex scene.

So there you are, calmly driving through, let's say, Ohio looking at the cows, and the silos, the giant Jesus crosses scattered throughout the picturesque countryside and then - bam! - he takes her (who turns out to be him) from behind, pleasuring 'her' as he does so, and just as she's about to reach orgasm, pull
Bookish Darling
May 10, 2016 Bookish Darling rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a very nostalgic review—I have read it several times and I must confess that it is a very comforting read every time I open the pages and slip into Charles II’s and Louis XIV’s courts. This is a definitely a novel that you would want to set aside time for, because I read it in one sitting since the story refused to relinquish my attention until the very last pages.

One thing to note quickly though: this is a prequel to “THROUGH A GLASS DARKLY". However, I read this book first before the
Christine McIntosh
I picked this up at Goodwill, I think, and I'm glad I did. From my limited number of historical novels I've actually read, this one is probably my favorite. The focus is on the intrigues of court and the romance part is very slow and stuffed into the book ending. I liked that. A good story with a little bit of romance is my ideal balance.

Alice was a very realistic character. She was beautiful and clever like any lead character should be but she was also jealous, held long grudges, and had too m
Jane Bigelow
Dec 01, 2014 Jane Bigelow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The depth of detail is wonderful; the intricate plot is dazzling; the author made me care about a difficult, controlling woman, Alice Verney. Yet I dithered over whether to give it four stars or only three.

I gather I've come in at the wrong place, since this is a prequel to Through a Glass Darkly and Now Face to Face. Maybe some of what look like loose ends are dealt with in those two books. I hope so. In spite of the length of the book, the conclusion felt rushed. I do wonder what actually happ
Courtney LeBlanc
Jun 01, 2014 Courtney LeBlanc rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read another of Koen's books (Through a Glass Darkly) and really loved it. Other reviewers stated they were immediately hooked with this book but that wasn't the case for me - the main character, Alice, is not immediately likable - she's a bit snotty and arrogant. There's also some heavy-handed foreshadowing that feels a little overpowering and too much in your face. When Alice first gets off the boat (visiting England with the French queen she serves) she is startled by a handsome man's cl ...more
Alicia Utter
Rate: 5

Alice, a courtier, is trying to become successful in the court of Charles, recently back from exile. She watches her friends fall in love but tries to remain only political. A selfish, flawed character, she is hard about love and the realities of what others must do without the money she has, in order to succeed. In the end her conniving unravels, and she falls in love.

This book is a precursor Koen wrote to a much more successful book. I found it to be a story written out of leftover part
Feb 11, 2010 Gwen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am currently reading this and so far am enjoying it but I have noticed I am able to put it down ( or fall asleep )but still love getting back to it.
I had trouble with this book right from the start. I'm not familiar with the Stuart dynasty, and this is probably the first book I've really read about Charles II and his court so I didn't know a lot of 'real' characters. What makes it difficult was that they were referred to by their titles, and while normally I'm okay with this, I was interested in how these people were all related or where they stood within the noble families, etc., and I feel like there really wasn't an explanation as to whi ...more
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What happens to Richard and Alice after they get married? 2 15 Sep 12, 2012 04:33PM  
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My childhood was filled with glorious books, Little Women, Lad A Dog, Black Beauty, Little House on the Prairie, Caddie Woodlawn. They were as real to me as the life around me, a lower middle class one in a small oil refinery town in Texas. My grandfather, an invalid, was a huge fan of the writers Frank Slaughter, Frank Yerby, and Zane Grey. By the time I learned to read, I was sneaking his square ...more
More about Karleen Koen...

Other Books in the Series

Tamworth Saga (3 books)
  • Through a Glass Darkly (Tamworth Saga #2)
  • Now Face to Face (Tamworth Saga, #3)

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“I have this dream, she and I side by side in life, turning front to front in lovemaking, back to back in threat, protecting each other.” 6 likes
“What a shame. One loses so much when one can't forgive.” 0 likes
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