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Dark Angels

(Tamworth Saga #1)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  4,158 ratings  ·  344 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
Paperback, 530 pages
Published May 29th 2007 by Three Rivers Press (first published September 5th 2006)
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Paula I feel the first book in the series is not the strongest, so I would definitely read it first. The remaining two are richer and more engrossing than…moreI feel the first book in the series is not the strongest, so I would definitely read it first. The remaining two are richer and more engrossing than the first. (less)

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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,158 ratings  ·  344 reviews

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Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jenny Brown
Sep 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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 rated it really liked it
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
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
As soon as I started questioning this book due to the unlikability of the main character, boom the dark elements started and kept up throughout. Very much enjoyed the dark elements, intrigue and sexiness of this book. Takes place in the court of Charles II and references Louis XIV and Monsieur.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it liked it
"It took one misstep for a woman, one, and she fell into the abyss. How does one live life with no missteps?"

While set in completely separate eras, Dark Angels evoked memories of Jennifer Donnelly's Tea Rose series, in the sense that they both are dense, historical reads that beg to be taken seriously, but somehow manage to have the theatricality of a soap opera. Which isn't a bad thing, really--I loved Donnelly's first novel in the series--but such a structure can go horribly awry very, very
Jul 28, 2015 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
Freesiab (Bookish Review)
3.5. I remember liking this series more the first time. It’s very accurate and well written but I think it’s a touch too long. If I recall the books after are better. This one is setting the stage. There is a lot of drama, intrigue and attention to detail that I really enjoyed. Still a very good read.
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 14, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jul 08, 2015 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.
Apr 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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 22, 2016 rated it liked it
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
Gilda Felt
Feb 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, even more than Through a Glass Darkly, which I’m now going to have to reread. I admit, I wasn’t paying close attention to Alice as the old woman she is in Darkly, since she’s not the main character there. I want to know everything about her. But here, Alice Verney is the main focus of the story, and a wonderful heroine. She’s loyal and courageous, and will do just about anything for those she loves. But she also has the inevitable flaws. Her pride often gets in the way, and sh ...more
Sep 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction/period piece geeks like me :)
i got this cause i enjoyed the author's other novel, "through a glass darkly" and this was a prequel of sorts to that. this book ALMOST had it. ALMOST! but then it went and pulled one of my pet peeves, which is a tacky ending. I started to get worried when a new plotline seemed to be starting and I could tell there were only about 10 pages left in the book :( it seems like a case of editor-itis, because there were all these wonderful plotlines that seemed to be going places but most of them just ...more
May 17, 2011 rated it liked it
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 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
Sep 07, 2007 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 13, 2010 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
Dark Angels is the prequel to Through a Glass Darkly and Now Face to Face, and was written after the first two. I don't know in which order the books were meant to be read, but I read Dark Angels last. Maybe this explains why I did not enjoy it nearly as much as I did the other two books. I already knew what happens to the main character, Alice, and therefore was not held in suspense as I expected to be. However, I'm the type of person who won't read a book if I've already seen the movie. . . . ...more
Apr 20, 2007 rated it liked it
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
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
Teri Heyer
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Elizabeth Caskey
Jun 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Every one
I love this book to itty bitty pieces. The writing is great. Koen does a fantastic job of creating characters, especially the heroine who has tons of flaws and yet you still end up rooting for her. And I've rarely been more satisfied with the ending of a book, this one is so great that I reread it constantly.
Feb 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
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.
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What happens to Richard and Alice after they get married? 2 19 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

Other books in the series

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