Francisca de Luarca, the daughter of a poor Spanish silk grower, is a dreamer of fabulous dreams. Marie Louise de Bourbon, the niece of Louis XIV, dances in slippers of fine Spanish silk in the French Court of the Sun King and imagines her own enchanted future. Born on the same day--in an age when superstition, repression, and the Inquisition reign--the lives of these two young women unfold in tandem, barely touching. Each hoards the memory of her adored lost mother like an amulet. Francisca's obsession with her lover, a Catholic priest, will shape her fate. Marie Louise is yoked by political expediency to the mad, impotent Carlos II of Spain. But even as their twin destinies spiral inexorably toward disaster, both Queen and commoner cultivate a dangerous, secret life dedicated to resistance, transcendence, and love. SC, 317 pages.
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