by Elizabeth Palmer

December 2004
ISBN: 1-312-32539-8
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press

The Distaff Side: A wife's or mother's side of the family.

France - Paris, November 1917, Vera Kalanskaya has just become Princess Zhenia.

Augusta Langham was a mother on a mission. She wants her son, Bertie, to marry Mai Binnington without a hitch. Augusta is a formidable woman, she usually gets her way, but not this time. She spotted poor, unsuspecting Mai at a suffragette meeting, and that was the end of that engagement. Augusta knew Bertie would not be controlled by his mother, but by a very strong-willed wife.

Augusta meets Countess Olga whose great niece is none other than Princess Zhenia. Bertie meets and marries Zhenia. Mai marries Ned Fielding, both marriages are doomed from the start. Both Bertie and Mai realize too late that they have married the wrong people.

Augusta has met her match in Princess Zhenia. Zhenia is more determined than Augusta to control Bertie, which she does smartly. Zhenia has learned to hide her secret. No one suspects she is not whom she claims.

The funniest lines were from Juno Betensen, Mai's mother. She has wit, style, and insight into what is really going on around her. Without giving away anymore, you need to read this book. The time frame of the book does not play a big part. Rather,it becomes part of the background which makes this book so much fun to read.

Reviewed in November 2004 by Pat.

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