Garland of Straw
no. 3, Roundheads & Cavaliers - Roundheads & Cavaliers, no. 3
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The marriage of a well-bred Royalist lady and an illegitimate Roundhead Colonel is less a match made in heaven than a union doomed to hell. Unfortunately, Sir Robert Brandon's last will and testament leaves Venetia Clifford and Gabriel Brandon with little choice in the matter - deeply though they both resent it.
Their tempestuous relationship is reflected in the stormy events buffeting the nation as England slides inexorably into a second Civil War. Gabriel continues to serve in the New Model Army while, behind his back, Venetia engages in clandestine activities on behalf of the King; and the lives of both are further complicated when Gabriel's legitimate half-brother - to whom Venetia was formerly betrothed - returns from exile abroad.
While the Army and Parliament argue over the fate of the King, Gabriel realises that he has a dangerous anonymous enemy and Venetia finally begins to see the man rather than the Roundhead Colonel. As events gather pace, bringing the King to trial, the tangled web of danger and deceit surrounding both Gabriel and Venetia slowly tightens its grip.
Set against the compelling times which led to the execution of Charles 1, Garland of Straw is the story of a seemingly impossible love and also provides further chapters in the lives of characters previously encountered in The Black Madonna and A Splendid Defiance.