"In Defense of the Queen" was the book I saved this year to read at Christmas. I've thoroughly enjoyed Michelle's first two Susanna Horenbout and John Parker books. I've even commented that her style reminds me of Georgette Heyer -- the seemingly effortless historical accuracy, clarity and characterisation. However, in this third book I think it's less a romance and more a thriller. All right, I can compromise on historical romantic suspense. Imagine Helen McInnes writing of Tudor England rather than the Cold War.
You'll enjoy the book a lot more if you've read the first two in the series. For me, that meant I understood (and didn't just have to take the author's word for it) the depth of loyalty and other emotions in the relationships -- keeping it vague to avoid spoilers.
My tummy muscles tightened as I read; the story was that well plotted and the pacing spot on. I was there with the characters in their frustration, fear and desperation. The description gave me just enough to vividly imagine the setting, without intruding on the thrill ride.
Michelle's a friend and fellow member of the Romance Writers of Australia. So that's my full disclosure before I say: Read "In Defense of the Queen". It's a great historical thriller.