A good book is one that you don't want to put down, and which you miss and mourn when you have finished reading it - that is Black Damask.
Hilary Mantel, eat your heart out, for here is a writer of historical fiction every bit as secure in her knowledge of the period, and who has created a fantastic and fanciful story laced with supernatural powers.
Annabelle and Margaret are two sisters, one plain, one pretty, whose lives are entwined by marriages, children, and the dark deeds of two men who weave evil power and influence over both sisters throughout their lives. The story is cleverly told in two distinct voices - that of each the sisters, so that the reader gets a different perspective, not only of events as they happen, but of thoughts and motives. This enables the author to slip backstory and context seamlessly into the text.
Life is cheap in the sixteenth century, and death is commonplace. The sisters lose both parents to the executioner, and tragic deaths occur throughout the book. Most authors of fiction set in this period try to sanitise it, and introduce twentieth century constructs so as to protect the sensitivities of the modern-day reader - not Anna Rossi. She tells it as it is, and includes romance, passion, adultery, sexual deviation, incest, murder, torture, witchcraft, treason, and even a devil-child, in her story. Both sisters become sexually active before their teens, and both are child brides, seeing off a series of husbands, and having many children.
This is an action-packed treasure-chest of a story, and I can't recommend it too strongly