The Queen's Lady by Eve Edwards

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The Queen's Lady by Eve Edwards

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Romance in Elizabethan England with an ending which has you on the edge of your seat. Immaculately researched.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: February 2011
Publisher: #Razor Bill
ISBN: 978-0141327334

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Although it's not long since Lady Jane Rievaulx's husband died she's already beginning a new life in service to the Queen at Richmond Palace. It's not enthusiasm which is driving her to this but her late husband's children are disputing her dower rights and her own father finds it difficult to accept that she is now an independent woman. In the Queen's service she has a degree of protection. The man she loves – James Lacy – has demons of his own to conquer and he's about to set sail to the Americas. When Jane's family force her into a dreadful situation it looks as though the one man who can save her is at the other side of the world.

It's a delightful young adult romance interwoven with a real atmosphere of what life was really like in Tudor England. It's not just the sights and the sounds – it's the attitudes which make the book ring true. Racial discrimination was alive and flourishing in Elizabethan England! Add to that the fact that some people were still suffering from the religious purges of earlier monarchs and it's easy to understand why Jane's friend Milly, whose father lost his position because of his religious beliefs, is now struggling with her friendship to a man whose skin is a very different colour to her own.

There's a more balanced picture of women's position than is found in many books. Milly is an independent business woman and Jane, as a widow, is technically independent although, as so often in these cases, might is right. It's right in our attitudes to other countries too: violence is never very far from the mind-set.

You'll love Jane as a heroine. She has a little bit of a colourful past, but it doesn't mean that all is lost: it means that she learned a valuable lesson and I'm always pleased when that point is made. It's occasionally difficult to accept that Jane is only eighteen – as is James – as they seem very much more adult in their attitudes and responsibilities, but this is a minor quibble in what's otherwise a very good story and which certainly had me holding my breath towards the end.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then we can also recommend Montacute House by Lucy Jago, The Fool's Girl by Celia Rees and for slightly younger readers The Betrayal (At the House of the Magician) by Mary Hooper.

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