The Queen's Secret by Victoria Lamb

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The Queen's Secret by Victoria Lamb

Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Excellent historical background, engaging characters and a plot that makes an easy and entertaining read.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: February 2012
Publisher: Bantam Press
ISBN: 978-0593067994

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It was July 1575 and the court had left the unpleasant atmosphere of London for its annual progress round the homes of the more prominent nobles. It was to stay at Kenilworth Castle, home of the Earl of Leicester (better known as Robert Dudley, the queen's favourite) for some three weeks. The expenditure on the stay was enormous, but Leicester was determined to persuade Queen Elizabeth to marry him. The fact that he was also having an affair with Lettice Knollys, wife of the Earl of Essex, was beside the point. Lucy Morgan, a black entertainer of Moorish descent, was drawn into the midst of this intrigue and found herself on the edge of a plot to assassinate the queen.

Victoria Lamb has a real talent for bringing the ways of the Tudor court vividly alive and off the page. It's far more than just research with every available fact shoe-horned in lest it be wasted - but rather someone who knows the period inside out and who is talking about it with assured confidence. She doesn't hide the fact that the surroundings were frequently unpleasant (and unsanitory) and that violence was an everyday occurrence. There's an interesting look at the politics of the court and the dangers which Elizabeth faced as an unmarried queen. Don't think that this means that the book is dry - that's far from the case - as Lamb has a very delicate touch when it comes to information.

The characters are appealing too. Although the book is about Lucy Morgan the star of the show (in more ways than one) is the Queen herself and we get a real feel for the queen whose beauty was rapidly fading and who had all the insecurities of a woman who sees herself as having fewer charms than the woman who could easily take her lover away from her - and who also happens to be her cousin. There's the hauteur, the temper - and the humiliations.

The plot is less strong and perhaps a little predictable, but still an easy and engaging read with a couple of twists which I wasn't expecting. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might also enjoy Sacred Treason by James Forrester. For more fiction based on the royal progresses we can recommend Sovereign by C J Sansom.

Buy The Queen's Secret by Victoria Lamb at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Queen's Secret by Victoria Lamb at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Queen's Secret by Victoria Lamb at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Queen's Secret by Victoria Lamb at Amazon.com.


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