Thursday, October 17, 2013

Book Review: Murder At Hatfield House

Murder at Hatfield HouseAuthor: Amanda Carmack
Publication Date: October 1, 2013
Publisher: Signet
Series: Elizabethan Mysteries # 1


1558. Kate Haywood, a simple musician in the employ of a princess, will find herself involved in games of crowns as she sets out to solve the murder of the queen’s envoy....

England is in tumult under the rule of Queen Mary and her Spanish husband. Confined to house arrest at Hatfield House, young Princess Elizabeth is the country’s greatest hope. Far from court intrigues, Elizabeth finds solace in simple things: the quiet countryside and peaceful recreation, including the melodies of her chief musician and his daughter, Kate Haywood.

But Kate will prove herself most valuable when an envoy of the queen—sent to flush out heretics in the princess’s household—is found dead on the grounds of Hatfield. Acting as Elizabeth’s eyes and ears, Kate is sent out on the trail of a killer whose mission could destroy her family, friends—and the future of England.

“I am Lord Braceton, sent by Her Majesty to examine this household,” he said. “I was greeted in your lane by a murderous villain, whose cowardly attack has left my manservant dead.”

Something inside of her, some spark of eager and dangerous curiosity that had been with her since she was a little girl, wouldn’t let her.

She was going to get them all killed.

The figure turned away with a satisfied smile and hurried toward the stream to rinse away the blood, leaving a black cloak behind in the water to wash downstream, unseen.

I have noticed that I have not been reading as much historical fiction as I normally do this year, and I am working on remedying that as we speak. I was so glad to see this book, the first in a new series, come along and even more excited when I realized the time period. Then I realized that Queen Elizabeth is a character in this book herself, and so became all the more intrigued. This story focuses more around the life of Kate, who is just a musician in Princess Elizabeth’s employ. Kate serves as our female guide and sleuth, and risks her own life when the lives of the royals are put in danger.

I was most impressed with the historical setting and Kate Haywood’s character. The book is set during Queen Mary’s rule, and so England is in shambles as history tells us. Her appreciation for detail and realistic fact is appreciated, especially in a new series while she is still setting the tone for the rest of the books. Kate proves herself to be loyal and determined when it comes to saving the lives of the people she cares for the most. I had no problems with Kate, and felt that she was just the right character to lead me through this mystery.

The only things that I did not care for about this novel was firstly the predictability. I felt like it was a little obvious what was going to happen at times, and usually this doesn’t bother me, but for some reason at certain times in this book it really did. The next thing was that I felt that the book ended too quickly and I would have liked a little more detailed wrap up. I read one other review where a blogger felt this way, and honestly I am just glad to know that it wasn’t only me.

However, I did enjoy the book and I am greatly looking forward to the next one!

***A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Signet in exchange for my honest review***

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