Thursday, April 10, 2014

Book Review: Queen Elizabeth's Daughter

Queen Elizabeth's Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth IAuthor: Anne Clinard Barnhill
Publication Date: March 18, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

From the author of At the Mercy of the Queen comes the gripping tale of Mary Shelton, Elizabeth I’s young cousin and ward, set against the glittering backdrop of the Elizabethan court.

Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.

Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.

On this day, she had met Tom in the palace gardens and, as usual, he began kissing her, his large hands trying to rove over her body.

Mary had shown her temper in full bloom, raised her voice to the queen, said awful things to the one who had been like a mother to her. To scream wicked words to the Queen of England!

The queen was smiling, a cruel little curl of her lips. Her black eyes had a proud look about them.

I just recently started watching The Tudors, and I must say that this author captures that time period, the drama, the nature of the characters, and the voice of the time so well that I just became even more addicted. Queen Elizabeth is one of my most favorite characters of the time, and this book gives readers a look at what Elizabeth might have been like had she ever become a mother. Mary Shelton, the book’ main heroine, is the cousin to Elizabeth and has been in Elizabeth’s care since she was a child. Elizabeth has taken a strong liking to Mary, and this has turned out to be helpful and harmful to Mary’s well-being. This novel explores what life was like at Elizabeth’s side. Elizabeth arranges a match for Mary, the only way she will bless a marriage, but the man is downright awful and Mary has already fallen in love with another. But if you know anything about Queen Elizabeth I, you know she didn’t take “no” for an answer!

I loved Elizabeth’s portrayal in this book. She was shown as a strong, determined leader of her people, but was also given a ton of human flaws that made her seem like a more realistic person and not just an empowered ruler. Mary was much like Elizabeth in many ways. I could not tell you if you asked me now which of these women were my favorite. They both had a number of rewarding qualities and I enjoyed seeing their characters explored even if it was through drama, jealously, and broken hearts.

Overall this book was a fast read and a great interpretation of the Tudor era. There is danger, drama, and it wouldn't be Tudor style if we didn't see quite a bit of romance. Elizabeth’s character was so thoroughly developed and I was glad to see a maternal side of her. Any fan of historical fiction is sure to find this book to be amazing, something that could easily sit at the top of my historical fiction shelf!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at St. Martin’s Griffin in exchange for my honest review***

1 comment:

  1. I really like historical fiction, and this looks really interesting! Great review :)

    - Kritika @ Snowflakes & Spider Silk