Friday, February 26, 2010

The Virgin Queen's Daughter

TheVirgin Queen's Daughter
by Ella March Chase

As captivating now as it was more than four centuries ago, the reign of Elizabeth I - with its scandal, intrigue, and resilience - has sparked the imagination of generations. In her sweeping historical debut, Ella March Chase explores a thrilling possibility: that the Tudor bloodline did not end with the Virgin Queen.

Tucked away in the country estate of her beloved father, Lord Calverly, young Nell de Lacy feeds her hungry mind with philosophy, language, and studies of science. Her mother, once a devoted lady-in-waiting to Henry VII's last wife, Katherine Parr, would rather her daughter stop dabbling in the grand affairs of men and instead prepare for her eventual duties as a wife. She knows all too well what menace lurks in royal courts.

But Nell's heart yearns for something more, and a chance meeting with Princess Elizabeth, then a prisoner of the Tower of London, pushes her closer toward finding it. Now, years later, Nell's chance arrives when she is summoned to serve as a lady-in-waiting to the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth. Nell is entranced by the splendor and pageantry of royal life, unaware of the danger and deception that swirls around the monarch and her courtiers.

But a lingering rumor about nine unaccounted for months in the Virgin Queen's past reignites when the flame-haired Nell - a mirror image of Her Majesty both physically and intellectually - arrives at court. Quickly she catches the eye not only of the cunning Elizabeth, but of those who would see the Queen fail. With strong evidence to connect Elizabeth to her newest maid of honor and the politics of England in turmoil, the truth could send Nell and those she loves to the Tower to join the wretched fates of those who've gone before her.

I had heard about this book on someone's blog...I can't remember whose, exactly...and was intrigued. I love alternate history books. This one was brilliantly done, as well! Chase blends historical rumor, fact, and her imagination in such a way that I was almost convinced that Nell de Lacey truly existed.

The details about court life, the descriptions of court dress, the activities presented to readers, all contributed to a rich and wonderful dive into the reign of Elizabeth I. All of the main characters were wonderfully developed and interacted in a truly believable way.

I laughed, I cried, I yelled at Nell to see that yes, Gabriel did love her. I was sucked into this book completely. Highly recommended for historical fiction fans.

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