Saturday, 19 February 2011

Review: The Queen's Lady - Eve Edwards

The Queen's Lady. Eve Edwards (The Other Countess)Title: The Queen's Lady
Author: Eve Edwards
Format: Paperback
Pages: 324
Genre: Historical, Young Adult
Published: 3rd February 2011 (Razorbill)

1584 – Surrey, England When Lady Jane Rievaulx begins service to the Queen at Richmond Palace, she is thrilled at the court’s newest arrival . . . Master James Lacey. Despite her previous courtship with his older brother, James is the man she truly loves. And for his part, he cannot deny his fascination with her. However, James is setting sail on a treacherous journey to the Americas, seeking absolution for what he sees as past sins. But when Lady Jane is forced into a terrible situation by her own family, there is only one man to save her. Will Master James return to his lady ­- before it’s too late?

Recently widowed Lady Jane Rievaulx returns to court as one of the Queen's ladies as a means of protecting herself from her step-sons who are determined to rid her of her dower rights by any means necessary. Added to that, Jane's father and brother are keen to marry her off again to suit their own means. There's only two things Jane wants, a quite life and James Lacey.

James has returned from the Low-lands where a bloody war has been occurring. Suffering from the traumas of what he's seen over there, James is to embark on a trip to America, as part of Walter Ralegh's expedition to find an area for settlement, in hope that it will cure him. But will he allow himself to love Lady Jane and will he return in time to save her?

The Queen's Lady follows on from the authors previous book, The Other Countess, but while that one followed William Lacey and his now wife, Ellie, this is the story of his younger brother James and Ellie's good friend, Jane. Set a year or so after the previous installment, Will and and Ellie are still around as secondary characters, as are others that played a part in the first book. The emphasis is predominantly on James and Jane though, with a side story involving James' manservant Diego and Jane's fallen-from-grace friend, Milly. There's also a smattering of setting up for the next book with the introduction of the Lacey's half-brother, Kit.

I liked that the book followed on from the first so we get to see what's happened to Will and Ellie,whilst at the same time it takes on a fresh new feeling with the different characters being dominant. It was good to get to know Jane and James in more detail. I found myself liking Jane much more as we live through her traumas. She's a strong character who's not accepting of others ruling her but at the same time, there's often not a lot she can do about the situations she finds herself in. The laws and etiquettes of the time give her little options to get herself out of the mess she's in and she really does have to rely on someone saving her from it.

James was a much more solemn character in this book than he was in the first but that suited the experiences he'd been through and that he was suffering what would now likely be diagnosed as Post -Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Because of this he thinks others do not deserve to have to put up with him and he worries for their safety as his reactions can sometimes be violent.

Another great character led story by Eve Edwards with wonderful descriptions that make you feel like you're really there combined with witty dialogue and an insight into the Elizabethan era.

The third book of the series, The Rogue's Princess, is due out in July this year.

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