Tuesday, 5 January 2016

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: Watch the Lady - Elizabeth Freemantle

Release Date: 16/06/15
Publisher:  Michael Joseph





Penelope Devereux is a legendary beauty in the court of Elizabeth I, with a smile that would light up the shadows of hell. But it's not just her looks which have won her favour with the Queen wing; her canny instinct for being in the right place at the right time, and her skilled political manoeuvrings under the guise of diplomacy, have rendered her a formidable adversary to anyone who stands in her path.

Including Elizabeth.

For Penelope must secure the future of the Devereux dynasty at whatever cost. Even treason. And the Queen, a woman she holds responsible for the death of her father, the exile of her mother and her failure to marry the one man she ever truly loved, is just one more pawn in a deadly game. Walking the knife-edge of court, whilst ensuring that her reckless brother Essex remains the only star in the Queen's firmament - and out of the Tower - Penelope must plan for the inevitable succession of an ailing monarch.

But her secret letters of friendship to a foreign King - one who has a strong claim to the English throne - could see her illustrious family in the gutter and her own head on the block. It would only take a single mistake, a slip of the tongue, an intercepted message for Penelope to become the architect of her downfall.

In a world where sister is turned against brother, husband against wife, courtier against queen, the rules of the game are forever changing.


History has a habit of recording the successes of the rich and powerful but most of the time, that’s just a war between the men that one has triumphed in. It’s very seldom that we hear stories of the females from our past and also rare that they warrant a mention in historical documents, so it’s why I love to sit down with authors like Philippa Gregory and Elizabeth Freemantle.

Each has the ability to breathe life into those who have gone before and add flesh alongside bones to their story to help it come across to the modern reader.

This book by Elizabeth is one that I thoroughly enjoyed, I loved the political double dealings, the moves and countermoves and above all else the principle character that just made this book a pure joy. She’s fully rounded, you can see her motivations as well as emotions at work and for me that’s the sign of a good author. Yes it is a little slow to begin with but it really is worth perceiving with in order to get a story from a woman I didn’t really know anything about. Magic.

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