Tuesday, April 9, 2013
As Elin transitions from her Swedish roots to her new English life, she adopts the name of Helena with the mindset of embracing her new English life. It is rather lonely at first as she is treated by many around her as an outsider. But Helena in her efforts to please Queen Elizabeth uses her Swedish know-how to offer her comfort and help through Herbal fragrances and massage to help with the stress that a Queen carries. After some delay she is finally married to Lord Northampton which immediately elevates her to the Marchioness of Northampton which deems her the highest-ranking woman in Elizabeth’s circle. It’s a rather interesting circle to be a part of I’m afraid as it becomes confusing to find out who can be trusted as loyal to the crown and who cannot. There are Catholic enemies plotting everywhere and the intrigue of the court and the sundry goings on keeps one turning the pages!
As with every one of these Tudor books that Sandra Byrd has written, you can’t help but fall in love with the heroine and her plight there are challenges, a romance (or two) and all sorts of things that keep a Marchioness on her toes. Poor Helena endures much and is sometimes confused about whom she can trust amongst the court and who she cannot and even falls in and out of favor with Elizabeth a time or two, but that adds to the interest of the story. One aspect that I though was especially well done was showing just how attached Elizabeth became to her ladies of the court. They really were her family and so she loathed to part with any of them as it was like parting with her own family. As she was a virgin queen and decided to forego marriage in lieu of her commitment to ruling as the Sovereign of England it gave way to much loneliness on Elizabeth’s part. I thought that was well written and added much understanding to why Elizabeth did what she did. This story also covers the time frame of leading up to the beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots and the very difficult decision that was for Elizabeth.
And so to sum up, yes, I very much enjoyed this read, it was very well done and I think the crowing achievement for these three Tudor books that Sandra Byrd has written. This book was well researched and when good research meets a wonderful storyteller you get a truly wonderful historical fiction account of Queen Elizabeth as well as Helena von Snakenborg. Again as stated above this one goes down in the books as a favorite!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.