Paperback, 512 pages
Released: November 23rd 2010
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
The court of James I is a volatile place, with factions led by warring cousins Robert Cecil and Francis Bacon. Europe is seething with conflict between Protestants and Catholics. James sees himself as a grand peacemaker—and what better way to make his mark than to use his children in marriage negotiations?
Into this court come Henry, Prince of Wales, and his sister Elizabeth. Their louche father is so distrusted that soon they are far more popular than he is: an impossibly dangerous position for a child of the king. Then Elizabeth is introduced to Frederick of Bohemia, Elector Palatine. He’s shy but they understand one another. She decides he will be her husband—but her parents change their minds. Brutally denied their support, how can Elizabeth forge her own future?
At once a love story, a tale of international politics and a tremendous evocation of England at a time of great change, this is a enthralling novel to thrill all lovers of fine historical fiction.
My Rating: 4 /5
This is the story of Elizabeth, Daughter of King James I. Having lived a sheltered childhood being brought up away from court and her family, she is desperate for knowledge. It is when she returns to court that she realizes her place, as a female heir, is to be used for political gain. Her father ensures she knows that he is the one to decide whom she shall marry - even if it's the devil!
Christie tries to stick as much as possible to historical facts and it is obvious that she has thoroughly researched this time period. James I is cold and is very obsessive about his safety, going so far as to keep his own children separated from each other. Henry, the eldest son, is headstrong & loved by all, his love for his sister was so strong - it is heartbreaking at the end. Baby Charles is weak and spoiled. Robert Cecil & Francis Bacon add to the political struggle taking place at the time - Robert wanting whats best for England, Francis wanting what was best for him.
To add a little more fun to the plot, Christie creates a fictional character named Thalia. As Elizabeth's mother is emotionally detached, having no interest in her children, she sends Elizabeth a welcome gift instead upon her return to court...a slave named Thalia. It is through this fictional character, that Elizabeth learns many secrets of court, including creating the list of possible suitors (Frederick of Bohemia, Elector Palatine being one of them). Although a little slow at times in the middle, I did enjoy watching Elizabeth flourish & ultimately fight for what she wanted. It took a bit of work, but Elizabeth and Frederick play King James to ensure a marriage takes place. As I enjoy my happily ever after, this book is proof that true love can prevail!
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