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The Queen's Dwarf: A Novel Hardcover – January 21, 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; 1St Edition edition (January 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1250006295
  • ISBN-13: 978-1250006295
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,335,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Entertaining… a fascinating glimpse into 17th-century court life, rife with ladies in waiting who could be confidants or backstabbers; lush, wasteful banquets; and people like Jeffrey who are treated kindly but were essentially pets for royalty.” –Publishers Weekly

“Rich in detail and brimming with intriguing characters, Chase’s novel will please fans of historical fiction.” --Kirkus

“There’s a new queen of historical fiction in town and her name is Ella March Chase… Captivating, enthralling, and incredibly crafted, The Queen’s Dwarf is the must-read historical novel of the year.  You’ll be hooked from page one. Jeffery and his fellow “freaks” are masterful characters and the intrigue, drama, and danger of the Stuart court breathe fire across the pages.  Tudor fans, you’re in luck. Chase’s writing is entirely fresh and utterly engaging. Enjoy.” –San Francisco Book Review

“A tour de force on many levels… Jeffrey became a living, breathing person to me. As the story is told in the first person, we become privy to Jeffrey’s darkest inner monologues, his deepest wishes, his personal struggles. To his peers and the King and Queen, Jeffrey’s physical size says nothing of his great humanity, his courage and his ability to love… A marvelous, engrossing and highly recommended read.” –Historical Novel Society

“There’s an animating intelligence to the whole thing that feels at times almost magisterial. This is by a wide margin Ella March Chase’s best novel.” –Open Letters Monthly


"The Queen’s Dwarf is a feast for readers told by a masterful author. Ella March Chase beautifully renders myriad facets of life in seventeenth century England: the sumptuous and the gritty, the magical and the terrifying. The seemingly fantastical—yet historically accurate—collection of characters will tug at your heart." –Tahsha Alexander, New York Times bestselling author of Behind the Shattered Glass


"Enthralling, unexpected, and mysterious, this vivid novel set in the rarely explored world of acrobats, mages, giants and dwarves who populated Queen Henrietta-Maria's court offers a fascinating tale of an unlikely hero and his companions' hunt for a royal assassin, even as an infamous love affair threatens to overturn the kingdom. The Queen’s Dwarf proves that Ms. March-Chase has a very bright future in historical fiction!" - C.W. Gortner, author of The Tudor Conspiracy


The Queen’s Dwarf is a beautiful tapestry, authentic history carefully woven together with a curiously engaging story. I love the in-depth look at a rarely written about queen,  and the perfect blend of beautiful language and action that compels turning of page after page.  Clever bits of irony threaded throughout and a cast of fresh characters, low and nobly born, make this a delightful pleasure read.” --Sandra Byrd, bestselling author of Roses Have Thorns: A Novel of Elizabeth I


“Masterfully written, The Queen’s Dwarf is hard to put down. This engrossing, atmospheric novel paints a vivid portrait of the early days of the reign of Charles the First, bringing a little-known period of English history to glorious life.” --Kate Emerson, author of Royal Inheritance


“A tour de force. To take such an unlikely hero, to surround him with a cast of freaks and yet to create with them a story of intrigue, derring-do, humanity and romance is indeed an achievement for writer Ella March Chase.” --Rhys Bowen, author of The Family Way


"This book is a banquet--Sumptuous and delicious; I devoured every word, and still wanted more. Its pint-sized hero leapt straight into my heart." --Brandy Purdy, author of The Queen’s Pleasure

“I loved this book; with its new look at English history told by a fresh viewpoint. Chase did a wonderful job of creating heartfelt characters, weaving actual historical figures with imaginary, all to make a novel that will have fans of historical fiction eagerly turning each page. I will be picking up this author’s books with anticipation from this point on.” –

"Combines the fascination of a Grimm’s fairy tale with the heft of history… Penning a tale of royal intrigue from the perspective of a court fool offers a unique glimpse into the queen’s inner circle… It is these unusual characters, these ‘curiosities,’ who breathe life into a tale of Stuart England." –

“[Chase’s] descriptions are vivid, sumptuous and well-detailed, and her characters are fully realized and easy to love and hate. The Queen's Dwarf is a wonderful historical novel in the vein of Margaret George and Philippa Gregory, and Ella March Chase is a gifted storyteller.” –

“Chase’s book offers vividly realistic details about daily court life, as well as insight into the intrigue and deception that was prevalent in the kingdom… If one is mesmerized by a distant time filled with plot twists and turns, this is a book worth picking up.” –

“A winner… It's a truly unique novel full of interesting characters, intrigue and betrayal, woven around moments of magic and wonder, laughs and love.”


About the Author

ELLA MARCH CHASE cannot remember a time she did not want to write historical fiction.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois.  She lives in a house filled with books and music and is lovingly herded by a loyal Shetland sheepdog named Oliver. Chase is the author of The Virgin Queen’s Daughter and Three Maids for a Crown, a story of the Grey Sisters. 

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Customer Reviews

I definitely recommend this book to any lover of historical fiction.
Sarah L. Gruwell
Ella March Chase's newest book, The Queen's Dwarf, is set in Charles I's England.
Reader To Reader
Beautifully written, exceptional plot, and characters who live and breathe.
The Bookish Dame

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on January 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I don't normally like the 17th and 18th century in English history. I'm not interested in the Stuarts or the Hanoverians. I find the politicking tedious and annoying, and I find most of the major personalities involved self-absorbed to the point of evil. The literature of the time is verbose, preachy, and over-reliant on contemporary references. The religious infighting makes me feel sick - I really hate the attitude of "I'm right because God says I'm right and if you don't agree with me you must be destroyed" no matter who it's coming from.

So I was a bit hesitant about this particular book. Her earlier two books were a lot closer to my preferred time period (both set in the Tudor era, which is just at the edge of my particular interests). But this book sucked me in. I got interested in Charles I and Henrietta Maria, and in the interplay between France, England, and Spain during the first half of the 17th century. I got interested in the women at court, especially the Duchess of Buckingham (she was a Manners, so relatively local to where I am now) and Lucy Hay. I even got a bit interested in the rise of the Puritans.

The main character is Jeffrey Hudson, a small person (not technically a dwarf by today's medical standards) who's only about 18 inches tall. He's from a family on the estates of the Duke of Buckingham, and is placed by the Duke into the menagerie of Queen Henrietta Maria. Buckingham intends Jeffrey as a spy against the queen and her French court. Jeffrey's mostly just trying to survive. He's around and influential for quite a few major events - the queen's pilgrimage to Tyburn, for example, which directly led to the banishment of her French ladies-in-waiting.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Sarah L. Gruwell on January 25, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Chase really knows how to bring history to life. From the harsh world of the London slums to the vivid colors of Stuart courtly pageants, she drops her readers smack daub into a world of intrigue, emotion, and life. I really enjoyed the time frame she chose to write about. I personally didn't know that much about it, so learning something while enjoying my fiction was an added bonus.

The character of Jeffery Hudson fascinated me. As he's described in one line, he's a man whose spirit and heart are bigger than his physical body. I found him so complex. His deep remorse for the course he's forced to travel, his developing loyalty to the menagerie and his Queen, and a heart so much larger than his physical size all came together into a individual that kept me spellbound. I got so wrapped up in his struggles and triumphs that I was upset that the journey was over! If the author ever decides to explore more of his life, I will definitely be in line for that book.

The other people in this book also shined with brilliance and individuality. From honorable giant Will to gentle dwarf Sara to the wily Duke of Buckingham, I felt each of these people in my soul. They all were as complex as Jeffrey, with their own motivations and insights. Not every author is able to balance the secondary characters with their heroes as well as Ella March Chase. It was a pleasant surprise.

This is definitely a fantastic piece of historical fiction. Not only are we transported to another time and place through spectacular period detail and storytelling, but the reader lives the times. The characters in the book all shown with brilliance, hero and secondary characters alike. No one was as they seemed which made for a pleasant reading experience. I definitely recommend this book to any lover of historical fiction.

Note: Book received for free through Goodreads Firstreads program in exchange for a honest review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Beth von Staats on January 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Henrietta Marie, Queen of England, was the daughter of King Henri IV of France and was the consort of the tragic King Charles I. The marriage was arranged on the condition that English Roman Catholics were relieved from the implementation of the penal laws for practice of their faith. In a realm where the Church of England reigned supreme and where Puritanism was a growing faith of choice, this dictate was highly unpopular with Parliament and the English people. It was in this climate that Queen Henrietta Marie made her way to England at age 16. Although most people familiar with English history recall the devotion that King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Marie held for one another during the dark days of the English Civil War, their early years of marriage were very difficult. The promise to curtail penal laws targeting Roman Catholics was broken, and Queen Henrietta Marie was left isolated in a land where her pious adherence to her faith was damning, and her popularity with the nobility and the common people was poor. To function within this culture of hate, the Queen surrounded herself with maids from her homeland, and entertained herself with grand masques and shows performed by her “menagerie of freaks”, which included three “little people”, a giant, and other people of unique physical characteristics or talents.

The Queen’s Dwarf, exquisitely written by Ella March Chase, tells the fascinating story of a exceptionally remarkable man, Sir Jeffrey Hudson. Born a dwarf, Hudson, through a series of partially fictional and partially known historically accurate events, joins Queen Henrietta’s “menagerie of freaks”. The novel takes us on his early life’s journey, and vividly captures the reader’s interest and imagination. In doing so, Ella March Chase takes a huge risk.
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The Queen's Dwarf: A Novel
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