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The Virgin Queen's Daughter: A Novel Paperback – December 29, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Tudor intrigue inspires yet another historical romance in this story of a willful girl who discovers she is the Virgin Queen's illegitimate daughter. Five-year-old Elinor (Nell) de Lacey is the apple of her scholarly father's eye, and while the two are visiting the Tower of London, Nell makes a childish attempt to rescue Princess Elizabeth. By the time Nell turns 16, Elizabeth is queen, Nell's father is dead and Nell, over her mother's objections, heads to court. In short order, she's exposed to the court's conspiring and cajoling, seducing and betraying, plotting and protecting. A symbol of that world, Lady Jane Grey, haunts Nell as she uncovers the truth about her birth while trying to resist the charms of Sir Gabriel Wyatt. When Nell arouses Elizabeth's suspicions and possibly her wrath, Baroness de Lacey, once a lady-in-waiting herself, returns to court to prove the power of a mother's love. While Chase is no Philippa Gregory, her novel should still be manna for fans of Tudor romance infused with interludes of torture and head-rolling between the dance lessons and marriage rumors. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


“If Elizabeth I had a daughter, Nell is surely what she must have been like—brilliant and daring, risking everything for the right to fully exercise mind, heart, and spirit.”
—Donna Cross, international bestselling author of Pope Joan

“Beautifully written fiction with a fascinating hook.”
—Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Boleyn

“An absolutely wonderful read.”
—Michelle Moran, national bestselling author of Nefertiti

The Virgin Queen’s Daughter is both gritty and glittering, revealing the sharp blades beneath a silken court. I finished it in a day—well, two, if you count the five minutes past midnight!—and enjoyed it immensely.”
—India Edghill, author of Wisdom’s Daughter

“A fresh and fascinating new glimpse of the infamous Tudor clan. An unforgettable story full of rich characterization, palace intrigue, and the perilous, often heartbreaking reality for those whose lives depend on the whims of queens and kings.”
—Susan Holloway Scott, author of The King’s Favorite

“Ella March Chase is a master storyteller. She spins a rich tapestry of history and fiction, weaving all the vibrancy of the Tudor court and the quest of a strong, unforgettable woman into a mesmerizing tale.”
—Susan Carroll, author of The Dark Queen

“A feast for all of those fascinated with the life and loves of Queen Elizabeth I.”
—Judith Merkle Riley, author of The Serpent Garden

The Virgin Queen’s Daughter is a beautifully written book with vividly drawn characters and a fabulous plot. I didn’t want to put it down.”
—Diane Haeger, author of The Perfect Royal Mistress

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (December 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780307451125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307451125
  • ASIN: 0307451127
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,208,641 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This is the second time I have read this book.
Louise M. Buchheit
Her research was extensive and accurate, and her portrayal of all the characters was very true to history.
Mercedes J.
As an avid reader of historical/fiction books, this one has been the best one I have read so far!
Court Reader

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The author untangles the threads of history to pursue a rumor that swirled around the early years of Elizabeth Tudor, before she is crowned Queen of England. After the death of Henry VIII, the dowager queen, Katherine Parr, marries Thomas Seymour, an ambitious man and notorious roué. During the months that Elizabeth lives with her stepmother, Parr, Seymour attempts to seduce the naïve young royal. Whether he is successful in that seduction is the crux of this novel, which is based on the possibility that indeed Elizabeth did bear an illegitimate child that would now pose a significant threat to Elizabeth's throne.

When country-bred Elinor de Lacey travels with her parents to London so that her scientifically-curious father might consult with a learned friend, five-year-old Nell catches a glimpse of Elizabeth in the Tower, where she has been held for a time during the rule of Mary Tudor. After an opportunity to speak with Elizabeth for a few brief moments, Nell's imagination is captured by the beautiful princess and she initiates a secret longing to come to Elizabeth's court when she is older.

Years later, after her beloved father's death, Nell receives an invitation to serve in Queen Elizabeth's court, much to the dismay of her mother, Lady Calverley. Nell has always viewed her mother as distant and unaffectionate, so she is thrilled to be called by Elizabeth, ignoring the dire warnings she receives. Elinor is not prepared for the treachery she encounters, the natural intrigues and suspicions that fuel gossip and dangerous rumors. At first the queen is charming, impressing on Nell the importance of guarding her honor against scheming courtiers like Sir Gabriel Wyatt, who makes no secret of his desire to marry for fortune.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In 1554, Lady Elinor de Lacey pays her first visit to London. She is five years-old. Elinor, (Nell), and her beloved nurse, Hepzibah Jones, accompany the child's parents, John, Baron of Calverley, and his wife Thomasin, to the capital city for the express purpose of filling up chests with books and scientific equipment for the Baron to bring home to Lincolnshire. A brilliant and learned man, he studied with Dr. John Dee in Cambridge. Dr. Dee is a noted mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, occultist, and, much later in the story, consultant to Queen Elizabeth I. De Lacey plans to spend 3 weeks studying with the scientist. The family lodges with the Lieutenant of London's Tower and his family.

The Baron believes his extraordinarily precocious daughter should be able to study and learn in an equal fashion as men and boys of the period. The Christian world, at this time, doubts that women have souls - "Let woman first prove they have souls; both the Church and the State deny it." So, obviously, women were not considered to be worthy or capable of learning. There are a few exceptions, Elizabeth I is one. As a child, Lady Elizabeth, the future queen, was given an impressive education. Elizabeth, like Elinor, excelled at her studies. Famous scholars, such as William Grindal and Roger Ascham, tutored her, and from an early age it was clear that she was remarkably gifted. Roger Ascham will also become one of Elinor's teachers.

Nell is another gifted female. Later in their lives, Dee would say, '"Elinor is the fiercest woman I have ever seen. There is something exceptional about her. Something I have wondered about all these many years. Some are destiny's children. I cannot say why it is so. Mistress Nell is one of them.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth Crowley on February 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is Ella March Chase's first novel? Wow! What a debut for this wonderful new author! I absolutely and completely enjoyed The Virgin Queen's Daughter. The novel was based on a well-known myth about Queen Elizabeth giving birth to an illegitimate child. The myth can be traced to a story that has come down through the ages of a midwife that was blindfolded and taken to a great estate to attend a "fair lady" who was giving birth. Was this Elizabeth? I seriously doubt it.

When Elizabeth was queen she was stricken with small pox and came very near to death. During this ordeal she swore that she had never had relations with any man and was indeed a virgin. This is a historical fact. Considering the religious mind of the times and how close Queen Elizabeth came to death, it is practically impossible to believe that she could be lying. This has always been enough proof to me that the virgin queen was in fact what she claimed.

The Virgin Queen's Daughter was beautifully-written. I actually enjoyed this novel more than Alison Weir's The Lady Elizabeth. Weir's book is based on the same myth, except that book claims the child was Thomas Seymour's. Ms Chase's book doesn't ever reveal who Elinor de Lacey's father was, but the ending leaves the impression that it was Robert Dudley.

I have read many books about Queen Elizabeth, and I have to say that this book captured the essence of who Elizabeth Tudor really was, or at least who history indicates she was. Elizabeth's wit, personality, and the ever-present threat to Elizabeth's claim to the throne are all vividly written to bring the Tudor court to life before your very eyes.
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