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Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
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Mistress of Mourning: A Novel Paperback – July 3, 2012

4.1 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“No other author captures the Tudors like Karen Harper...an exceptional storyteller.” --Susan Holloway Scott, author of The Countess and the King

“The grief of a sister and mother who also happens to be queen of England combines with the fire and spirit of a lovely wax-worker in Karen Harper’s riveting tale of just what might have happened to the princes in the tower and to the first Tudor crown prince.” --Karleen Koen, New York Times bestselling author of Through a Glass Darkly and Before Versailles

"Beloved author Karen Harper brings Elizabeth of York to vivid life… Through the eyes of charming and adventurous wax chandler, Varina Westcott, the tumultuous era of the new-born Tudor dynasty is depicted as it surely was—a time rife with danger, passion and murder. The exciting story and its appealing heroine kept me reading late into the night with sheer enjoyment.” --Sandra Worth, author of Pale Rose of England and The King’s Daughter

“Much like her endearing chandler heroine, Varina, Karen Harper warmly illuminates a little-explored craft and two persistent royal mysteries, skillfully melding the hearts and lives of the high and low born…delivers adventure, romance, and surprise…" — Sandra Byrd, author of To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn

About the Author

Karen Harper is a USA Today bestselling author whose novels, both historical and contemporary, have been published worldwide. A former college and high school English instructor, Harper now lives in Columbus, Ohio, and Naples, Florida, and frequently travels around the country to promote her books and speak about writing.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 399 pages
  • Publisher: NAL; 1 edition (July 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780451236906
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451236906
  • ASIN: 0451236904
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.9 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #664,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jennifer Rothwell VINE VOICE on December 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This novel took a while for me to get into it (about 100 pages) but once I did I found the characters to be very vivid and the plot suspenseful. Unfortunately though it then fizzled out towards the end, with loose ends abruptly tied together in a way that gave no real closure to the character's stories. I would have given this novel a solid four stars if not for the ending.
The middle of the novel though, the 'bulk' of it, was very entertaining. The author has created a mystery surrounding a discontented Yorkist during the reign of Henry Tudor (VII). Sir Francis Lovell seeks to destory the 'upstart' King, whilst also wishing to bring to light what he knows of the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower from years before. The sister of the princes, Queen Elizabeth, still mourns for them and seeks to know the truth behind their disappearance. She enlists the services of Varina Westcott, a candlemaker, to carve waxen effigies of her brothers, but Varina soon becomes tied up in the plot of the villian Lovell.
One thing I did find a little strange in this novel is that Queen Elizabeth continuously refers to her husband's enemies as 'Yorkists'; something I find rather ironic when she herself was the daughter of the Yorkist King Edward IV. If her brothers would have survived then they, in turn, would have been the rightful King of England, and not her husband. Considering the amount of guilt she feels about their disappearance, and the extremity in which she mourns them, it would seem that she is not thinking in terms of keeping her husband on his throne. It makes me wonder how the Elizabeth of this novel would have viewed the so-called 'pretenders' to Tudor's throne, Lambert Simnel and Perkin Warbeck, but unfortunately neither of these were mentioned in this novel.
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I really enjoy medieval fiction and although there really wasn't any "gotcha" moments, since the villain was hinted
at, very early on, the adventures of the candlemaker,Varina and her accomplice, Nick were fun to read. The conversations of the royal couple, "Good Queen Elizabeth" and King HenryVII were quite interesting. I liked the way
the author blended the mystery of the York Princes in the tower and the unexpected and early death of Prince Authur.
It was also interesting to learn a bit of the arts of candle making and the ties it had to the wax effigies of the royals of the time period.
This was an interesting novel and I look forward to future readings of Karen Harper's novels.
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An engrossing read, this book contains a bit of everything. There’s a romance, mystery, historical tidbits, and suspense. The rousing tale of two women caught up in the strictures of grief overcoming it to solve the mystery of who’s gunning for the Tudor dynasty kept me on the edge of my seat. I liked that the author was able to balance the different elements into one streaming and smooth story.

I especially liked Varina. She’s got guts, courage, and a caring heart. Though a bit blind at times to the emotions of those surrounding her, she’s an intelligent woman who dedicates herself to serving her Queen and protecting her family and loved ones. I also liked that she was practical in her perceived expectations for her future, yet there was still a bit of the romantic in her to not immediately jump on the first marriage proposal to come her way.

There were a ton of neat historical tidbits throughout the story: details of the burial practices of early Tudor England, some of the magic still present in the rural folklore, the role of women in the time period, and the mechanics of running a business in bustling London. Those historical tidbits made for a fun read for any history lover.

Yet, there wasn’t much meaty stuff here. The details were fun, yet a lot of stuff seemed a bit far-fetched to me to have actually happened. Elizabeth’s wax effigies in hiding, the lightning fast speed of Nick’s and Varina’s romance, and the varying roles that Varina played all seem a bit out there to me. The hypothesis the author puts forward for why Arthur died and responsible party behind the Princes in the Tower were intriguing, though.

A fun read, this book will definitely kill a weekend for you. It’s got some neat historical tidbits, a great lead, and a thrilling plot. And while it may not have a lot of meat on its bones when it comes to historical weight and story, I think this novel would still be very enjoyable for any historical fiction lover.
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I'm a past fan of Karen Harper's books - so I had "Mistress of Mourning" on pre-order and, as luck would have it, I had a break in my "must-read's" when it was released and I decided to delve right into this excellent read. I found it to be a fascinating book that ended all too soon.

Although this book is most definitely a historical piece of fiction the historical notes on chandlers (wax workers), their guilds and ritual duties during the Tudor period was fascinating stuff in and of itself. This book is also a romance but the romance part of the book was woven into the narrative very skillfully and produced a a solid plot line with the romance part being believable and highly readable - not suger sweet or over-the-top oohhhhinh and ahhhing's.

The plot involves Queen Elizabeth of York - the wife of the infamous Henry VII, and the chandler (wax worker) Varina Westcott - a widow with more autonomy than the age normally allowed for women. Varina's love interest is one, Nicholas Sutton, an ambitious and loyal servant to the Royal family. The tale includes pieces of the story of the 'princes in the tower', Elizabeth's two brothers whose deaths in the Tower are a mystery to this day, and two of her children who died in infancy - as so many babies were in those days. Varina is a master chandler (wax-worker) who has an uncanny ability to carve wax into, besides beautiful pillar candles and beautiful angels, uncanny likenesses of people. The Queen has used Varina's talents to fashion likenesses of her departed brother's and children but Varina's greatest mission has yet to be assigned.
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