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The Queen's Lady (The Lacey Chronicles, No. 2) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, April 10, 2012

4.2 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Lacey Chronicles Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

EVE EDWARDS has a doctorate from Oxford University. She has visited Tudor houses, attended jousts, and eaten Elizabethan banquets to get the sights, sounds, and tastes right for The Lacey Chronicles, of which The Other Countess is the first book.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1

1584

Richmond Palace, Surrey

"Now, when the Queen wakes, she is never in the best of spirits," advised Blanche Parry, leading Her Majesty's newest Lady of the Privy Chamber into the Queen's private apartments. Elizabeth was out hunting in the park of Richmond Palace, leaving the way clear for the induction into a lady's duties. The court had followed the sovereign like the train dangling from the back of her petticoats, sweeping across the snow in a glorious swatch of rich velvets and plumed hats, all mounted on first-rate horses--quite a pageant to entertain the commoners lucky enough to witness their passage.

"Your ladyship may be asked to sleep nearby to be on hand for messages. I, or one of the other Ladies of the Bedchamber, sleep within." Blanche gestured to the canopied bed in the room beyond. The apple-red hangings were exquisitely embroidered with flowers--pansies, roses and love-lies-bleeding.

The Dowager Marchioness of Rievaulx, as Jane was now known, smiled down at the stooped elderly attendant who was her guide in her first days as one of the Queen's ladies. Mistress Parry had served Elizabeth since before her coronation; now, at seventy-six, she surely had earned a better bed to sleep in than the one at the Queen's feet. Then again, perhaps the faithful retainer did consider it the best place in the kingdom. "I will await your commands, mistress," Jane said with a smile.

Blanche returned the smile and wagged her finger at the young widow. "I know what you are thinking, my lady."

"Oh?"

"That someone as aged and half-blind as me should have been pensioned off some years since."

"No, mistress, not at all." But she had been thinking something a little similar, truth be told.

"All you young girls do. You try to sit me in the chair nearest the fire, make possets and other such foolishness as if I'm already an invalid. But as I've told Her Majesty, this old warhorse has served her for over fifty years and intends to die in harness."

Jane thought that to have survived the reign of four Tudors so close to the center of power was something of a miracle and certainly not to be rewarded with the patronizing treatment of untried youth. Jane touched the lady's arm gently. "If I make you a posset, I give you permission to pour it over my head."

The Queen's chief gentlewoman bubbled with laughter and patted the back of Jane's hand where it rested on her elbow. "That I will, my lady. Come, I'll take you to the steward so he can find you a room. You may have to share with one or two others, depending on how many are at court. I tell all my noble ladies that they would have been much more comfortable had they stayed with their families, but still you all beg for the honor of serving our sovereign--it speaks well of you."

"Thank you, but your praise is undeserved. I am proud to serve the Queen, but I have to admit that I came in the main because the late marquess my husband asked me to do so."

"Ah yes, dear Jonas." The lady's eyes flicked over the pretty widow shrewdly, taking in the mourning weeds still worn long after the month's mind had passed. "You grieve him truly, I see."

Jane twisted the heavy wedding ring of the Rievaulx on her finger. Before Jonas was cold in his grave, his eldest son, Richard Paton, had demanded it back for his own wife, and Jane had taken great pleasure in refusing to part with it. The sons had been predictably cruel from the moment Jonas had been laid in the family vault, spreading foul rumors about the young widow. She knew many--if not most--people at court would think she had married Jonas for mercenary reasons; Blanche's insight came as a surprise and a blessing.

"Yes, I miss him. He was a kind and wise husband. I had him for too brief a time."

"It gives me great pleasure to find a place here for his widow, though that is scant payment for the generosity he always showed me. Which reminds me: when you receive gifts from those trying to gain an audience with the Queen, it is appropriate to declare them to me or one of the other senior ladies. There is a fine line between a gift and a bribe, but we can help you discern the difference."

And so the instruction continued until Jane felt quite dizzy with information. Having spent her time since Jonas's death four months earlier on her own in Yorkshire, she found herself shocked by the sudden flood of people, noise and movement that made up the continual parade of court life. Jonas had passed peacefully, and his sons had let her remain in her home until the details of his will were settled. It was only when the lawyers had locked horns over her widow's rights that the new marquess had ousted her from Rievaulx House and refused to move the tenants from the dower property that by right should have been hers for the remainder of her life. Having no desire to put herself back in her father's care, Jane had been thankful for the foresight that had caused Jonas to arrange a place at court for her.

Blanche led Jane at a slow pace to the steward's apartment not far from the Queen's suite.

"What else can I tell you? Ah, yes. Naturally, you are entitled to the bouge of court, meaning lodging, food, lights and fuel for your fire if your room has a grate. Two suits of livery are also yours--I'll give you the cloth; you'd best see a tailor as soon as possible, as the Queen likes her attendants to be appropriately attired, the better to emphasize her appearance. We are the setting; she is the jewel--do not forget this."

"No, mistress. Then may I beg leave to go to my needlewoman this afternoon?"

"You have your own? Will not one of our court servants do?" Blanche did not sound too impressed by the fastidious habits of the rich ladies who thought themselves above a service that served others well.

"I am patron to a deserving woman, mistress--an old friend before her father's fortunes were overset. She depends on my custom for her finishing business. I would not want to wreck her prospects by withholding my custom."

"As kind as you are beautiful," chuckled Blanche, her opinion of the young marchioness restored. "I am sure you can be excused. You are not due to be sworn into the chamber until the morrow, so the Queen will not look for you this day."
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (April 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780385740913
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385740913
  • ASIN: 0385740913
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #617,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Esther Schindler TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I spend my day on Serious Stuff. I read plenty of important books. But every so often, I want mental cotton candy: a predictable story that holds my interest and keeps me entertained all the way through. And The Queen's Lady is _exactly_ what I have in mind.

This novel is the second in the series, following a year or so after The Other Countess. You don't HAVE to have read the first book; this stands alone okay. But I think you SHOULD read the other one first, because it gives you more background on the family dynamics, as well as the reason for the distance between Our Heroine -- Jane -- and the man of her dreams -- James, the second son in the Lacey family.

When we begin, 18-year-old Jane is struggling with the loss of her husband, the 70-year-old duke who had saved her reputation (and helped her escape her family's machinations). She goes to London to serve the 50-ish Queen Victoria, where she meets the ever-so-dashing (but dangerous) Sir Walter Raleigh; an old childhood friend now turned to a trade; and... James. Again. Oh JAMES. It's obvious from the first that James and Jane are meant to be together, of course, but first there are challenges to be vanquished: nasty relatives, old guilts, and an ocean of distance.

The end result is... a lovely afternoon read. The story is well-told, the characters believable, the costumes cheerfully outlandish, and the setting entertaining. (Sex is implied but the only action described is kissing. I know that matters to some people.)

If you're looking for a don't-make-me-think novel to curl up with on a rainy weekend, accompanied by a bag of chocolate-chip cookies, this is just the ticket.
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Format: Hardcover
I love historical fiction, but have not had the chance to read very much YA historical fiction. So when I read the description of The Queen's Lady on NetGalley, I knew I had to read it. And, for the most part I did enjoy the book.

I liked Jane and really felt badly for her. I liked her devotion to her late husband and the fact that she would always strive to remain proper and appropriate to her position and social status. She always did the right thing, and I liked that.

I liked Edwards' development of the other characters, especially Milly and Diego. I think I liked their love story just as much as Lady Jane and James.

But I couldn't help feeling like something was missing. The story felt a little dull, the conflict resolution a little predictable, and I was left wanting something more. I liked the ending and thought it was satisfying, but I couldn't help wishing the book had had more depth.

Overall, I would read Eve Edwards again---The Queen's Lady was enjoyable but not one of my all-time favorites.
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Format: Hardcover
This is a nice romance novel. It is the second in a series, but I have not read the first book and understood the story just fine. Each one of the books follows a different character, so this one can be read as a standalone novel if you didn't read the first one. The beginning makes you think you missed something important, and you kind of did, but you catch on right away and then the story flows nicely.

This is a quick read and I don't remember any swearing or sex scenes. The story is a bit predictable, in the romance novel kind of way; a beautiful damsel in distress who needs to be saved by her knight in shining armor (though he is not actually a knight). The beau doesn't care if she doesn't have her fortune, and she doesn't care that he doesn't have much inheritance, really none at all. The plot keeps you on your toes and you want to yell to James, "no, don't go; Jane needs you!!" more than once during the course of the story. There is the side story of Jane's friend, Milly and her relationship with Diego, a black servant, which was quite scandalous in that day; and also the introduction of Milly's friend Christopher (Kit) Turner who likes her and tries to cause a bit of trouble for some of the characters in the story.

There is absolutely no way that you can like Jane's father, her brother, or her stepsons. At times it seems as though there is no one on her side, except Milly. I don't want to give away any more of the story, but it is good and I am eager to read the first one in the series and the third one as well.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good love story, but also to anyone who may not feel comfortable with the sex scenes that are typically found in romance novels.
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Format: Paperback
After falling in love with Kit in The Rogue's Princess, book three in The Lacey Chronicles, I knew that I had to read the earlier books in the series. The Rogue's Princess didn't fully explore Kit's relationship with his family, and upon learning that he is first reconciliated with his family in The Queen's Lady, I was anticipating this book the most. And I love it even more than The Rogue's Princess. (Or perhaps my love for the people in this world are grow more with each book I read.)

The ladies in The Lacey Chronicles are all strong-spirited individuals, educated and not afraid to make fun of their men. Mercy brought out Kit's more serious side. Here, Jane shows herself to be James's match with her wit and passion, putting a smile on his face while making him fall more in love with every word she says. She is brutally honest and down to earth with her remarks, and she says it all in such a manner that you have to laugh all the while knowing that she means what she says. She has a way with words. James is more of a brooding character than Kit (their first meeting doesn't go well). After having fought in the war against Spain, he suffers from nightmares and responsibility for things he didn't have any power over. Jane and James have history together, and it impacts the way they interact with each other now. Neither of them feels especially worthy of the other, especially James, who believes he doesn't deserve happiness. I enjoyed seeing the two of them rebuild their relationships and rediscover old feelings.

A bonus in this novel is that we also get to see Diego and Milly's courtship as well. Like with their lord and lady (James and Jane), they have old history together, though Milly had always viewed Diego as a good friend while he had one-sided feelings for her.
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