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The Virgin's Daughters: In the Court of Elizabeth I Paperback – August 4, 2009
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About the Author
Jeane Eddy Westin is the author of eight books. She lives in Sacramento, California.
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Top Customer Reviews
Part two takes place near the end of Elizabeth's reign. Mary Rogers has newly become a lady-in-waiting to the aging Queen. Dudley has since passed away and Elizabeth amuses herself with the affections of the Earl of Essex, but still refuses to marry, nor has she named an heir. Mary finds herself falling in love with Sir John Harrington, whom the Queen refuses permission for him to court Mary. The young couple find themselves in a similar position as Kate and Edward before them.
I liked this book but I did not love it. I did like the complicated nature of a Queen who has fought for her position and does not want to marry and be ruled by a man. Her paranoia that others were looking to replace her was justified and explained her capricious nature towards relationships. I felt that the first part of the novel was enough to show an insight into Elizabeth's court. By the second part, it just felt a little forced and repetitive. It was not as well-written as other historical fiction of the Tudors, such as The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory.
Now, on to the story. This is a wonderful book about two different couples and the very different paths they take regarding their love, and the the very different outcomes that happen as a result. Katherine Grey (sister of the beheaded Lady Jane Grey, Queen of nine days) and Edward Seymour fall in love in the early days of Elizabeth's reign (early 1560's). Katherine is next in line for the throne (as stated in Henry VIII's will) but has NO desire for it. She lives only to serve her Queen and cousin, whom she truly loves. Elizabeth makes it very clear that Katherine and Ned can never be married. The joining of their royal blood (Edward is a close decedent of Queen Jane, Henry's 3rd wife), and the possibility of male heirs makes them a huge threat to Elizabeth's newly acquired throne, even though they want nothing to do with it. Kate and Ned,(as she calls him), defy the queen and end up paying a most extreme price for it, one Kate believes is worse then death. Their story is so sad, and while I understand why Elizabeth did what she did, I had to wonder how she could live with herself for being so cruel.
The second story is at the end of Elizabeth's reign (1599). Mary Rogers is a country girl who comes to work for the Queen as her Mistress of the Stool (it's about as glamorous as it sounds). She falls in love with Sir John Harrington (inventor of the toilet) who is the queen's Godson. Elizabeth knows of their love, but will not allow them to be together. She has promised Lord Howard, an aging cousin of the queen, Mary's hand in marriage once his sickly wife dies. Over the few years Mary works for the queen, they become very close. Mary loves her with all her heart, and promises not to go against her wishes, though it is extremely difficult. In the end, the only thing that saves Mary from a miserable life as the wife of and old north country Lord, is the queen's death. Mary and John's story has a much happier ending, but they were also not nearly as spontaneous and reckless as Kate and Ned.
Overall, I definitely recommend this book. If your a fan of historical fictions or Tudor-era, then this is a book for you. While I previously knew of these people, and had a vague knowledge of what became of them, I am glad to have their whole story. They are characters of a time period that I love, but are not the focus of your everyday Tudor novel. It was a nice change to learn about some new people. A great job by Ms. Westin, and I look forward to whatever she comes up with next.