Book Review: The Queen’s Secret

The Queen’s Secret by Victoria Lamb

The blurb:  July 1575

Elizabeth I, Queen of England, arrives at Kenilworth Castle amid pomp, fanfare and a wealth of lavish festivities, laid on by the Earl of Leicester. The hopeful Earl knows this is his very last chance to persuade the Queen to marry him.

But despite his attachment to the Queen and his driving ambition to be her King, Leicester is unable to resist the seductive wiles of Lettice, wife of the Earl of Essex. And soon whispers of their relationship start spreading through the court.

Enraged by the adulterous lovers growing intimacy, Elizabeth employs Lucy Morgan, a young black singer and court entertainer, to spy on the couple. But Lucy, who was raised by a spy in London, uncovers far more than she bargains for.

For someone at Kenilworth that summer is plotting to kill the queen. No longer able to tell friend from foe, it is soon not only the queen who is in mortal danger – but Lucy herself.

My review: I have never read Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir or any of the other stalwart Tudor novelists so I came to this book with fresh eyes – and what a gorgeous cover. I am always a little shallow with books and if they look beautiful they are much more likely to catch my eye, one of the reasons I suppose why I will never be an ebook girl.

The Queen’s Secret is set during the summer progress of Elizabeth 1 – I didn’t know she even went on a summer outing so I already feel like I’ve learnt something. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for Elizabeth, Lamb did a great job of really humanising her character and I wanted to give the poor woman some friendly advice, despite her terrible tantrums, you can’t help but feel she’s signed up for a horrible job! All the characters were interesting and detailed, Walsingham in particular was a favourite of mine and it was interesting to see historical figures come to life on the page.

The book runs along a pace which is good, I felt like the historical detail was rich and interesting without being too heavy. The writing is gorgeous which is rare and it drew an interesting line between romance and crime which kept me engaged. There were a fewbits and pieces I would’ve liked to have developed more but I suppose there are historical boundaries to consider! Plus I think this is the first in a series (I hope) as I’d like to see more of Lucy Morgan! I don’t want to give anything away so will end on that note! Definitely worth picking up!

7.5 out of 10 stars! *******.5

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