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Publication Date: March 18, 2014
St. Martin’s Griffin
Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.
Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.
I love everything about the Tudor's. Love reading about them and learning the history behind the stories.
Anne Clinard Barnhill has created an amazing story. Mary Shelton is a dynamic, likable character. We see her grow and evolve under the guide of Queen Elizabeth and the other members of Elizabeth's court. Mary is the ward and cousin of the Queen, growing up in a court full of intrigue and danger. She is surrounded by individuals who are almost paranoid with their beliefs and ideas. Elizabeth herself doesn't always strike me as a likable woman, but she IS the Queen, and very regal. (too bad she doesn't always practice what she preaches). It is apparent early on that Elizabeth does love Mary and wants only what SHE thinks is best for her.
This is a very well written story that will grip the reader from beginning to end. The author is able to create characters that are 'real' to the reader. You will laugh with Mary, and cry with her. You will feel anger towards Elizabeth as well as pity.
All in all, a 5 star book well worth reading.
About the Author
Anne Clinard Barnhill has been writing or dreaming of writing for most of her life. For the past twenty years, she has published articles, book and theater reviews, poetry, and short stories. Her first book, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ, recalls what it was like growing up with an autistic sister. Her work has won various awards and grants. Barnhill holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Besides writing, Barnhill also enjoys teaching, conducting writing workshops, and facilitating seminars to enhance creativity. She loves spending time with her three grown sons and their families. For fun, she and her husband of thirty years, Frank, take long walks and play bridge. In rare moments, they dance.
For more information, please visit Anne Clinard Barnhill’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.
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