Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Queen Elizabeth's Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I by Anne Clinard Barnhill Review

Title: Queen Elizabeth's Daughter: A Novel of Elizabeth I
Author: Anne Clinard Barnhill
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: N/A
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: A deeply-layered, finely wrought tale of the Elizabethan court, Queen Elizabeth's Daughter had me completely hooked--I loved it!

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Mistress Mary Shelton knows she lives a life of comfort, luxury, and privilege. As the queen's ward, she is given everything--a powerful position, fine clothes, and of course, the glittering, merry life of a courtier in Queen Elizabeth's court. But when the queen pushes her into a wealthy courtier's arms, Mary realizes for the first time she wants to live for herself. When she marries a Catholic in a time of political unrest, without the queen's consent, she finds herself wondering just what she may have to sacrifice for love..

What I enjoyed:
-The lush, glittering, but treacherous setting of Queen Elizabeth's court, beautifully and brutally rendered
-The pacing of this novel was part of what sold it for me--the author did a really good job of bouncing between Mary's life and the political trenches of Elizabethan England
-Mary herself, at first the timid young girl wanting to please her queen, then realizing she wants to live for herself--she was a strong heroine and I was rooting for her all the way
-Queen Elizabeth, that virgin monarch with a fiery temper, all hiding the fact that love hurts when you lose it--I really felt for her as well as Mary as the novel went on
-The large cast of characters surrounding Mary and the Queen, particularly Lord Robert and Nora
-I also really enjoyed the letters from Elizabeth to various advisers, giving readers perspective into her character
-John, the man who so quickly falls for Mary
-The ending--it was absolutely perfect and I really enjoyed it

What could've been better:
-I wish more perspective could've been gained on Elizabeth's past--it would've made her easier to understand, especially in dealing with Mary
-I wish more had been said about Mary's origins
-It was kind of hard to navigate the political parts of the book--there were so many names to keep track of

All in all, I really enjoyed Queen Elizabeth's Daughter! A true treat for any historical fiction/Tudor fan! Next on deck: We Are The Goldens by Dana Reinhardt!

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