The Queen’s Lady
One struggle that historical writers must face is controlling the urge to modernize their characters. History can be an ugly place, full of prejudices and attitudes that most people have long since abandoned. In The Queen’s Lady, Eve Edwards presents us with several thoroughly modern characters dropped into Elizabeth I’s court.
Lady Jane Rievaulx is a teenage widow whose husband married her as an act of kindness. Her stepsons are vicious, greedy caricatures intent on destroying Jane’s life in order to seize their father’s property from her. Jane’s staunchest ally is her friend Milly, whose family’s fall from grace has led her to open a clothing shop, where she sews and sells fineries to the ladies of the court. Jane has long been enamored of James Lacey, but their relationship seems untenable because Jane scandalously jilted James’s brother several years prior. James’s African servant, Diego, is in love with Milly, and the feelings are mutual, but after some superficial discussion of racial prejudice, they decide to marry anyway. Meanwhile, James travels to the New World to escape his feelings for Jane. Jane pretends she’s not in love with James, and a foppish Frenchman tries to marry her for her money… only to be thwarted, at the last minute, by Sir Walter Raleigh, whose fling with Jane years ago set this whole mess in motion.
Older teens (15+) who are fans of other history-meets-Gossip Girl book series may enjoy the soap-opera-y twists and turns. It’s a nice love story, but it isn’t particularly realistic.