The September Queen

Written by Gillian Bagwell
Review by Arleigh Johnson

Jane Lane, daughter of an affluent Royalist family during Cromwell’s Commonwealth, longed for adventure over respectable marriage. This she found when the young king, Charles, showed up in her kitchen with a plan that required her to play a role in his great escape after the Battle of Worcester. Though cleverly disguised and with a document for her safe passage in hand, the king still faced imprisonment, trial, and execution if caught and Jane’s family would be suspect and penalized accordingly. Regardless, the Lanes of Bentley were adamant in their desire to help king and country.

Not surprisingly to those familiar with Charles’s reputation, he and Jane developed a relationship during their sojourn that would last throughout his years of exile. Jane ultimately had to flee the country and join the ragged courts who were hangers-on in Paris and the Netherlands. There she met and befriended such personages as Mary of Orange and Elizabeth of Bohemia, as well as Charles’s first love, Lucy Walter.

The true story of the courageous woman who helped Charles II escape is one of the few not often told of the Merry Monarch. Though congenial and possessing that irresistible sense of humor, this Charles is not the romantic hero throughout the story, but only a man surviving day to day and making promises to his light-o’-loves – a practice for which he became famous later in his reign. The real hero in this tale is the ever-patient and admirable protagonist, Jane Lane. Her story – her survival and constancy through unthinkable hardships and impossible circumstances – is one that shouldn’t be missed!