The Virgin Queen’s Daughter
Who is Elinor de Lacy, and why is she the protagonist of this novel? Chase takes us on a merry, and not-so-merry, journey with Elinor, purported by some to have been the daughter of a teenaged Elizabeth Tudor and Thomas Seymour. Was she or wasn’t she?
Young Elinor is precocious, brilliant in fact, tutored by her father, Lord Calverley. She asks the difficult questions and truly wants to know the answers. She is everything her studious, intellectual father would have wanted in a daughter. Her mother, on the other hand, is harsh and punitive. Her nanny, Eppie, is the closest thing Elinor has to a mother.
As Elinor begins to mature, she feels trapped. She wants to explore the world beyond her parents’ estate. When her father takes her to meet Dr. John Dee, Elinor is enraptured. When she meets the young Princess Elizabeth during that trip, with whom she becomes enamored, her fate is sealed. Elinor wants to be part of life at Court. Her parents oppose her at every step.
After her father’s death, Elinor writes in secret to Elizabeth, who is now queen, and begs her to bring her to Court. That letter begins the unraveling of Elinor’s life as she knows it. All the trappings of Court and its political intrigues pale in comparison to the possibility that she is Elizabeth’s daughter. That could be a deadly potentiality for Elinor.
This is a well-done, well-researched and imaginative undertaking. The developing plotline, interesting characters and a nice handle on Elizabethan court politics maintain interest. Although I was not convinced that Elinor is Elizabeth’s child, Chase leaves no doubt that, in this novel, Elizabeth thought so.