Alas! it’s been a while since I got a Tudor fix. This book gave me enough to last for a bit until the next time I pick up a book which features the Tudors. I really never thought about taking this book out of the library, it was on my list, but since I walked by it on the shelf and it was there for the taking I decided, why not.
The Virgin Queen’s Daughter by Ella March Chase, is a fictional take on a “What if” scenario: What if Queen Elizabeth had a child before she became Queen of England? what would have happened then? You follow the story through the point of view of Nell, the daughter of Lord and Lady Calverley who would rather spend her time with books instead of listening to her mothers’ training on how to become an efficient lady of the house. Nell finds herself with an once in a lifetime opportunity: to become a maid of honor within Elizabeth’s court. She agrees and against her mother’s wishes, goes, enchanted with stories of the Tudor court. Nell doesn’t realize that court life is filled with lies, deceit, backstabbing, and that it can be a dangerous life to lead as well.
I thought it was an interesting take on the life of Queen Elizabeth and the “what if” scenario. It never occured to me that such a thing could have possibly have happened. Who knows? this book explores it well and what I loved the most about it was the realistic account of court life during that specific time period. There was no romanticizing court life, it’s more cutthroat, like being in a lion’s den and no one is really safe from anybody. One little rumor and everything could fall like a pack of dominos lined up one after the other. It was certainly a very intriguing and interesting book I couldn’t find myself to put it down. It was well written, wonderful descriptions and to the point, court life was realistic and there is LOTS of intrigue. There is so much plotting going on you start feeling like Nell, and you feel you can’t trust anybody with any of your secrets in the court. It was an absolute fun and interesting read.
I liked Nell from beginning to end. She was so strong and although a bit headstrong and naive at times, she’s mature enough to learn from her mistakes and continue to stay strong. Her traits were admirable and inspiring. I liked her relationship to Gabriel as well. They did suit each other and although it was obvious he was trying to help her, you couldn’t help but mistrust him at the same time. He may seem very immature at first, and you share a dislike in him as Nell did at first, but as their relationship develops, you eventually accept him, and like him too. I also loved Nell’s friendship with Mary Grey although an odd pair at first, and probably friends because they were “outcasts”, Mary was probably one of the very few decent ladies in court (you’ll find the maids of honor are rather catty and hard to deal with).
Queen Elizabeth wasn’t the nicest Queen either in this book, and I liked how the book portrayed her. Sometimes it does get tiring of reading on how great she was, I’m sure she has her evil bad days as well. In this book you’ll find a much more mean, catty, jealous side to Elizabeth and not the wonderful regal Queen we’re so used to reading about.
The only criticism I can give to this book is, a little more historical information should have been given in the Author’s note. It might help to have a bit more of an introduction for those that aren’t too well versed with the history behind the Tudors.
Overall, a wonderful exciting intriguing book about life in Queen Elizabeth’s court, I definitely recommend this book to fans of Tudor England.
I give it a 9 out of 10.