This book has two of my previous reviews of the series in the front matter of the book. Wahoo! I have been noticing my reviews are quoted in books coming out and I have forgotten to mention it.
Read the full reviews here: #1 Murder at Hatfield House (click here), #2 Murder at Westminster Abbey (click here), and #3 Murder in the Queen's Garden (click here), plus a guest post by the author (click here). Let's see what this addition to the series has in store for us!
Copyright: December 2015 (NAL) 304 pgs
Series: 4th in Elizabethan Mystery series
Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Cozy
Main Characters: Kate Haywood, 18 year old musician in the employ of newly crowned Queen Elizabeth I
Setting: 1546 at Whitehall Palace in London
Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review
It's the first Christmas with Queen Elizabeth on the throne and her Highness wants to recapture the merry holidays from her youth. She is tired of the endless suitors from other countries hoping to marry her and make alliances between countriesa and wants to enjoy herself. Kate is tasked with some extra entertainment duties. But somebody is determined to reveal advances the Queen endured in her youth from a father-in-law. Kate is also tasked by the Queen to find who is behind the nasty messages about her dark childhood. When one of the foreign dignitaries from Spain is found murdered, danger seems to be lurking close to the Queen and Kate is on the job. Subplots are the two men in Kate's young life. Kate also has her aging father visit.
The characters all come alive and weave a dangerous web of court intrigue. Kate continues to become wise to the court intrigues and swears she will never marry or be involved. She often sees more than others and as a musician people forget she is there. Rob Cartman, the young actor managing his own troupe, is still determined to prove to Kate he is a worthy mate for her. I wish this story-line had made more of an appearance in the last half of the book, particularly the wrap-up. Anthony Elias is slowly building his life as a lawyer and Kate doesn't seem to fit anymore. Lady Catherine, a young relative to the Queen is under tremendous pressure and scrutiny and missteps often in her youthful naivety. The characters bring the complicated and volatile times alive.
The setting of Whitehall Palace and London are used to great effect, accentuating the maze of the massive palace and the huge city of London. The intrigue is palpable thanks to the setting.
The plot is born out of the historical times of when Queen Elizabeth took the throne amid many countries wanting somebody else to reign for their own benefit. But, this story makes the players and their shadowy intentions falable and nuanced while sinister. The pacing stays steady with a lot going on. The climax has some wonderfully tense moments. The wrap up was important for the Queen and Kate's relationship. But, I would have liked a little more on Rob versus Anthony storyline. So, who are YOU cheering on to win Kate's heart?
This series consistently delivers a historical drama that envelops the reader and takes them on a lush ride.
Rating: Near Perfect - Couldn't Put it down. Buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend.
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