About the Book
Can she tread a dangerous line between love and duty?
Raven-haired and fiercely independent, Joan Guildford has always remained true to herself. As lady-in-waiting and confidante to Queen Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII, Joan understands royal patronage is vital if she and her husband, Sir Richard, are to thrive in the volatile atmosphere of court life.
But Tudor England is in mourning following the death of the Prince of Wales, and within a year, the queen herself. With Prince Henry now heir to the throne, the court murmurs with the sound of conspiracy. Is the entire Tudor project now at stake or can young Henry secure the dynasty?
Drawn into the heart of the crisis, Joan’s own life is in turmoil, and her future far from secure. She faces a stark choice – be true to her heart and risk everything, or play the dutiful servant and watch her dreams wither and die. For Joan, and for Henry’s Kingdom, everything is at stake…
Format: Hardcover (464 pages) Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication date: 20th January 2022 Genre: Historical Fiction
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The Queen’s Lady is the second in the author’s Queens of the Tower series, the follow-up to The Lady of the Ravens which I read in 2020.
The Queen’s Lady continues the story of Joan Vaux, now Lady Joan Guildford, lady-in-waiting to the wife of Henry VII, Queen Elizabeth. Her position in the Tudor court gives her an insight into many of the significant events of the period: the death of Prince Arthur and the replacement of Prince Henry (the future Henry VIII) as heir to the throne, and the attempts of Queen Elizabeth to produce another son. The reader also witnesses the effect of Henry VII’s increasing paranoia, the growing factional infighting and general air of distrust which eventually has personal consequences for Joan’s family, especially her husband, Sir Richard Guildford.
As well as providing an ‘insider’s view’ of historical events, such as the marriage of Henry VII’s daughter Margaret to King James IV of Scotland, Joan’s experiences shed light on many social issues such as the dangers of childbirth, the frequent death of children in infancy, the plight of the poor and women’s diminished position in society. It also demonstrates that political intrigue and a system based on preferment and patronage has been with us for centuries!
I liked the sections of the book that focused on Joan’s personal life even if, sadly, her beloved ravens are not as much in evidence as in the previous book. Although a life not without tragedy, later in life Joan is rewarded with love, companionship and a degree of independence. The Queen’s Lady is a must-read for those who like their historical fiction rich in detail and full of period atmosphere, from the lavish apartments of royal residences to the squalor of London’s Fleet prison.
I received a review copy courtesy of HarperCollins via NetGalley.
In three words: Well-researched, authentic, absorbing
Try something similar: Cecily by Annie Garthwaite
About the Author
Joanna Hickson was born in England but spent her early childhood in Australia, returning at thirteen to visit her first castle and fall in love with medieval history. During a twenty-five year career in the BBC, presenting and producing News and Arts programmes for TV and Radio, Joanna also published a children’s historical novel Rebellion at Orford Castle but now she is writing adult fiction full-time, indulging her passion for bringing the medieval past and its characters to life.
First inspired by Shakespeare’s history plays she began researching Catherine de Valois, Henry V’s ‘Fair Kate’, who is the subject of The Agincourt Bride and The Tudor Bride and now her interest has progressed into the Wars of the Roses which form the background to Red Rose, White Rose and the eventful life of Cicely Neville, Duchess of York and will also feature in her next two novels. As a result Joanna warns that she spends much of her life in the fifteenth century and even her Wiltshire farmhouse home dates back to that period. She is married and has an extensive family, some of which boomerang her back to Australia for visits! (Photo/bio: Publisher author page)