Title: The Virgin Queen’s Daughter
Author: Ella March Chase
Release Date: December 30, 2008
Genre: Historical Fiction
Challenge: A to Z Challenge
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the dust jacket:
As captivating now as it was more than four centuries ago, the reign of Elizabeth I—with its scandal, intrigue, and resilience—has sparked the imaginations of generations. In her sweeping historical debut, Ella March Chase explores a thrilling possibility: that the Tudor bloodline did not end with the Virgin Queen.
Tucked away in the country estate of her beloved father, Lord Calverley, young Nell de Lacey feeds her hungry mind with philosophy, language, and studies of science. Her mother, once a devoted lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII’s last wife, Katherine Parr, would rather her daughter stop dabbling in the grand affairs of men and instead prepare for her eventual duties as a wife. She knows all too well what menace lurks in royal courts.
But Nell’s heart yearns for something more, and a chance meeting with Princess Elizabeth, then a prisoner of the Tower of London, pushes her closer toward finding it. Now, years later, Nell’s chance arrives when she is summoned to serve as a lady-in-waiting to the newly crowned Queen Elizabeth. Nell is entranced by the splendor and pageantry of royal life, unaware of the danger and deception that swirls around the monarch and her courtiers.
But a lingering rumor about nine unaccounted for months in the Virgin Queen’s past reignites when the flame-haired Nell—a mirror image of Her Majesty both physically and intellectually—arrives at court. Quickly she catches the eye not only of the cunning Elizabeth, but of those who would see the queen fail. With strong evidence to connect Elizabeth to her newest maid of honor and the politics of England in turmoil, the truth could send Nell and those she loves to the Tower to join in the wretched fates of those who’ve gone before her.
Engrossing and enlightening, The Virgin Queen’s Daughter brings to life one of the greatest mysteries of one of the greatest monarchs. Ella March Chase’s vivid storytelling gives due credence to a daughter who might have been and a mother who never was.
I loved the premise of The Virgin Queen’s Daughter. I also loved how Ella March Chase handled it. Did Elizabeth I have a child in real life? Probably not. But wouldn’t it have been so much fun if she had? Let’s imagine it!
The main appeal of this novel is that it was a sheer joy to read. I’ve read countless books on the Tudors and on Elizabeth I. After awhile, they start becoming the same; there is no new information to be had after a certain point. The Virgin Queen’s Daughter is a refreshing read for historical fiction aficionados. The book is full of historical details and descriptions, which bring the novel to life for the reader. And it’s always so much fun to think “what if…??”
The characters in The Virgin Queen’s Daughter are very interesting. Nell is smart, but she is not wise; she is impulsive and sometimes does things without thinking. In other words, she’s a typical teenager. March made it very easy to believe that Nell is in fact Elizabeth’s daughter. Elizabeth herself is shrewd and calculating, but she is also cold and quite petty. It is clear that she has faced her fair share of adversity and is wary because of it. Is she unlikeable? Yes and no. On one hand, she has had to be ruthless in order to keep her throne. On the other hand, is it really a threat to her if one of her courtiers falls in love? The author portrays this complex woman well.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Virgin Queen’s Daughter. The writing was very smooth and the pages flew by. There were a few narrator shifts, but these served to expand the storyline and provide exposition – they weren’t really jarring. I highly recommend this novel to any fan of historical fiction, especially if you are tired of the same old Tudor stories!
A huge thank you to Ms. Chase and her publicist at Crown for sending me this book to review!