Started 3/28/21 Finished 4/3/21
I stopped and started 2 books before I picked this one. Now I’m on chapter 15! I bought it back in 2012, and I’ve read it multiple times because it asks – What if Elizabeth I had a baby with Thomas Seymour, the husband of her stepmother Catherine Parr? It sounds like a soap opera, but there was speculation about it then. Those possibilities are woven into this story. The best part is the relationship threaded between mother and daughter.
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.
Started 3/3/21 Finished 3/27/21
I met the first book, MAID OF SECRETS, at the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators conference back in 2014 (SCBWI). I’m a huge fan of Elizabeth the 1st so I looked it up as soon as possible. I read the first one and loved the mix between facts I knew about Elizabeth and the fiction that strung this plot together. SECRETS focused on one of Spain’s attempts to control Elizabeth and England at the beginning of her reign. I liked it so much I bought the other two books, but unfortunately that’s where the series stopped.
I’m on Chapter 28 now of the 2nd book, MAID OF DECEPTION. The best part about historical fiction is that it gives you the chance to time travel and meet characters you’ll never meet in person. As a reader I can become part of the story. This time I’m following Elizabeth and the Lords of the Congregation. They’re working to break free of French Catholic rule under Marie de Guise, mother of Mary, Queen of Scotts. It’s something the Protestant Elizabeth would have supported and funded, secretly.
I just finished MAID OF WONDER. This one focuses on Sophia Dee and her ability to see into the future. There’s a plot afoot to assassinate Elizabeth. Sophie must decode her visions in time to unravel the plot and stop it. I was disappointed that the series stopped here, leaving two maids with untold stories.
Orphan Meg Fellowes makes her living picking pockets—until she steals from the wrong nobleman. Instead of rotting in prison like she expected, she’s whisked away to the court of Queen Elizabeth and pressed into royal service, where she joins four other remarkable girls in the Maids of Honor, the Queen’s secret society of protectors.
Meg’s natural abilities as a spy prove useful in this time of unrest. The Spanish Court is visiting, and with them come devious plots and hidden political motives. As threats to the kingdom begin to mount, Meg can’t deny her growing attraction to one of the dashing Spanish courtiers. But it’s hard to trust her heart in a place where royal formalities and masked balls hide the truth.
Meg’s mission tests every talent she possesses, even her loyalty to her fellow Maids. With danger lurking around every corner, can she stay alive—and protect the crown?
Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth’s secret protectors, who has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.
Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her uncanny ability to manipulate hearts. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen sets Beatrice up for failure by pairing her with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion…and her heart. Caught in a web of ever-more-twisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: in a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.
Sophia Dee, the most unusual spy of Queen Elizabeth's Maids of Honor, has run out of time for her psychic skills to fully manifest. A terrible new prophecy haunts Windsor Castle, and the Queen demands answers before the next doomed soul dies.
Thrust into a dangerous and horrifying competition to solve the deadly prediction, Sophia finds herself pitted against the most celebrated mystics of Europe: John Dee, her devious uncle and the Queen's personal astrologer, and Nostradamus, the renowned prophet-seer of France.
In a court where whispers of witchcraft, poisonous plots, and grim assassins threaten her at every turn, Sophia needs answers fast. But does she dare trust Marcus Quinn, her uncle's striking and overambitious assistant? Or, instead, should she turn to the tortured dark angel of the spirit realm, who whispers to her only of sorrow and death?
As new dangers surface and the dire prophecy sweeps toward its final victim, the five Maids of Honor prepare to do battle. Only then will the girl who so often sees the future finally discover if she can save the Crown--and herself.
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!