Monday, March 26, 2012

The Queen's Lady by Eve Edwards

* * 1/2

England, 1584.

When beautiful Lady Jane Rievaulx begins her service to the Queen at Richmond Palace, she is thrilled to see the court's newest arrival . . . Master James Lacey.

No matter that Jane was previously courted by the eldest Lacey brother-James is the one who has won her heart. For his part, James cannot deny his fascination with Jane; his plans, however, do not allow for love. He is about to set sail on a treacherous journey to the Americas, seeking absolution for what he sees as past sins. But when Jane is forced into a terrible situation by her own family, only one man can save her. Will Master James return to his lady before it's too late?

In the Other Countess we learned that Master James and Lady Jane have feelings for each other but neither act on those feelings due to the circumstances in which they met and part ways. In The Queen’s Lady, Lady Jane has become a widow after only a few months of marriage. Her late husband kindly arranged for her to be one of Queen Elizabeth’s lady-in-waiting after his death. Master James has been serving as a scout/spy in the war with Spain. He has returned home sad and disillusioned with life and himself. Hoping that time away will heal his mental state, James’ brother and brother-in-law urge him to take part in a expedition to America. During the planning of the expedition (which is run by the Queen’s favorite, Raleigh) James spends some time at Court where he again meets the Lady Jane. After a few misunderstandings, their feelings for each other are revealed. But regardless of how he feels, James does not want to pursue a relationship while in his current mental state and Jane is left to deal with two bitter and conniving families that are each after the dowry her husband so generously willed to her after his death.

I really enjoyed the first book in the Lacey Chronicles, The Other Countess. After finishing it, I was really looking forward to reading The Queen’s Lady. Both Lady Jane and Master James Lacey were such likable and intriguing characters that I couldn’t wait to read their story. Unfortunately, their story did not meet the expectations that had been set with The Other Countess. The historical descriptions were wonderful but the story itself was slow. The action and intrigue did not really begin until about the half-way point of the book. Also, all characters in this book fell surprisingly flat. Including the Lady (now Dowager Marchioness Rievaulx) Jane and Master James. The new Marquess Rievaulx and his brothers were overly stereotypical antagonists. I found their involvement in the plot annoying rather than frightening.

And do you remember Lady Jane’s maid, Nell, from The Other Countess? In my review, I mentioned my confusion over the purpose of her character. I thought maybe there would be more to her character in The Queen’s Lady but she appears for maybe two pages and only in the role as servant in the Earl of Dorset’s household. I guess it’s possible she will have a significant role in The Rogue’s Princess, the third and last installment of the Lacey Chronicles, but I am not going to hold my breath.

On a good note, Lady Jane’s brother and father were wonderfully horrendous and evil. They truly made me nervous. They became great antagonists once the story started moving. Also, Diego, the servant that Master James acquired in The Other Countess, was a lovely diversion. He wasn’t as funny as he was before but he still had some wonderful scenes as well as a love interest of his own. Then, of course, there was the Earl of Dorset and his Countess. Their appearances were short but with the little time they were given they do make an impact on the story and the reader; particularly if you have read their story.

Unfortunately, since I didn’t start to enjoy this story until I was already half-way through, I have to put my rating between Meh and Enjoy.


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