At Queen Elizabeth’s palace, intrigue abounds. And when a naive girl with a gift for keen observation enters the court, she can hardly imagine the role she will play in bringing England—indeed, the whole of Europe—to the brink of war. Nor can she foresee her own journey to the brink of ecstasy and beyond. . . .
When she becomes a junior lady of Queen Elizabeth’s bedchamber, Rosamund is instructed by her cousin, the brilliant and devious secretary of state Sir Francis Walsingham, to record everything she observes. Her promised reward: a chance at a good marriage. But through her brother Thomas, Rosamund finds herself drawn to the forbidden, rough-and-tumble world of theatre, and to Thomas’s friend, the dramatic, impetuous playwright Christopher Marlowe. And then Rosamund meets Will Creighton—a persuasive courtier, poet, and would-be playwright who is the embodiment of an unsuitable match.
The unsanctioned relationship between Rosamund and Will draws the wrath of Elizabeth, who prides herself on being the Virgin Queen. Rosamund is sent in disgrace to a remote castle that holds Elizabeth’s cousin Mary Stuart, the imprisoned Queen of Scots. Here, Walsingham expects Rosamund to uncover proof of a plot against Elizabeth. But surely, nothing good can come of putting an artless girl in such close proximity to so many seductive players and deceptive games. Unless, of course, Rosamund can discover an affinity for passion and intrigue herself. . . .
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jane Feather conspires with history to tell this dazzling story about two very real, very wily queens— and one impassioned young woman whose life they change forever.
Rosamund Walsingham is from a lesser branch of the Walsingham family, with no real fortune or prospects until she catches the eye of her influential cousin, Francis Walsingham, Queen Elizabeth's spymaster and secretary of state. He sends the beautiful young woman to court to act as his eyes and ears, a task she performs well until she gets involved in an ill-advised liaison with fellow courtier, William Creighton, who has similarly dim prospects. Disgraced, Rosamund is sent to spy on Elizabeth's sister, the imprisoned Catholic queen Mary, but soon discovers that the cost of these political games is greater than she could have anticipated. Accomplished romance author Feather (A Husband's Wicked Ways) delivers another reliably steady historical, but sidesteps the most provocative opportunities of her Elizabethan court setting in favor of a fairly tame tale. Rosamund is too typical a heroine, while Feather's most interesting characters-the historical figures of Francis and Christopher Marlowe-are relegated to sideline roles. Fans of historical romances should probably skip this in favor of a Tudor tale with more heat.