Monday, October 12, 2015

Watch the Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle 

<3 <3 <3 <3

Summary: Penelope Devereux arrives at Queen Elizabeth’s court where she and her brother, the Earl of Essex, are drawn into the aging Queen’s favor. Young and naïve, Penelope, though promised elsewhere, falls in love with Philip Sidney who pours his heartbreak into the now classic sonnet series Astrophil and Stella. But Penelope is soon married off to a man who loathes her. Never fainthearted, she chooses her moment and strikes a deal with her husband: after she gives birth to two sons, she will be free to live as she chooses, with whom she chooses. But she is to discover that the course of true love is never smooth.

Meanwhile Robert Cecil, ever loyal to Elizabeth, has his eye on Penelope and her brother. Although it seems the Earl of Essex can do no wrong in the eyes of the Queen, as his influence grows, so his enemies gather. Penelope must draw on all her political savvy to save her brother from his own ballooning ambition and Cecil’s trap, while daring to plan for an event it is treason even to think about.

Unfolding over the course of two decades and told from the perspectives of Penelope and her greatest enemy, the devious politician Cecil, Watch the Lady chronicles the last gasps of Elizabeth’s reign, and the deadly scramble for power in a dying dynasty.

Review:  This was my first book written by Elizabeth Fremantle and I loved it. Watch the Lady takes the reader into the world of Queen Elizabeth the first's court; the book begins with the young Penelope Devereux and her entrance into the court of Queen Elizabeth.  The book follows Penelope and the rest of the Devereux's as Penelope is forced into her first marriage with a man she loaths; and she becomes Lady Rich.  It chronicle's the families journey as they rise and fall in the court of Queen Elizabeth the first.  The main characters include Penelope's brother Lord Essex, Robert Cecil who is an enemy of the Devereux family in his role as one of chief councilors to Queen Elizabeth; and Sidney who is Penelope's first real love, and many more players as the book continues.

The life of Penelope and the others chronicled in this book were not characters that I was as familiar with in Tudor historical fiction however I loved the writing style. It had its own pace and way of describing characters, scenery and events that is very original to Elizabeth Fremantle.  I literally could not put this book down and I finished it in two days. 

It was a new side of Queen Elizabeth that I hadn't imagined before; also the book chronicled events that I was not familiar with so I was excited to see what happened as the book progressed.  If reader's enjoy Tudor fiction in the least then I would most certainly recommend this book highly.  The author has a very original voice and it is very easy to connect with the characters.  The book is around 500 pages but it doesn't seem like it because you get very invested into the story and pulled into the character's world and time in history.  A book I'd highly recommend.

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