Title: Queen Elizabeth's Daughter
Author: Anne Clinard Barnhill
Series: Stand Alone
Published: March 18th 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin
Source: Arranged Tour
Description: Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses. Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.
I Give This ...
Just when I think I might have come to the end of what I could possibly learn from fiction about Elizabeth I, there comes a book that really brings to light a character that I don't know much about.
I admit, I probably have read Mary Shelton's name many times before. But, she blends into the background to the point that I knew nothing about her. I really wondered for the first little bit if this was a completely fictional character. I think it was the diary type entries that had me. They didn't completely feel like Elizabeth and the known documents by her hand.
However, as I learned more about their relationship and Mary herself I was swept up into the story. I loved how Mary could tell it like it was to the Queen. There were very few people who were comfortable enough to do that. I'm curious how much she was treated as nobility and how much she was dismissed as just a lady in waiting. Was it well known that she had the Queen's ear and how much influence did she have? This book doesn't really address that but more about Mary falling in love and the Queen's desire to control every aspect of her life.
While I've long known that the Queen had a particular habit of keeping her ladies close to her side, this book really showed how far she was willing to go. Despite all her talk about wanting Mary to have an advantageous marriage, I don't think anyone would have come along that would have persuaded her to give up her Mary. Even her instance on Oxford I could have seen falling through.
It must have been hard for Mary to make the decision to marry Sir John. The Queen had expressly forbid it many times over. To further complicate matters, Sir John was a Catholic in a time period were they were not trusted much. It's those occasions that I hope this was a love match for Mary to endure so much. As painful as a broken finger was...I'm sure it was preferably to being locked in the tower.
I really enjoyed this book. It had all the right elements and I always love learning about a new figure in history. I especially love learning about the women who surrounded the Queen.
Buy the BookAmazon UK
Barnes & Noble Book Depository Books-a-million
About the AuthorAnne Clinard Barnhill has been writing or dreaming of writing for most of her life. For the past twenty years, she has published articles, book and theater reviews, poetry, and short stories. Her first book, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ, recalls what it was like growing up with an autistic sister. Her work has won various awards and grants. Barnhill holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Besides writing, Barnhill also enjoys teaching, conducting writing workshops, and facilitating seminars to enhance creativity. She loves spending time with her three grown sons and their families. For fun, she and her husband of thirty years, Frank, take long walks and play bridge. In rare moments, they dance.
For more information, please visit Anne Clinard Barnhill’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.