But alas it came up as a group read and I read it. And now I must admit that it was pretty good. The first 100 or so pages were difficult to get through, but I survived and lived to tell the tale.
The story is written much like The Boleyn Inheritance, with 3 narrators, George, Bess and Mary. George and Bess are married, George is most devoted to his Queen Elizabeth I, and Bess seems just to be most devoted to Cecil. There are some hiccups with Mary Queen of Scots, she comes to England after being accused of murdering her husband and Elizabeth (who is most afraid that her cousin might win the hearts of the Catholic people) sends her to live with George and Bess. Thus she is partly in a prison. George falls in love with her, Bess naturally hates her and so the story goes.
The story made me want to know more about the Queen of Scots. Apparently she was one of the most beautiful Queens, and her cousin Elizabeth was very afraid that she would loose her thrown to this Queen. You see, Mary was the legitimate heir to the Scottish thrown through her father, and also a legitimate heir to the English thrown through her grandmother who happened to be Henry VIII sister. Elizabeth on the other hand didn’t know what she was after her father Henry VIII had named her first as legitimate, then a bastard, then legitimate and so forth. After the death of her brother Edward and sister Mary, Elizabeth was put on the thrown. She had no children and was never married, so Mary’s son James became the legitimate heir to Elizabeth’s thrown.
The book shows so much jealousy and backstabbing that you might forget that it was written for that period. Some of the text gets really boring, so I did skip some of it, and the end wasn’t really good for me, I expected a little more there. But all in all, if you love Historical Fiction you should read it, maybe not Gregory’s best effort but it was good…