August 6, 2011

Philippa Gregory for Teens

I love history, especially the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. When I saw this novel at B&N, I decided to give it a try. After all, who doesn't enjoy a love story every now and again?

Book jacket summary

Ellie—Lady Eleanor Rodriguez, Countess of San Jaime—possesses a worthless title, but her feisty spirit captivates the elite of the Queen's court—especially the dashing new Earl of Dorset.

William Lacey, Earl of Dorset, has inherited his father's title—and his financial ruin. Now Will must seek a wealthy bride and restore his family's fortune. If only he hadn't fallen for the beautiful but penniless Ellie . . .

Sparks fly whenever Ellie and Will are together, but circumstances—and the conniving interference of others—threaten to keep them apart.

My Thoughts
I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. While it took me a few days to read, it was worth the time. The characters were likable, the plot was intriguing, and the time period was well-researched.

The one thing I enjoyed the most in this novel was the presentation of Elizabethan England. While many novels from this time period revolve around the Queen herself (or her ladies), this one does not. Instead, readers are treated to an intriguing story of forbidden love.

Ellie was a delightful character. Throughout the novel I felt her character's spirit was a direct link to the Queen. The way she presented herself, her scholarship, her tenacity all channel that of the Queen's. I believe that had Ellie's circumstances been a bit different, she and the Queen would have been best friends.

The Earl of Dorset, however, does not gain the same type of affection from me (nor from Ellie) at the novel's start. Destitute and trying to make amends for the loss of his family's fortune, Dorset sets his sights and punishment on the wrong lots, casting Ellie and her father out like dogs in the night. To say that the change in his character four years later was much needed is an understatement. The author took care to show the maturity of this character and his handling of his duties.

The love story between Ellie and Dorset develops nicely, but there are many other matters at play that affect them both. For me, it is the supporting characters and their sub plots that kept this novel as a page-turner. In addition to the love story, the novel deals with courtly love, political intrigue, religious difference, the lowly status of women, etc. 

All of these dealings are wrapped up in a nice package labeled "The Lacey Chronicles." I am anxious to continue this series to see what is in store next...

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