Mistress of Mourning: A Novel

Mistress of Mourning: A Novel

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by Karen Harper
     
 

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In a gripping historical novel of suspense and romance from the national bestselling author of The Queen's Governess, two women fight to defeat the enemies of the precarious Tudor monarchy by uncovering the secrets of the dead...

London, 1501. In a time of political unrest, Varina Westcott, a young widow and candle maker for court and church, agrees

Overview

In a gripping historical novel of suspense and romance from the national bestselling author of The Queen's Governess, two women fight to defeat the enemies of the precarious Tudor monarchy by uncovering the secrets of the dead...

London, 1501. In a time of political unrest, Varina Westcott, a young widow and candle maker for court and church, agrees to perform a clandestine service for Queen Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII—carve wax figures of four dead children, two of her offspring lost in infancy and her two brothers, the Princes of the Tower, whose mysterious disappearance years ago has never been solved. Having lost a child herself, Varina feels a sympathetic bond with the queen. And as she works under the watchful eye of handsome Nicholas Sutton, an ambitious assistant to the royals, she develops feelings of quite a different nature...

Then news comes from Wales of the unexpected death of newly married Prince Arthur, the queen’s eldest child and heir to the throne. Deeply grieving, Elizabeth suspects that Arthur did not die of a sudden illness, as reported, but was actually murdered by her husband’s enemies. This time her task for Varina and Nicholas is of vital importance—travel into the Welsh wilderness to investigate the prince’s death. But as the couple unearths one unsettling clue after another, they begin to fear that the conspiracy they’re confronting is far more ambitious and treacherous than even the queen imagined. And it aims to utterly destroy the Tudor dynasty.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With impeccable research and just enough romance (no bodice ripping or “tongues of fire” here), bestseller Harper (Fall From Pride) illuminates a part of Tudor history often ignored. Twenty-six-year-old widow Varina Westcott, a London wax chandler, is summoned to Westminster Palace and escorted there by Nicholas Sutton and Sibil Wynn. Henry VII’s queen, Elizabeth of York, aware of Varina’s artistic talent, orders wax effigies of her two late children and her two brothers, “the so-called lost princes in the Tower,” who disappeared mysteriously under the protection of Richard III. Varina and the queen forge a close bond, partly because both have lost a son around the same age. The queen comes to trust her, just as Varina grows to trust Nick and depend upon his constant presence. Varina receives further chandlery commissions from the palace with the nuptials of the Queen’s eldest child, Prince Arthur, and Catherine of Aragon, but it’s not long before Varina discovers that her connection to the palace is generating attention of a most unwelcome sort. When the Queen asks her to investigate Prince Arthur’s sudden death, Varina’s fate is cast into the deepest intrigues of the volatile 16th century. Harper writes with effortless prose and an expert take on the era. (July)
From the Publisher
“No other author captures the Tudors like Karen Harper...an exceptional storyteller.” —Susan Holloway Scott, author of The Countess and the King

“The grief of a sister and mother who also happens to be queen of England combines with the fire and spirit of a lovely wax-worker in Karen Harper’s riveting tale of just what might have happened to the princes in the tower and to the first Tudor crown prince.” —Karleen Koen, New York Times bestselling author of Through a Glass Darkly and Before Versailles

"Beloved author Karen Harper brings Elizabeth of York to vivid life… Through the eyes of charming and adventurous wax chandler, Varina Westcott, the tumultuous era of the new-born Tudor dynasty is depicted as it surely was—a time rife with danger, passion and murder. The exciting story and its appealing heroine kept me reading late into the night with sheer enjoyment.” —Sandra Worth, author of Pale Rose of England and The King’s Daughter

“Much like her endearing chandler heroine, Varina, Karen Harper warmly illuminates a little-explored craft and two persistent royal mysteries, skillfully melding the hearts and lives of the high and low born…delivers adventure, romance, and surprise…" — Sandra Byrd, author of To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780451236906
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/03/2012
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
383,360
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
“No other author captures the Tudors like Karen Harper...an exceptional storyteller.” —Susan Holloway Scott, author of The Countess and the King

“The grief of a sister and mother who also happens to be queen of England combines with the fire and spirit of a lovely wax-worker in Karen Harper’s riveting tale of just what might have happened to the princes in the tower and to the first Tudor crown prince.” —Karleen Koen, New York Times bestselling author of Through a Glass Darkly and Before Versailles

"Beloved author Karen Harper brings Elizabeth of York to vivid life… Through the eyes of charming and adventurous wax chandler, Varina Westcott, the tumultuous era of the new-born Tudor dynasty is depicted as it surely was—a time rife with danger, passion and murder. The exciting story and its appealing heroine kept me reading late into the night with sheer enjoyment.” —Sandra Worth, author of Pale Rose of England and The King’s Daughter

“Much like her endearing chandler heroine, Varina, Karen Harper warmly illuminates a little-explored craft and two persistent royal mysteries, skillfully melding the hearts and lives of the high and low born…delivers adventure, romance, and surprise…" — Sandra Byrd, author of To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn

Meet the Author

Karen Harper is a USA Today bestselling author whose novels, both historical and contemporary, have been published worldwide. A former college and high school English instructor, Harper now lives in Columbus, Ohio, and Naples, Florida, and frequently travels around the country to promote her books and speak about writing.

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Mistress of Mourning 3.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 3 reviews.
ZQuilts More than 1 year ago
I'm a past fan of Karen Harper's books - so I had "Mistress of Mourning" on pre-order and, as luck would have it, I had a break in my "must-read's" when it was released and I decided to delve right into this excellent read. I found it to be a fascinating book that ended all too soon. Although this book is most definitely a historical piece of fiction the historical notes on chandlers (wax workers), their guilds and ritual duties during the Tudor period was fascinating stuff in and of itself. This book is also a romance but the romance part of the book was woven into the narrative very skillfully and produced a a solid plot line with the romance part being believable and highly readable - not suger sweet or over-the-top oohhhhinh and ahhhing's. The plot involves Queen Elizabeth of York - the wife of the infamous Henry VII, and the chandler (wax worker) Varina Westcott - a widow with more autonomy than the age normally allowed for women. Varina's love interest is one, Nicholas Sutton, an ambitious and loyal servant to the Royal family. The tale includes pieces of the story of the 'princes in the tower', Elizabeth's two brothers whose deaths in the Tower are a mystery to this day, and two of her children who died in infancy - as so many babies were in those days. Varina is a master chandler (wax-worker) who has an uncanny ability to carve wax into, besides beautiful pillar candles and beautiful angels, uncanny likenesses of people. The Queen has used Varina's talents to fashion likenesses of her departed brother's and children but Varina's greatest mission has yet to be assigned. When Arthur, Prince of Wales, the Queen's eldest son, dies suddenly after only months of marriage to Catherine of Aragon, Varina and Nicholas are sent on a secretive mission to investigate the death and bring their findings back to the Queen. Was Arthur's sudden demise from an ague really as simple as that or was it something more sinister? Was a murder plot involved? You'll have to read the book to discover the answer - but I do believe that you'll enjoy the reading of this book very much. Entertaining from start to finish, this book will appeal to historical novel fans, Tudor fans, romance fans and anyone else who enjoys a good murder mystery and a highly enjoyable book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, in fact I couldn't put it down because I wanted to have some answers to what really happened to Arthur, Prince of Wales, and also the little boys in the Tower. You got a different viewpoint than other authors have written about. I love this period in history and found the characters very easy to relate to
Anonymous More than 1 year ago