Book II in The Lacey Chronicles offers another tale of romance, deception and destiny.
When beautiful Lady Jane Rievaulx begins her service to the Queen at Richmond Palace, she is thrilled to see the court's newest arrival . . . Master James Lacey.
No matter that Jane was previously courted by the eldest Lacey brother—James is the one who has won her heart. For his part, James cannot deny his fascination with Jane; his plans, however, do not allow for love. He is about to set sail on a treacherous journey to the Americas, seeking absolution for what he sees as past sins. But when Jane is forced into a terrible situation by her own family, only one man can save her. Will Master James return to his lady before it's too late?
From the Hardcover edition.
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From the Hardcover edition.
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Richmond Palace, Surrey
"Now, when the Queen wakes, she is never in the best of spirits," advised Blanche Parry, leading Her Majesty's newest Lady of the Privy Chamber into the Queen's private apartments. Elizabeth was out hunting in the park of Richmond Palace, leaving the way clear for the induction into a lady's duties. The court had followed the sovereign like the train dangling from the back of her petticoats, sweeping across the snow in a glorious swatch of rich velvets and plumed hats, all mounted on first-rate horses--quite a pageant to entertain the commoners lucky enough to witness their passage.
"Your ladyship may be asked to sleep nearby to be on hand for messages. I, or one of the other Ladies of the Bedchamber, sleep within." Blanche gestured to the canopied bed in the room beyond. The apple-red hangings were exquisitely embroidered with flowers--pansies, roses and love-lies-bleeding.
The Dowager Marchioness of Rievaulx, as Jane was now known, smiled down at the stooped elderly attendant who was her guide in her first days as one of the Queen's ladies. Mistress Parry had served Elizabeth since before her coronation; now, at seventy-six, she surely had earned a better bed to sleep in than the one at the Queen's feet. Then again, perhaps the faithful retainer did consider it the best place in the kingdom. "I will await your commands, mistress," Jane said with a smile.
Blanche returned the smile and wagged her finger at the young widow. "I know what you are thinking, my lady."
"That someone as aged and half-blind as me should have been pensioned off some years since."
"No, mistress, not at all." But she had been thinking something a little similar, truth be told.
"All you young girls do. You try to sit me in the chair nearest the fire, make possets and other such foolishness as if I'm already an invalid. But as I've told Her Majesty, this old warhorse has served her for over fifty years and intends to die in harness."
Jane thought that to have survived the reign of four Tudors so close to the center of power was something of a miracle and certainly not to be rewarded with the patronizing treatment of untried youth. Jane touched the lady's arm gently. "If I make you a posset, I give you permission to pour it over my head."
The Queen's chief gentlewoman bubbled with laughter and patted the back of Jane's hand where it rested on her elbow. "That I will, my lady. Come, I'll take you to the steward so he can find you a room. You may have to share with one or two others, depending on how many are at court. I tell all my noble ladies that they would have been much more comfortable had they stayed with their families, but still you all beg for the honor of serving our sovereign--it speaks well of you."
"Thank you, but your praise is undeserved. I am proud to serve the Queen, but I have to admit that I came in the main because the late marquess my husband asked me to do so."
"Ah yes, dear Jonas." The lady's eyes flicked over the pretty widow shrewdly, taking in the mourning weeds still worn long after the month's mind had passed. "You grieve him truly, I see."
Jane twisted the heavy wedding ring of the Rievaulx on her finger. Before Jonas was cold in his grave, his eldest son, Richard Paton, had demanded it back for his own wife, and Jane had taken great pleasure in refusing to part with it. The sons had been predictably cruel from the moment Jonas had been laid in the family vault, spreading foul rumors about the young widow. She knew many--if not most--people at court would think she had married Jonas for mercenary reasons; Blanche's insight came as a surprise and a blessing.
"Yes, I miss him. He was a kind and wise husband. I had him for too brief a time."
"It gives me great pleasure to find a place here for his widow, though that is scant payment for the generosity he always showed me. Which reminds me: when you receive gifts from those trying to gain an audience with the Queen, it is appropriate to declare them to me or one of the other senior ladies. There is a fine line between a gift and a bribe, but we can help you discern the difference."
And so the instruction continued until Jane felt quite dizzy with information. Having spent her time since Jonas's death four months earlier on her own in Yorkshire, she found herself shocked by the sudden flood of people, noise and movement that made up the continual parade of court life. Jonas had passed peacefully, and his sons had let her remain in her home until the details of his will were settled. It was only when the lawyers had locked horns over her widow's rights that the new marquess had ousted her from Rievaulx House and refused to move the tenants from the dower property that by right should have been hers for the remainder of her life. Having no desire to put herself back in her father's care, Jane had been thankful for the foresight that had caused Jonas to arrange a place at court for her.
Blanche led Jane at a slow pace to the steward's apartment not far from the Queen's suite.
"What else can I tell you? Ah, yes. Naturally, you are entitled to the bouge of court, meaning lodging, food, lights and fuel for your fire if your room has a grate. Two suits of livery are also yours--I'll give you the cloth; you'd best see a tailor as soon as possible, as the Queen likes her attendants to be appropriately attired, the better to emphasize her appearance. We are the setting; she is the jewel--do not forget this."
"No, mistress. Then may I beg leave to go to my needlewoman this afternoon?"
"You have your own? Will not one of our court servants do?" Blanche did not sound too impressed by the fastidious habits of the rich ladies who thought themselves above a service that served others well.
"I am patron to a deserving woman, mistress--an old friend before her father's fortunes were overset. She depends on my custom for her finishing business. I would not want to wreck her prospects by withholding my custom."
"As kind as you are beautiful," chuckled Blanche, her opinion of the young marchioness restored. "I am sure you can be excused. You are not due to be sworn into the chamber until the morrow, so the Queen will not look for you this day."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have to admit, I didn't read the first book in The Lacey Chronicles, but after reading The Queen's Lady, which is the second book in this series,I am definitely reading The Other Countess. I love Eva Edwards’ writing, and I love the Lacey brothers. I also have to know about Will and Ellie's romance now. The Queen's Lady is about the second Lacey's brother, James, and his love for Jane. Eve Edwards has written a beautiful Historical love story about a young woman of eighteen fighting for her right to have the life she wants, and James, the young man she loves. Jane is being punished by her father after she breaks off an arranged marriage with an Earl. Jane's punishment is to be disgraced by her father so he can break Jane's rebellious will. But Jonas Paton, Marquee of Rievaulx, marries Jane not as a wife, but so he can rescue her from this horrible punishment. Jonas dies within the first year of their marriage, and Jane becomes one of the Queen's Ladies in order to protect herself from her father and Jonas's three sons. At the Queen's court, she sees James Lacey. James has just returned from an English military mission, and he’s not the same young man Jane remembers from a year ago. James is still the love of Jane’s heart and the man she wants to be with. But after seeing the effects of war, James is a ghost of the man he used to be with plenty of anger. Jane is also fighting a war of her own, against her father and Jonas's three sons, and James will not confess his love for Jane because he feels as if he cannot offer her anything of the man he used to be. The Queen's Lady is heart-felt, tender, a love story about Jane trying fight for herself and James, the man she loves, in a time when women have no power. I highly recommend The Queen's Lady as a beautiful love story, where love always wins and can heal the broken hearted.
This is the 2nd book in the Lacey Chronicles series and revolves around James Lacey and Jane Perceval from the first book. In this one Jane is newly widowed after marrying an elderly man in the hopes she could escape her father's schemes. She ends up going to court to be one of the Queen's ladies. And of course her father tries to coerce her into marrying a wealthy man again. She doesn't want to marry again, partly because she absolutely does not want to marry anyone her gold digging father chooses for her and partly because she is still in love with James Lacey, the Earl of Dorset's younger brother whom she hasn't seen since she broke off the engagement with the Earl. James Lacey is newly returned from being a scout the Low Countries, haunted with all that he has seen of the war. On his brother's suggestion as a way to get out of his slump, he goes to court to join Walter Ralegh's ambitions to take a voyage to the Americas. They meet again and James demands to know why Jane refused his brother, not knowing she did it because she could see how much Ellie and Will love each other. After that fateful meeting they once again become entwined in each others lives by various means and realize they may just suit after all. This book was really really good too. I love Eve Edwards books! I just loved that we got to catch up with the main characters from the first book, even though they weren't the main characters in this one. This book also set up the main character for the third book as well as having a side story revolving around Diego, James' servant and Milly, Jane's friend from school, which I enjoyed as well. This series is quite good and I have high hopes for the third book, titled 'Rogue's Princess'. I can't wait to read it :)
I read this book first, but it makes more sense when you read the first one. The fact that James is described better in this book makes you fall completely in love with him. This is one of my favorite romance novels. That's probably because i only read series and I'm a hopeless romantic.
I've decided that I really enjoy historical fiction series that follow a family. You get a new story, but yet don't lose the characters from the previous book. And since this is set in my favorite time period, it hoped to be a win-win situation. I really loved Lady Jane in this book. I wasn't sure what we would get from her, since her character was a little harsh in the first book. But, I think the events from that lead to were she is today. She knows what she wants and what she doesn't. She really fights to maintain that freedom in a time period that females had anything but that. She tries to step out of the shackles of a father who wants to control her plus keep control of her dowry. Her stepsons wants to paint her as the the type of person she really isn't. It was down right depressing what these people put her through. I was a little hesitant about James for at least half of the book. I really liked him in the first story, but could really tell that life had changed him and not for the better. Plus, circumstances didn't not leave Jane in the best of lights in his mind. I was afraid he would let his own prejudices get in the way of who she really was. I wasn't sure he could admit to himself that he would overcome his problems and be the man Jane needed him to be. In the end, the story was much more intense that the first book in the series. I was really afraid that James might be too late to save Jane (and really, why would the story end that way). I did kind of wonder about Queen Elizabeth's roles in this story. She seemed slightly out of character. I'm not sure she would have been accommodating, but then she really did hate to see her Lady's in Waiting leave her services. I can't wait for the next one in this series. I've enjoyed it so far, and don't think I will be disappointed!
This is a nice romance novel. It is the second in a series, but I have not read the first book and understood the story just fine. Each one of the books follows a different character, so this one can be read as a standalone novel if you didn’t read the first one. The beginning makes you think you missed something important, and you kind of did, but you catch on right away and then the story flows nicely. This is a quick read and I don’t remember any swearing or sex scenes. The story is a bit predictable, in the romance novel kind of way; a beautiful damsel in distress who needs to be saved by her knight in shining armor (though he is not actually a knight). The beau doesn’t care if she doesn’t have her fortune, and she doesn’t care that he doesn’t have much inheritance, really none at all. The plot keeps you on your toes and you want to yell to James, “no, don’t go; Jane needs you!!” more than once during the course of the story. There is the side story of Jane’s friend, Milly and her relationship with Diego, a black servant, which was quite scandalous in that day; and also the introduction of Milly’s friend Christopher (Kit) Turner who likes her and tries to cause a bit of trouble for some of the characters in the story. There is absolutely no way that you can like Jane’s father, her brother, or her stepsons. At times it seems as though there is no one on her side, except Milly. I don’t want to give away any more of the story, but it is good and I am eager to read the first one in the series and the third one as well. I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good love story, but also to anyone who may not feel comfortable with the sex scenes that are typically found in romance novels. I think this would be appropriate for a high school student, though I am not sure that as a teacher I would recommend a romance novel to students as classroom reading. I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy. Please read more of my reviews on my blog: sarahereads(dot)wordpress(dot)com