My Review of the First book in the series, The Other Countess.
This is the last of my Pre-Order rampage on the Waterstone's website. Okay, so I am obsessive over the types of books I read and am afraid to buy actual books with my own money in case I don't like them or I read them once.
Anyway. This is the sequel to Eve Edward's amazing first novel in the series, The Other Countess, about the Lacey family set in the 16th Century under the rule of Elizabeth I. The Other Countess was amazing and is one of my favourite books. Eve Edwards is still relatively unknown apart from book bloggers but she deserves the credit and praise she receives from her books, I think.
Synopsis: Picking up two years after the last book, Lady Jane Rievaulx (mentioned in last book) begins service to the Queen at Richmond Palace. Soon, she is thrilled at the court’s newest arrival. Master James Lacey who she last saw eighteen months ago. Despite her previous courtship with his older brother, James is the man she truly loves. And for his part, he cannot deny his fascination with her. However, James is setting sail on a treacherous journey to the Americas, seeking absolution for what he sees as past sins that he witnessed in the Low Countries during their eighteen month separation. But when Lady Jane is forced into a terrible situation by her own father and brother, there is only one man to save her with the help of their friends.
To start off with, this book is great. Edwards has captured what life was like in the 1500's under Elizabeth I's reign and what life was like at Court. She shows the rules that had to be followed in introduction and marriage and really, like her last novel, gives an insight to Jane and James' world. She got it spot on again.
There are references to Ellie and Will from the last book, especially latterly, and other characters pop up throughout. There are also new characters added such as Milly, Kit and the Patons as well as old favourites such as Diego and Tobias.
The story is told from both Jane, James, Diego and Milly's point of view making it much more interesting to read and different. My only few criticisms about this book is that to start off with, it got boring. I'm sorry Eve Edwards because I love your stuff so much but the beginning wasn't as fast paced and well written as The Other Countess and I found James really boring to start off with. However, it got increasingly more interesting and engaging as the story picked up.
My only other one is that, well I'm no expert at Elizabethan language, but there were points where I thought, 'That sounds a bit too modern' in the lauguage and mostly when people were speaking. It's a very small one but I noticed it more than a couple of times.
One aspect that was different to any other book I've read of this period is that Edwards introduced other aspects that happened during that era. For example, the art of fencing and the trips to the Americas and what men found there. I'm yet to read a book, apart from this one, that even mentions that during the story. It was very enjoyable to read something with a little difference.
The romance in this one is less early on than in The Other Countess but I liked it that way. They hadn't seen each other for over a year so they wouldn't fly into each other's arms.
Overall, I loved this book. This isn't as polished as The Other Countess but it has things that are both similar and better to that book. You also get a summary of everything happened since and ties the loose ends that anyone may have had at the end of the Will and Ellie's story such as Nell and Turville.
I would read The Other Countess first so you know exactly what is happening but you could read this without it. I would recommend this to anyone who loves historical romance and a bit of scandel. This really is a worth while series and book with some amazing characters.
I'm looking forward to the next and I think last book in the series, The Rogue's Princess, coming out July 2011.
I give this a 4.5 out of 5