Three young women are entering the court of King Edward II’s scandalous court.
There’s Eliza whom her father wants married off to someone with power and privilege inside the royal circle, as despite their immense wealth they have no say in affairs of the country. Yet he’s held back and frustrated by a promise he made Eliza’s dying mother to let her choose her own husband.
Eliza, though, doesn’t have an interest in marrying at all. What she most looks forward to as she enter the Queen’s service as a lady in waiting is the nearness of other playwrights – which is exactly what she wants to be.
Beth has been groomed to, against her will, flaunt her beauty of face and form but keep her purity guarded fiercely by a willful, abusive mother that is determined to attach her daughter to someone that will lift them from their place of utter poverty. But she has dreams of true love, and escape from her cruel mother.
Zabby has always been a girl with a scientific, mathematical mind – and those skills lead to, almost accidentally, saving King Edward II’s life. Those days of closeness, of seeing behind the royal veil have led her to feel stirrings of something like love, something like obsession. Yet she is a lady in waiting to his new, sweet Queen Catherine and must resist her unseemly feelings.
Okay then! So it’s pretty obvious from the premise that Ladies in Waiting is essentially a soapy novel taking place in a historical time. That can be a lot of fun, when done right.
And though it is most definitely frothy, the continual switching of mental viewpoints between the characters, even sometimes including Queen Catherine, without organization or page break threw me off constantly. I had a hard time ever connecting to one character or really knowing what was going on when one second I was privy to one girl’s thoughts and the next second someone else’s. It was odd, to say the least.
Ladies in Waiting has a bit more of an edge than I was expecting. The king is embittered and has a twisted sense of right and wrong. Sometimes the book came across as a tad sleazy, though I know the time period and general behavior of many involved may be reflected rather realistically.
This was still a fast-paced read, though. And there’s more than enough drama to keep me at least semi-interested among the unfamiliar, discomfiting writing style. The storytelling did feel a little all over the place for me, though, and I was never particularly fond of any of the three girls. I also never outright disliked them, either.
Ladies in Waiting, for me, was a rather incomplete, dissatisfying novel overall – but certainly entertaining in its own way and sure to be enjoyed by many a sudsy-fan, yet I wouldn’t myself call it a necessarily fun book.
Which is really too bad. Check it out for yourself though, if this is the kind of book you usually go for!