This is essentially a stand-alone romance, but to have the full background of the characters and not be spoiled about what happens in the first book I would personally recommend reading The Other Countess first. But it’s not as vital as a regular series. You can read my review of The Other Countess here.
Lady Jane Rievaulx escaped the cruel clutches of her father when a kindly, wealthy older gentleman married her – with only friendship in mind – but now his death has left her vulnerable once more. As much as her deceased husband tried to secure her independence, his greedy sons are determined to take back her portion of the fortune.
Trying to put her trust in her late husband’s will and rise above it all, Jane begins service to the Queen at the Richmond Palace and is stunned, pleasantly, to find Master James Lacey there. He may not know the full reason Jane broke off her engagement to his brother, but there is a mutual attraction and camaraderie that cannot be denied.
Yet he does try to deny it. They’ve both changed since they last met. James is set against anything regarding love when his very core is shaken from the things he has seen. He has plans to sail to the Americas and cleanse his soul of what unsettles him – and he cannot possibly ask Jane to wait for him.
Jane’s father, in the meantime, has figured out a way to control his beautiful daughter for his advantage once more. And despite all attempts to avoid it, Jane finds herself caught in his web of lies and deceit – and forced to face a future that leaves her sick.
Will Master James return from his journey in time to Lady Jane before it’s too late?
The descriptions of romances always come across to me as slight, and this one is no exception. But when a romance is done well it can be a very engaging diversion. And to be clear, when I discuss a “romance” it doesn’t refer to the more, ahem, graphic choices out there… I prefer either YA, like here with The Queen’s Lady, or Christian fiction.
With The Queen’s Lady I found an enticing, well-rounded Elizabethan saga with plenty of family and passionate drama. I actually liked it more than The Other Countess, where I had difficulty warming up to the hero.
One thing I thought was funny was the cameo by Dr. John Dee. His character plays such a forefront role in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel books that it was almost startling to see his name mentioned in its historical context!
The Queen’s Lady has a true romantic suspense to it as court politics and haunting memories threaten to keep James and Jane apart. It was really quite entertaining with an excellent historical setting. Fast to read and fun, I found The Queen’s Lady to not necessarily be substantial or weighty – but fun is vital to our reading, I believe!
There is a third book in The Lacey Chronicles coming out next year called The Rogue’s Princess. I’ll definitely read it.