As part of the HISTORICAL FICTION VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR, here is my REVIEW
This book is deep, intricate and gripping to the very end. Even the title, I realized, has a much deeper meaning than the rivalry and succession to the thrown that encompassed Mary and Elizabeth…’Blood’ also refers to the tainted- traitor kind that Justine Grenville carried through her veins.
In Protestant England where Elizabeth ruled, Catholics still plotted behind the scenes to bring their true faith back. Timing had it that Mary Queen of Scotts, who was no longer wanted by her people as she was believed to have murdered her husband, escaped to find refuge in her cousin, Queen Elizabeth’s, country.
Catholic nobles then subterfuge a plan to overthrow Elizabeth and bring in Mary; believed to be the rightful heir. Not so fast though- Mary needed to be proven innocent of her crime. Her image though was tarnished by the perception the people had of her: a pregnant harlot who planned the murder of her husband and married the killer shortly after… But Mary must see Elizabeth and speak to her- she knows that Elizabeth, as another God-appointed sovereign, would understand her situation and help restore her title…
Amidst all this is the young Justine Grenville, whose father was the traitor believed to have perished in fire, while battling with the Thornleigh’s, great friends of Queen Elizabeth. Left as an orphan after the devastating fire that burned her family away, she was found and adopted by her family’s enemy, Lord Thornleigh himself. Brought up in love and kindness along with the finest aristocracy, Justine renounced her roots and felt like a Thornleigh herself. But- The fact that she was really a Grenville, was hers and the Thornleigh’s greatest secret. No one else knew of her traitor’s blood.
All could have been fine, except that Justine falls madly in love and is reciprocated by Will Croft, a lawyer in Elizabeth’s court and- Thornleigh’s nephew. What a great match you say? Not really-Will saw his father brutally killed by the Grenvilles and Will has no idea of Justine’s roots.
It gets even better when Justine is brought to Mary as a lady-in-waiting where in fact her true mission was to act as spy for Queen Elizabeth. What actually happens is that Justine is endeared by Mary, and believes that she is not this evil manipulating criminal that England is accusing her of being. Justine plans on avenging Mary. Her plan has her betraying the Thornleighs, Will and ultimately, Queen Elizabeth…treason.
There is so much more to the story that helps build the momentum. For instance, what really happened to Justine’s father- that one, is Justine’s other secret. Also, Justine is investigating the murder of her good friend Alice- oh! the shock of that discovery. But I won’t spoil it for you- this book is FANTASTIC!
Brilliantly written, BLOOD BETWEEN QUEENS is a riveting tale of history, suspense and love. As well, I discovered a different side of both queens and was delightfully surprised to find myself holding another possible perception of either. And by weaving Justine’s family feud into this real slice of history, Barbara Kyle has helped recreate a time that will be forever highlighted in my mind.
BLOOD BETWEEN QUEENS contains everything I dream of reading in a great historical novel. I absolutely ADORED this book.
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