After falling in love with Kit in The Rogue's Princess, book three in The Lacey Chronicles, I knew that I had to read the earlier books in the series. The Rogue's Princess didn't fully explore Kit's relationship with his family, and upon learning that he is first reconciliated with his family in The Queen's Lady, I was anticipating this book the most. And I love it even more than The Rogue's Princess. (Or perhaps my love for the people in this world are grow more with each book I read.)
The ladies in The Lacey Chronicles are all strong-spirited individuals, educated and not afraid to make fun of their men. Mercy brought out Kit's more serious side. Here, Jane shows herself to be James's match with her wit and passion, putting a smile on his face while making him fall more in love with every word she says. She is brutally honest and down to earth with her remarks, and she says it all in such a manner that you have to laugh all the while knowing that she means what she says. She has a way with words. James is more of a brooding character than Kit (their first meeting doesn't go well). After having fought in the war against Spain, he suffers from nightmares and responsibility for things he didn't have any power over. Jane and James have history together, and it impacts the way they interact with each other now. Neither of them feels especially worthy of the other, especially James, who believes he doesn't deserve happiness. I enjoyed seeing the two of them rebuild their relationships and rediscover old feelings.
A bonus in this novel is that we also get to see Diego and Milly's courtship as well. Like with their lord and lady (James and Jane), they have old history together, though Milly had always viewed Diego as a good friend while he had one-sided feelings for her. Milly is a bundle of delight with her no-nonsense attitude and willingness to put herself forward to help Jane in a time of need. Diego is more stoic, but that stoicism is hard to take seriously when he's talking about his culture in an English setting, such as talking about a bride price of cattle heads when Milly's father is a soldier who wouldn't know what to do with cattle.
If I were to name one flaw in the series, it's that we don't get to spend nearly enough time with the characters. I love the characters and wish that we had more page time with everyone. The time transitioning is smoother in here than in The Rogue's Princess; however, I don't know just how much time passes, especially when James goes to the Americas. It seems like a rather quick trip as compared to how long I expect it to take for a round trip between England and the Americas in the sixteenth century, plus the time it takes to survey land. Also, some of the language seems rather modern for the time period. I appreciate how it doesn't go into archaic language, as it would have bogged down the reading, but I wouldn't expect people to use some of the phrases they do in here. These are small details in the overall plot of the novel, however, and I loved the story overall.
The character are real and priceless, and I enjoyed getting to know Kit's family better in The Queen's Lady. Somehow, it seems as though I've been reading this series backwards, so rather than saying I look forward to reading the next book, I'll be saying that I look forward to reading book one at last! It'll be fun seeing how Jane and James met each other and getting to know Will and Ellie better!