The Lacey Chronicles #2: The Queen's Lady Paperback – Jan 8 2013
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This novel is the second in the series, following a year or so after The Other Countess. You don't HAVE to have read the first book; this stands alone okay. But I think you SHOULD read the other one first, because it gives you more background on the family dynamics, as well as the reason for the distance between Our Heroine -- Jane -- and the man of her dreams -- James, the second son in the Lacey family.
When we begin, 18-year-old Jane is struggling with the loss of her husband, the 70-year-old duke who had saved her reputation (and helped her escape her family's machinations). She goes to London to serve the 50-ish Queen Victoria, where she meets the ever-so-dashing (but dangerous) Sir Walter Raleigh; an old childhood friend now turned to a trade; and... James. Again. Oh JAMES. It's obvious from the first that James and Jane are meant to be together, of course, but first there are challenges to be vanquished: nasty relatives, old guilts, and an ocean of distance.
The end result is... a lovely afternoon read. The story is well-told, the characters believable, the costumes cheerfully outlandish, and the setting entertaining. (Sex is implied but the only action described is kissing. I know that matters to some people.)
If you're looking for a don't-make-me-think novel to curl up with on a rainy weekend, accompanied by a bag of chocolate-chip cookies, this is just the ticket.
This is a quick read and I don't remember any swearing or sex scenes. The story is a bit predictable, in the romance novel kind of way; a beautiful damsel in distress who needs to be saved by her knight in shining armor (though he is not actually a knight). The beau doesn't care if she doesn't have her fortune, and she doesn't care that he doesn't have much inheritance, really none at all. The plot keeps you on your toes and you want to yell to James, "no, don't go; Jane needs you!!" more than once during the course of the story. There is the side story of Jane's friend, Milly and her relationship with Diego, a black servant, which was quite scandalous in that day; and also the introduction of Milly's friend Christopher (Kit) Turner who likes her and tries to cause a bit of trouble for some of the characters in the story.
There is absolutely no way that you can like Jane's father, her brother, or her stepsons. At times it seems as though there is no one on her side, except Milly. I don't want to give away any more of the story, but it is good and I am eager to read the first one in the series and the third one as well.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes a good love story, but also to anyone who may not feel comfortable with the sex scenes that are typically found in romance novels. I think this would be appropriate for a high school student, though I am not sure that as a teacher I would recommend a romance novel to students as classroom reading.
I received this book as an ARC. I do not get paid to review books; I do so in order to assist you in recognizing books that you might enjoy.
Please read more of my reviews on my blog: sarahereads(dot)wordpress(dot)com
I liked Jane and really felt badly for her. I liked her devotion to her late husband and the fact that she would always strive to remain proper and appropriate to her position and social status. She always did the right thing, and I liked that.
I liked Edwards' development of the other characters, especially Milly and Diego. I think I liked their love story just as much as Lady Jane and James.
But I couldn't help feeling like something was missing. The story felt a little dull, the conflict resolution a little predictable, and I was left wanting something more. I liked the ending and thought it was satisfying, but I couldn't help wishing the book had had more depth.
Overall, I would read Eve Edwards again---The Queen's Lady was enjoyable but not one of my all-time favorites.
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!
I really loved Lady Jane in this book. I wasn't sure what we would get from her, since her character was a little harsh in the first book. But, I think the events from that lead to were she is today. She knows what she wants and what she doesn't. She really fights to maintain that freedom in a time period that females had anything but that. She tries to step out of the shackles of a father who wants to control her plus keep control of her dowry. Her stepsons wants to paint her as the the type of person she really isn't. It was down right depressing what these people put her through.
I was a little hesitant about James for at least half of the book. I really liked him in the first story, but could really tell that life had changed him and not for the better. Plus, circumstances didn't not leave Jane in the best of lights in his mind. I was afraid he would let his own prejudices get in the way of who she really was. I wasn't sure he could admit to himself that he would overcome his problems and be the man Jane needed him to be.
In the end, the story was much more intense that the first book in the series. I was really afraid that James might be too late to save Jane (and really, why would the story end that way). I did kind of wonder about Queen Elizabeth's roles in this story. She seemed slightly out of character. I'm not sure she would have been accommodating, but then she really did hate to see her Lady's in Waiting leave her services.
I can't wait for the next one in this series. I've enjoyed it so far, and don't think I will be disappointed!