The Queen's Lady
By Eve Edwards
Published: April 10, 2012 (US)
In this sequel to The Other Countess, we find out what happened to Lady Jane Perceval who broke off her engagement to Will Lacey. Jane had feelings for Will's younger brother James but couldn't do anything about it. Instead she accepts the proposal of the elderly but kind Jonas Paton. Their marriage is brief but happy and Jonas ensures that Jane will have financial freedom and a place at Queen Elizabeth's court before he passes. Unfortunately his greedy and grasping sons as well as Jane's own family have other plans for her. When James Lacey returns to Court, Jane hopes that he still cares for her but his own personal demons get in the way of a relationship. James tries to escape his past by going on an expedition to America while Jane tries to fend of her family's attempts to force her into marriage.
The Queen's Lady is an enjoyable historical romance though I did find it to be a little implausible in its resolution. Jane is not as strong a character as Ellie from The Other Countess but I still liked her even if she was more of a victim. I liked James even more as a flawed character dealing with guilt and possible PTSD like symptoms. He does put Jane on a pedestal and he seems to abandon her in her hour of need but he is a hurting individual.
The secondary characters are memorable. Millie is a firebrand and I liked Diego, her love interest and James's African manservant/friend. Unfortunately their love story was not handled in a completely realistic manner because it was resolved too neatly. Perhaps if they had been the main characters and the author could devote more space to them it would have been different and the issues could have been explored with more depth.
I would have liked to see more time with Jane and James forming a relationship and it would have been better if the ending wasn't wrapped up so neatly and abruptly. James struggles with PTSD and it seemed that he quickly got over it in America. That is a pretty serious thing and not something he could have just gotten over by a change of locale. It would have been nice if the author had shown how he worked through his memories, guilt, and fear. Overall, I thought this was a nice sequel even with its flaws. Fans of Philippa Gregory's Tudor fiction might enjoy this YA series. Book three, The Rogue's Princess, will be released in the U.S. next year.
Readalikes: Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa M. Klein, The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley, A Sweet Disorder by Jacqueline Kolosov
Note: I received an e-ARC for review courtesy of NetGalley