The Queen's Lady
Random House, 2012
The Queen's Lady begins not long after The Other Countess ends, picking up the story of Lady Jane - and, of course, James Lacey. If you have not read The Other Countess, you won't be entirely lost, as references are made to the significant events from that novel - but since the focus is now on Jane and James (as opposed to Will and Ellie), it's another storyline entirely. Lady Jane's transformation from cold, social-climbing noblewoman into a beautiful young lady with a heart is complete, although she is not without her troubles.
As a member of Queen Elizabeth's Privy Chamber, her position (and person) should be safe - just as her late husband the Marquess desired. And with the reappearance of James Lacey at Court (although, regretfully, in the house of Sir Walter Raleigh), Jane's life should be all happiness. But things are never as they seem, and soon Jane learns of a disastrous plan her father and brother have concocted -- forcing Jane to sacrifice her own happiness and independence to save those of her dear childhood friend Milly (who is, conveniently, in love with James' valet Diego). James could set things right, but he has demons of his own to conquer, and is on his way - with Diego - to the Americas, scouting a colony site on the Outer Banks. Any chance of a happier alternative for Jane will come down to timing. And fate.
What I love about Edwards' writing is her ability to weave together multiple story lines. While this is the story of Lady Jane and James Lacey, it's also the story of Milly Porter, Diego, and the colorful Christopher Turner. And, of course, we get to peek into the married life of Will and Ellie (swoon), and the rest of the Lacey clan. These people all have color, life, dreams and demons, plans and flaws. Place all of this wonderful, character-driven story into the rich historical context of Elizabeth's Court - and Raleigh's explorations - and you've got the makings of an amazing historical journey. I read this in a day, devouring the story, and sighing mightily when I reached the end. Most definitely looking forward to The Rogue's Princess in January, when I can pick up the tale again, this time - apparently - following the fortunes of Turner.
eARC provided by publisher for review.