Monday, July 20, 2009

The Virgin's Daughters-Jeane Westin

The Virgin's Daughters
Jeane Westin
NAL, Aug 2009, $16.00
ISBN: 9780451226679

The younger sister of the late Lady Jane Grey, Lady Katherine Grey admires Queen Elizabeth and vows to be loyal and faithful especially to the monarch’s decree that her female retinue must remain virtuous. Lady Katherine has no problem remaining pure as no man attracts her enough to give away her virginity.

However, when Elizabeth falls in love with Sir Robert Dudley, Katherine assumes that frees her from her vow of chastity just like the queen she emulates. Katherine falls in love with the Earl of Hereford, but Queen Elizabeth begins to suspect her of seditious acts to take the throne like her sister did.

Over time, Elizabeth turns increasingly acrimonious as she cannot fully act on her love for Essex. Her Lady in Waiting Mary Rogers understands firsthand what that means as she loves the queen's godson, but that could mean death for both of them.

Although a look at Queen Elizabeth through how her Ladies in Waiting sees her has been over done, as well as the Grey sisters (see the Alison Weir’s novels), Jeane Westin provides a fascinating look at the court over time. The Queen becomes angrier and frustrated but not as much as her Ladies in Waiting, who know that love is a seditious act. Well written, fans who cannot get enough of Elizabethan Era historical fiction will want to read THE VIRGIN'S DAUGHTERS trying to remain loyal to their Queen bit also struggling to survive falling in love in the “Court of Elizabeth I”.

Harriet Klausner