India Black and the Widow of Windsor by Carol K. Carr

india blackIndia Black and the Widow of Windsor (Madam of Espionage Mysteries 2) by Carol K. Carr

When Queen Victoria attends a séance, the spirit of her departed husband, Prince Albert, insists she spend Christmas at their Scottish home in Balmoral, a deviation from her usual practice. The prime minister suspects Scottish nationalists are planning to assassinate the Queen-and sends the ever resourceful India and the handsome British spy French to the Scottish highlands undercover.

French will take the high road, looking for a traitor among the guests-and India will take the low road, disguised as a servant in case an assassin is hiding among the household staff. For her part, India doesn’t need a medium to predict that someone at Balmoral is determined that this Christmas will be Her Majesty’s last… (back cover)

When Queen Victoria suddenly decides to spend her Christmas in Scotland, the prime minister gets worried that nationalists try to assassinate the queen. He enlists the help of India and French to prevent that from happening. India will play the part of housemaid to an old marchioness who spends most of her waking hours snuffing anything possible.

Finally I got to read the second book! And it didn’t disappoint me! Can’t believe it took me so long.

It was fun seeing India trying play the servant part. She’s surely no servant material. The old marchioness was so much fun! I loved the interaction between India and the marchioness.

We see more flirting between India and French which started in the previous book. I’m curious to see how this will turn out but I hope we get to see them together at some point. I also want to know more about their past. There was some hints but I hope we will learn more at some point.

I think this was little tamer book than the first one and less snarky but not too much. But we don’t see India as a madam here so that may explain the tamer aspect.

4/5

Published: Berkley (2011)
Format: Paperback
Pages: 309
Source: my own

Mailbox Monday (18.8)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

All the books were bought from my shopping trip to Helsinki.

books

The Queen Of Four Kingdoms by Michael of Kent
The Path of Anger by Antoine Rouaud
The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England’s Most Notorious Queen by Susan Bordo
Fatal Rivalry, Flodden 1513: Henry VIII, James IV and the battle for Renaissance Britain by George Goodwin
13 by Kelley Armstrong

Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle

sisters of treason

Sisters of Treason by Elizabeth Fremantle

Early in Mary Tudor’s turbulent reign, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary Grey are reeling after the brutal execution of their elder seventeen-year-old sister, Lady Jane Grey, and the succession is by no means stable. In Sisters of Treason, Elizabeth Freemantle brings these young women to life in a spellbinding Tudor tale of love and politics.

Neither sister is well suited to a dangerous life at court. Flirtatious Lady Catherine, thought to be the true heir, cannot control her compulsion to love and be loved. Her sister, clever Lady Mary, has a crooked spine and a tiny stature in an age when physical perfection equates to goodness—and both girls have inherited the Tudor blood that is more curse than blessing. For either girl to marry without royal permission would be a potentially fatal political act. It is the royal portrait painter, Levina Teerlinc, who helps the girls survive these troubled times. She becomes their mentor and confidante, but when the Queen’s sister, the hot-headed Elizabeth, inherits the crown, life at court becomes increasingly treacherous for the surviving Grey sisters. Ultimately each young woman must decide how far she will go to defy her Queen, risk her life, and find the safety and love she longs for. (publisher)

Jane Grey is executed after reigning only for nine days and her family is left behind tainted as traitors. The remaining Grey sisters grew up in the court under the suspicious eyes of the queen(s) but their mother’s confidante, Levina, looks after them.

The story is told by 3 people: Katherine Grey, Mary Grey and court painter Levina Teerlinc and it worked well for this book.

My favourite was definitely Mary and I really wished it could have ended happily for her. Being crook backed definitely didn’t make things easy for her and people can be so cruel. And yet she remained kind and gentle despite everything. Her sister’s death had deep impact on her and taught how dangerous it can be to have royal blood in your veins.

Katherine was the type that thinks with her heart and not with her head, and it can be dangerous when you’re so close to the throne. She was little shallow and empty headed and I wished she would have listened Mary’s warnings. Her chapters were my least favourite and I think the weakest link in the book.

I really liked how the sisters’ mother Frances Grey was portrayed. She was shown as caring and loving mother who deeply mourned her daughter and it was nice to see her friendship with Levina who was “just” a court painter and not noble born.

This was truly enjoyable book and I look forward reading The Queen’s Gambit which I already own.

4/5

Published: Simon & Schuster (2014)
Format: ebook
Source: netgalley

Mailbox Monday (11.8)

Mailbox Monday was created by Marcia and is now hosted on its own blog.

These are new books I’ve got in the past month or so. I can’t remember the last time I’ve bought a crime book! But it sounds so good I had to buy it.

Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters (bookmooch)
Blood Loss by Alex Barclay (purchased)
The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo 1914 and the Murder that Changed the World by Greg King, Sue Woolmans (purchased)
Drakenfeld by Mark Charan Newton (purchased)
Legacy by Susan Kay (bookmooch)

Missing from the photo:

The Summer Queen by Elizabeth Chadwick (bought)
The Last Duel: A True Story of Crime, Scandal, and Trial by Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager (bookmooch)