A 17-year-old widow struggles to find happiness in Elizabeth I’s court in 1584.
This second installment of The Lacey Chronicles (The Other Countess, 2011) stands on its own nicely. Lady Jane has survived a good marriage to a kindly elderly man, although her stepsons now intend to steal her dowry and even her wedding ring, through violence if necessary. Meanwhile, Jane secretly loves James Lacey, brother of the earl she was supposed to marry in the series’ first installment. Now a lady-in-waiting to the Queen, Jane spends time with her old friend Milly, who runs a successful business as a seamstress. When her father tries to force her into another unwanted marriage, Jane looks to James for salvation, but he has embarked on Sir Walter Raleigh’s first expedition to America. Can Jane save herself? Can Milly marry Diego, James’ black servant, whom she has loved since childhood? Yes, it’s all quite a soap opera. Edwards manages the historical setting fairly well, having clearly done her homework on the period. While the romance and characterizations remain standard stuff, the history might appeal to some readers. Spiced up with a few sword fights and dastardly attacks on innocent damsels, this fits the bill for historical romance.
Pleasant for romance fans. (Historical romance. 12 & up)