THE TIDAL POOLE by Karen Harper


Email this review


Once crowned in 1559, Elizabeth I expects the love and loyalty of her subjects to flow gently into her larger life; but the sleuthing, swashbuckling queen (The Poyson Garden, p. 26) gets no respite from a raging tide of intrigue and betrayal. Unbeknownst to Elizabeth, a shot rings out even as she parades to her coronation, its target at first obscured by the puzzling rape and murder of Penelope Whyte, promiscuous sister of Elizabeth’s confidante Isabel Harington. When Elizabeth’s scheming aunt, Frances Grey, charges Jack St. Maur, Isabel’s foster son and traitor Thomas Seymour’s illegitimate child, with the deed, Elizabeth rallies some old friends to his defense. Largely abandoning official duties to longtime aide William Cecil, the 25-year-old Elizabeth plays action heroine as she dons male garb to lead her entourage in exposing gunpowder plots, dangerous pasts, and false confessions, and in springing thief Bett Sharpe from the hanging cart and Cecil from an explosive tower. Harper joins mystery from a background in romantic suspense (Elizabeth’s “thighs tingle” at Dudley’s touch), but history teaches author and character alike the consequences of this queen’s trusting men, her heart ruling her head. No wonder Elizabeth needs her merry band to escape her lonely lot. Elizabeth’s 20th-century insights into gender and psychology, though doubtless tonic, fall a little too easily from her lips. And while Elizabeth should be a historical precursor to Nancy Drew, she is here too clearly her generic descendant. The result: an anachronistic romp guaranteed both to titillate and to annoy. (Author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 11th, 2000
ISBN: 0-385-33284-X
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Delacorte
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1999


FictionTHE QUEEN’S GOVERNESS by Karen Harper
by Karen Harper
by Karen Harper
FictionTHE HOODED HAWKE by Karen Harper
by Karen Harper