Feature book: Mistress to the Crown
Elizabeth Shore lived in a time when men had power, lots of it, but she was a strong person herself and wanted so much out of life. She had grown up in a good family with her parents and three brothers. Alas she was married at 12 and sent to live with her husband at 14. Although he was not cruel towards her, there was no love and William was impotent, while Elizabeth wanted children one day. They ran a mercer’s shop but Elizabeth never gave up hope of one day getting a divorce and living her life the way she wanted to.
Opportunity knocked one day when Lord Hastings, King Edward’s right-hand man and best friend, walked into their store. He was immediately taken with the beautiful Elizabeth and convinced her to meet with him at his place of residence later that day. This was Elizabeth’s opportunity to finally find desire and perhaps get legal advice to end her marriage to her husband, and a friendship began that lasted many years. But when she is introduced to Edward, the King of England, she was shocked to find out that he would want her by his side and that Will, Lord Hastings, would advise her to leave him and become the King’s mistress.
This starts a long and sometimes dangerous journey through tough times as Edward and Elizabeth fall in love but Ned decides to call Elizabeth, Jane (as the Queen’s name is Elizabeth), and she is now known as Jane Shore, Mistress to King Edward IV. Their affair is not a secret but Jane has a very good sense of humour and keeps Ned on his toes. Of course, she is still very good friends with Lord Hastings and while Ned and Will are around, she is safe. Jane works hard to help the poor and find apprenticeships for the young boys in Cheapside and is loved by many, but not all. Her family and friends shun her but love keeps her going. She even gets her own home, but it is also a lonely time with Ned called away, and naturally he needs to spend time with his Queen and children.
I did find this one hard to get into at first but once I did, I really enjoyed it. The banter between Ned and Elizabeth will keep you smiling but is also shows what a hard life it was back then when treason and accusations of witchcraft can have you beheaded or burnt at the stake. When Ned takes ill and dies, this starts accusations about many things and towards many people and Elizabeth finds herself under arrest and tried for treason and witchcraft. People are held hostage and friends killed as the fight over who will be the next King of England heats up. But during this hard time, Elizabeth finds another protector, the new King Richard’s Crown Solicitor. Finally she has found someone she does not have to share. I do recommend this one. It is rich in passion and the way of life in this era.
Reviewed by Helen S
A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher. All ARRA members who leave a comment by 14 April 2015 will go in the draw to win the book. (The giveaway is now closed. The winner was Lyn W.)