Author: Laura Andersen
Provided Synopsis: Since the death of her brother, William, Elizabeth I has ruled England. She’s made the necessary alliances, married Philip of Spain, and produced a successor: her only daughter, Anne Isabella, Princess of Wales. Elizabeth knows that her beloved Anabel will be a political pawn across Europe unless she can convince Philip to grant her a divorce, freeing him to remarry and give Spain its own heir. But the enemies of England have even greater plans for the princess, a plot that will put Anabel’s very life and the security of the nation in peril. Only those closest to Elizabeth—her longtime confidante Minuette, her advisor and friend Dominic, and the couple’s grown children—can be trusted to carry forth a most delicate and dangerous mission. Yet, all of the queen’s maneuverings may ultimately prove her undoing.
Review: Laura Andersen begins her next phase of an alternative storyline to the Tudor dynasty by now imagining what would occur had Elizabeth become Queen of England after the death of her brother, William. Perhaps because her mother had never been beheaded by her father (since in this alternate world Anne Boleyn gave Henry a son) Elizabeth does marry King Philip of Spain and give birth to a daughter. But the queen history as we know it details is still present: she rules as in individual, with her husband on his own throne in his own country and a difference of religion to divide them.
England’s Protestant beliefs continue despite the opposition of all the Catholic countries in Europe. For this reason, Elizabeth has assassination attempts on her life that must be uprooted, which is why she comes to call upon Lucette Courtenay (who those who have followed the series might remember as being Minuette’s daughter introduced in The Boleyn Reckoning) to travel to France and investigate the truth of a political plot. In the home of friends to her family, Lucette must piece together the secrets and unravel the tensions between two brothers to discover the truth in time to save her monarch.
However, what I wanted from The Virgin’s Daughter is more of, well, The Virgin’s Daughter. For a book that holds her title in its name, there was very little of the Princess Anne in it. One of my favorites aspects of this series is how it presents an alternative Tudor dynasty history, and the possibility of Elizabeth with a child makes for a very compelling premise that I am sure readers expected to see more of instead of following the storyline of Lucette’s espionage.
So far Anne holds many of the same traits as her mother. When that is placed in combination with her desire to forge her own choices, especially in concerns to her inevitable marriage, then there are many possibilities where the story could go. To make matters even more interesting are Anne’s two closets friends, one of whom has the gift of prophecy. Give me more of this! Show me a new generation to come to the throne and all that they can bring with them! Lucette’s storyline could make for some good moments, but I have always found this series to reach its heights when within the Tudor court and amongst the intrigue and maneuvers that can be found there.
At least I can say that this installment ended promisingly, mainly because it sets up a new power struggle amongst countries and provides me with more of what I had hoped to see in this book: more of the politics at court being orchestrated by Elizabeth and how her daughter will come to play a role in the future of England by her side.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The expected US publication date is May 26, 2015).