1584: Elizabeth I rules England. But a dangerous plot is brewing in court, and Mary Queen of Scots will stop at nothing to take her cousin’s throne.
There’s only one thing standing in her way: Tom, the queen’s trusted apothecary, who makes the perfect silent spy…
2021: Travelling the globe in her campervan, Mathilde has never belonged anywhere. So when she receives news of an inheritance, she is shocked to discover she has a family in England.
Just like Mathilde, the medieval hall she inherits conceals secrets, and she quickly makes a haunting discovery. Can she unravel the truth about what happened there all those years ago? And will she finally find a place to call home?
Let me start with the cover – it is stunning! Kudos to the cover designer for this one.
I’m a fan of historical fiction, especially those across various era and kingdoms all around the world. The Queen’s Spy dallies between the Tudor period and present era. This one specifically fascinates me – the cold war between cousins – Queen Elizabeth I and Mary of Scots.
Clare Marchant begins her story in 1584, about a displaced man, Tom Sutton, scurrying from place to place for work and shelter. He had the talents of a herbalist/pharmacist and the disability of being deaf and mute. How and what he does for the Queen makes for an inimitable plot. The other track is in Norfolk in 2021 and talks about Mathilde, another displaced soul, similar to Tom. She finds her long lost family and a special heritage in her inheritance that changes her life.
I particularly liked Marchant’s portrayal of Mathilde and her anguish, although I cannot claim that I understand the character’s sense of displacement and rootlessness all her life. The gradual germination of familial bonds in Mathilde, especially with her niece make sense in all of our nomadic lives. I could relate more to her than Tom Sutton, probably because it is often easier to comprehend the contemporary situations.
I must say that Marchant has done a stellar job with the research – bits of history, anecdotes, costumes and mannerisms of the Tudor period were a treat to read. The story progressed well and climaxed as expected. It was an interesting read and I’m looking forward to more from the author.
My rating: 4.2/5
Language: English, Genre: Fiction / History
Author(s): Clare Marchant
Publisher: Avon UK, Year Published: July 2021
Binding: Kindle, Edition: First, Pages: 390
ISBN : 0008454353, ASIN : B08R6Q4CC9
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*I received an advance review copy from Netgalley UK