Mistress of Mourning
by Karen Harper
Trade Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: NAL Trade
Released: July 3, 20122
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description from Back Cover:
London, 1501. In a time of political unrest, Varina Westcott, a young widow and candle maker for court and church, agrees to perform a clandestine service for Queen Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII--carve wax figures of four dead children, two of her offspring lost in infancy and her two brothers, the Princes of the Tower, whose mysterious disappearance years ago has never been solved. Having lost a child herself, Varina feels a sympathetic bond with the queen. And as she works under the watchful eye of handsome Nicholas Sutton, an ambitious assistant to the royals, she develops feelings of quite a different nature...
Then news comes from Wales of the unexpected death of newly married Prince Arthur, the queen’s eldest child and heir to the throne. Deeply grieving, Elizabeth suspects that Arthur did not die of a sudden illness, as reported, but was actually murdered by her husband’s enemies. This time her task for Varina and Nicholas is of vital importance--travel into the Welsh wilderness to investigate the prince’s death. But as the couple unearths one unsettling clue after another, they begin to fear that the conspiracy they’re confronting is far more ambitious and treacherous than even the queen imagined. And it aims to utterly destroy the Tudor dynasty.
Mistress of Mourning is a historical set in 1501 to 1503 in England and Wales. There was also a romance and a mystery to solve. I think what I liked most about this novel was that I felt like Varina was really a woman of her time rather than a woman with a modern mindset, and I found that an interesting viewpoint. Granted, she pushed the edges of what was acceptable in her time, but I felt like the motive for most of her actions was to help others find peace and safety rather than to try to get her own way.
The setting and characters were vividly described and came alive in my imagination. The characters were interesting and varied, and the main characters reacted in realistic ways to the situations they encountered. The suspense was created by the romantic tension, the danger to Varina and others, and the mystery of who killed the princes in the Tower years in the past.
There were no explicit sex scenes, but there were two intense, vaguely graphic kissing scenes. There was a minor amount of explicit bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and intriguing novel.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
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