First published in the US: 10th April 2012
By: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
When beautiful Lady Jane Rievaulx begins her service to the Queen at Richmond Palace, she is thrilled to see the court's newest arrival . . . Master James Lacey.
No matter that Jane was previously courted by the eldest Lacey brother — James is the one who has won her heart. For his part, James cannot deny his fascination with Jane; his plans, however, do not allow for love. He is about to set sail on a treacherous journey to the Americas, seeking absolution for what he sees as past sins. But when Jane is forced into a terrible situation by her own family, only one man can save her. Will Master James return to his lady before it's too late?
Second Lacey brother James and Lady Jane were two of my favourite characters in The Other Countess, so I came into The Queen's Lady already excited to read about their romance. This companion novel/sequel begins about a year after the end of the first book and both James and Jane have suffered since then. James has witnessed terrible things in war and Jane has been widowed, is hated by her in-laws and back to being the pawn of her bullying father and brother again. In The Queen's Lady, James and Jane both seem beaten down and broken and far from the spirited and flirtatious characters they were in The Other Countess. Because of this, you do miss out on that sense of returning to much-loved characters - they're very different people here.
Although you don't have to read The Other Countess first to follow The Queen's Lady, I do advise it - I think to be invested in a love story, it helps to see how the couple met and how they first developed feelings for each other. James and Jane are already in love before The Queen's Lady begins and they actually don't have that many scenes together - James journeys to America, so they mostly long from afar. It definitely made The Queen's Lady better for me that I was already rooting for them from the first book.
In other hands, the things I've mentioned could have made The Queen's Lady a disappointment, but luckily, Eve Edwards is still skilled at keeping her romances as light, fizzy and delightful as a glass of champagne. All the best elements from The Other Countess are present here - the witty dialogue, the swoonworthy men, the courtly glamour - and especially the use of charming supporting characters. James's African servant, Diego, and Jane's seamstress, Milly, pretty much run away with this story. They are adorable, hilarious and very romantic, and the two of them standing strong against the prejudices of the age is easily as compelling a story as the main plot. And once the full Lacey clan turns up, the banter is back and the scenes between the siblings still go from rib-ticklingly funny to heart-warmingly sweet. I want to marry into the Lacey family. For reals. The youngest brother Tobias is still free.
The fun scenes and the happy endings are why I like this series. Things always wrap up so merrily and you'll find no complaints about the lack of realism from me. It's just too nice to read something and know that it will leave me smiling.
Rating: 4 stars
This book was provided to me by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for a fair and honest review.