Book: Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle
Genre: Historical Fiction, Tudor
Source + Date Read: Review request and review copy sent by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours + April 2013
Book Pro’s: Nice writing style.
Book Con’s: I really didn’t like the protagonist, and the story had a tendency to drag.
About Blood Between Queens
Following her perilous fall from a throne she’d scarcely owned to begin with, Mary, Queen of Scots, has fled to England, hoping her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, will grant her asylum. But now Mary has her sights on the English crown, and Elizabeth enlists her most trusted subjects to protect it.
Justine Thornleigh is delighting in the thrill of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to her family’s estate when the festivities are cut short by Mary’s arrival. To Justine’s surprise, the Thornleighs appoint her to serve as a spy in Mary’s court. But bearing the guise of a lady-in-waiting is not Justine’s only secret. The weight of her task is doubled by fears of revealing to her fiancé that she is in truth the daughter of his family’s greatest rival. Duty-bound, Justine must sacrifice love as she navigates a deadly labyrinth of betrayal that could lead to the end of Elizabeth’s fledgling reign…
Compelling and inventive, Blood Between Queens artfully blends history’s most intriguing figures with unforgettable characters, bringing to dazzling life the fascinating Tudor era.
About the Author
Barbara Kyle is the author of the acclaimed Tudor-era “Thornleigh” novels Blood Between Queens, The Queen’s Gamble, The Queen’s Captive, The King’s Daughter and The Queen’s Lady which follow a rising middle-class family through three tumultuous Tudor reigns. She also writes contemporary thrillers. Over 400,000 copies of her books have been sold in seven countries. In July 2013 Barbara will be a speaker at Ontario’s world-renowned Stratford Festival with her talk “Elizabeth and Mary, Rival Queens: A Study of Leadership Lost and Won” about the cousin-queens Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots featured in Blood Between Queens.
Barbara has taught writers at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and is known for her dynamic workshops for many writers organizations and conferences. Before becoming an author Barbara enjoyed a twenty-year acting career in television, film, and stage productions in Canada and the US.
I enjoyed Blood Between Queens, let me say that first. But did I enjoy it a lot? Not really. Would I read this again? Probably not. I’d recommend this to everyone that enjoys a good Tudor era book as it would be right up their alley. As for me, I’m a bit Tudor-ed out I think, as this was my 4th in a month (my own fault for getting swept into the genre!) and I had to compel myself to finish the book a number of times.
The story is told from Justine’s point of view, which I found to be the most damaging part of the book. How can one person have so much going on? She has secrets upon secrets and I sort of felt like I was drowning in them. She’s flawed and nuanced, which is something that I must admit is an asset to this book. I just found found her deluge of troubles to be a bit tedious and distracting.
That being said, the book is well written and has a smooth pace; I’m very picky about pace so I appreciated Kyle’s style. If ratings were based on pace or writing style alone Kyle would have done extremely well!
Also, this book is the 5th in a series, which I didn’t realise when I picked it up. It didn’t take away from the novel at all. As the fifth installment it stood on its own very well. However, I don’t know how die-hard fans of the series would feel. Maybe I should read the 4th to see how the series flows? Don’t get me wrong, I really did like this book, so much so that I am considering reading the others in the series, I just couldn’t get over the irksome nature of the lead characters, which isn’t so much a flaw with the book but just my general response to them.