When you really like a genre you tend to read a lot of books within it and therefore read a number of similar books. Books that take place in the same time periods, featuring the same monarchs, similar leading ladies, a stereotypical romance and plot line making it everything you want but sort of leaving out a lot of the surprise and mystique as you wonder what is going to happen next. Since because you are so familiar with this particular genre everything appears very predictable as if you have read it before… Unless you have read it before and it just takes you 250 pages to realize that. Which is what happened to me in this instance. Although, when I originally read it I -for some reason- never wrote review on it so please allow me to remedy that now.
Now, to be fair, I am quite well read in historical romances taking place during Queen Elizabeth I’s reign in the 1500s with a cunning female lead falling in love with a brute. Also, I remembered reading the first 20-30 pages before leaving it be for a while (of so I though). So for me to think that I was reading this novel for the first time was entirely plausible. Especially since it was on my “to be read” stack. But I have to say that this novel was just as good the second time around, even with the weird deja vu I was having with it.
Which was mainly in part with the intricate and provocative characters. Especially with the protagonist Lady Beatrice Knowles who was a very clever, honest, persuasive, deceiving and responsible with her loyalties to the country of England and her family. Even if it meant marrying out of necessity for her family’s fortune to be sustained or to flirt with uncivilized scotsmen in order to woo information out of them. Since Beatrice is a liar and tradeswomen of secrets, knowing all and choosing when to wield her knowledge or to just talk her way out of something. Unlike her fellow spies, or the maids of honor, who dealt more in the supernatural, shadows and force in comparison to Lady Beatrice. Then there was the scottish warrior Alasdair MacLeod who is dashing, strong and prideful but utterly infatuated with the engaged Lady Beatrice. But of course her Royal Highness (and many other -nesses) directs her head maid honor to flirt with the scot to Lady Beatrice’s great annoyance. Making Lady Beatrice’s internal monologue quite entertaining as she takes you through all her flirtations, deceptions and personal agenda.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed reading this novel, for the second time. The story is still enchanting, thoughtful, well crafted and entertaining. Definitely a must read for fellow fans of historical romances, mysteries and simply historical YA fiction.