The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

The Other Countess

The Other Countess

During the reign of Queen Elizabeth, the young Earl of Dorset had no choice but to court an heiress to be his wife, given the ruin bought to his family by his father’s unfortunate love of Alchemy and patronage of Sir Arthur Hutton. Upon his father’s death, Will Lacey sent the alchemist and his daughter packing. Lady Eleanor Rodriguez of San Jaime had little choice but to follow her father from lodging to barn until four years later when he found patronage in the person of Lord Mountjoy.

Will Lacey has come to Windsor in search of an heiress. Instead he meets Ellie, the Lady Eleanor and begins a mild flirtation, never expecting that she would be the daughter of his arch nemesis, or that he would fall in love with her bravery and wit. Many trials stand in their way, not least of which is his betrothal to Lady Jane, the capturing of a Catholic Priest which throws doubt onto Ellie and her father’s loyalty to the crown, her father’s explosive death…

The path to true love is strewn with obstacles – and Will and Ellie’s journey is no exception!!!

A very entertaining tale. Well written and an interesting take on the characters and customs of Elizabethan England. Quite a few well known figures cross the paths of our main characters, adding extra interest when viewed from the perspective of star crossed love!

Suitable for teens with some hints at not so chaste behaviour, but no explicit scenes beyond the occasional kiss! Girls who like historical fiction will love this! Very enjoyable.

The Nostradamus Prophecy by Theresa Breslin

The Nostradamus Prophecy

The Nostradamus Prophecy

Set in France during the reign of King Charles and his mother, Catherine de’ Medici, this is the story of a young musician, Melisande who not only witnesses Nostradamus’ prophecy of massacre and death, but becomes caught up in court politics and espionage.

Melisande is the youngest of two daughters who travel with their father, a talented itinerant minstrel, who spends time with the French Court during King Charles’ his Royal Procession through the countryside. She  is very close to her father and particularly her sister Chantelle, spending most of her spare time playing her mandolin and helping to embroider her trousseau.

Nostradamus is largely ignored, however he chances to meet Melisande and allows himself to be pressured into a personal prophecy of doom and connection, telling her to seek him out in her hour of need. Her need comes sooner than she expected, however she is not without friends.

One of the King’s courtiers has ‘lent’ him a leopard and his handler, a boy called Malchior. When Malchior is whipped by the evil Count de Ferignay, she helps him and in return, when her sister is murdered by Ferignay and she herself is under threat, Melchior helps her to escape.

This is just the first quarter of the book!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Melisande is a feisty yet vulnerable character who is largely unaware of her own charms and also just happens to be a dedicated and talented musician. Melchior is only present for a small part of the story, however he definitely caught my imagination.

I know that the intrigues of the French Court are only vaguely covered in the book, but I don’t think any more time or detail needed to be spent on the machinations of the courtiers and especially the King’s mother, a member of the famous de’ Medici family – famous for their use of poison to dispose of their rivals…

A great read!