The Queen’s Lady by Joanna Hickson is a delightful read about a key woman behind the scenes of the Tudor crown, trusted and loved by two queens. Second in the ‘Queens of the Tower’ series, it follows Lady Joan Guildford nee Vaux who we first met in The Lady of the Ravens. Joan is now lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, wife of Henry VII and mother of Prince Arthur and Prince Henry. It is 1502 and the story starts as Arthur, Prince of Wales, marries Princess Katherine of Aragon. There are worries for Arthur’s health and when a messenger knocks on the door late one night, he brings a request that ‘Mother Guildford’ should rush to the side of the Queen. Loyalties change overnight and friendships disappear. The storyline of the Tudors is well-known but this book shows the history from the point of view of courtiers, the way the court worked and the fragility of such positions in the gift of the king. After Arthur’s death, followed quickly by that of his queen, Henry VII becomes insular and paranoid, he listens to new advisors and fears those closest to him are treacherous. Joan’s husband Richard is accused of fraud and, despite Joan’s history as governess to countless princes and princesses, the family lose their position at court.
When reading some historical novels, I find myself questioning the history and noticing the heavy use of historical fact. Hickson’s writing is a delight, she conjures the period with a light touch. Joan is present at a series of critical events of the period – the meeting with the French king at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, the coronation of Henry VIII and marriage to Katherine of Aragon, Princess Mary’s journey to Scotland and marriage to King James, and the journey to France with Princess Margaret to marry Louis XII.
There is romance, hardship, fear, grief and new love. The ravens are still there but are not central to this story, as they were the first. It’s not clear if this is simply the sequel to the first Joan Vaux book, or whether Hickson will continue with a third.
Joan Guildford died in 1538 at the age of 75, eighteen years after the ending of this novel. So plenty more years for Hickson to imagine the life of this fascinating woman.
Don’t miss it.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THIS BOOK
Click the title to read my review of THE LADY OF THE RAVENS, first in the Queens of the Tower series.
If you like this, try:-
‘Winter Pilgrims’ by Toby Clements
‘The Forgotten Sister’ by Nicola Cornick
‘Cecily’ by Annie Garthwaite
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
THE QUEEN’S LADY by @joannahickson #bookreview https://wp.me/p2ZHJe-63w via @SandraDanby