Book Tour Review: Blood Between Queens by Barbara Kyle

Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Title: Blood Between Queens
Author: Barbara Kyle
Genre: historical fiction
Series: Thornleigh #5
Pages: 448
Published: April 30 2013
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for review
Rating: 3.5/5

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.

With Blood Between Queens, the fifth book in her Tudor-era series centered on the fictional Thornleigh family, Barbara Kyle again shows she is no newcomer to the historical fiction genre. Her grasp on the history, on the characters and historical figures involved and on plotting are top notch and ably showcase a well-developed and thought-out novel. Though it is far from the first in the popular and long-running Thornleigh series, Blood Between Queens works well as a standalone novel;one that readers who have not read the first four can still easily pick up and immerse themselves in. A strong novel, with an invented but intelligent main character, this latest Thornleigh adventure ties in action, pirates, secret love affairs, family feuds, treason and rebellion all neatly into a detailed plot that never really lets up.

Justine Thornleigh, née Grenville, is young, smart, secretive and conflicted young noblewoman with a secret past she fears being revealed. Caught between her adopted family and the father who abandoned her eight years before, her life winds up being a key element in a far more dangerous struggle than the deadly family feud that has entrenched her birth family and her adoptive one since before her birth and later illicit adoption. Between two strong-willed cousins, who both happen to be Queens, Justine finds herself with an expected sympathy for the plight of the thrice married and twice widowed Queen of Scots. At odds with her upbringing and family belief in the rightful rule of Queen Elizabeth, Justine's actions complicate more than just her own life, but the fate of England itself. Deftly handled, the maneuvering and manipulation of Justine from several sides keeps tension high and the outcome, even for those familiar with the history, interesting.

Barbara Kyle is also adept at intermixing fact with fiction, period details with key plot elements. The mixing of fictional and real, both characters and events, adds a fresh element to a story that has been told dozens of times before. Her ability to create a vibrant world, in which her characters operate, provides a well-realized and described version of the Tudor court. It, and these characters, may be well-trod territory, but Kyle keeps it interesting with new developments and some slight twists on the mythos of the Virgin Queen. Under this author's pen, the conflicts of Justine to find the right path, of Elizabeth to do right by her fellow monarch without sacrificing her sovereignty, of Mary to be treated as she wishes, are universally well-written and fresh, despite the familiar ground.

There are several side plotlines that help to propel the novel - there's the missing seafarer Adam Thornleigh, the murder of a friend of Justine's - but the main focus of the novel is on Justine, as she is caught between her past and her future, her Queen and the woman she feels an unanticipated kinship for, her birth father and the man who raised her. A fast, adventure-filled read, with Blood Between Queens Barbara Kyle will not disappoint longtime fans of her Thornleigh series, and managed to create a new one. The first four are also fairly cheap for ebook, so this is one series I will continue, due to how much I enjoyed the latest offering.

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Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Monday, April 29
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading
Feature & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, April 30
Review at Bitches with Books
Review at The Broke and the Bookish

Wednesday, May 1
Guest Post & Giveaway at The True Book Addict

Thursday, May 2
Review at The True Book Addict
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books

Friday, May 3
Review at Let Them Read Books
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Monday, May 6
Review at Broken Teepee
Review at Bibliophilic Book Blog

Tuesday, May 7
Review & Guest Post at The Lit Bitch
Guest Post & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, May 8
Review at One Book at a Time
Review & Giveaway at Always with a Book

Thursday, May 9
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Review & Interview at A Bookish Libraria
Review & Giveaway at Book of Secrets

Friday, May 10
Review, Guest Post & Giveaway at Drey’s Library
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Monday, May 13
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, May 14
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, May 15
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Guest Post at The Musings of ALMYBNENR

Thursday, May 16
Review at Turning the Pages

Friday, May 17
Review at Enchanted by Josephine
Guest Post at Turning the Pages

1 comment:

  1. Glad to hear this was enjoyable enough (and that it managed to work as a stand-alone. Love a good Tudor book so will have to be on the lookout for this one. Great review!! :)


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