THE VIRGIN'S DAUGHTER – Laura Andersen
A Tudor Legacy Novel
Ballantine Books
ISBN: 978-0-8041-7936-2
May 2015
Historical Fiction

England and France during the Reign of Elizabeth I

Let's change history a bit and pretend that Elizabeth Tudor married and had a daughter. As the story opens, Queen Elizabeth is in the processing of divorcing her husband, King Philip of Spain. The English monarch has managed to keep their daughter well away from his Catholic charms, as well as away from court as much as possible. Princess Anne Isabella chafes to have more freedom, but has been lucky to have been allowed to spend many holidays and summers with the Courtenay family.

As usual, Elizabeth is under attack from the Catholic rulers, and her spy network has zeroed in on one family in France in particular: the LeClercs. In order to ferret out which member of the family is plotting against the queen, Elizabeth and her main spy master, Francis Walsingham, know that the eldest Courtenay daughter, Lucette, is friends with Charlotte LeClerc Bertran, and she's been invited to visit Charlotte in France. Walsingham is fairly convinced that one of the LeClerc sons is the culprit, either Nicolas or Julien. Reluctantly, Lucette agrees and travels to France with her teacher, Dr. Dee.

Lucette is very much her own woman, especially since discovering that her real father is not the man her mother is married to. As a child, she was very fond of Nicolas LeClerc, whose father is close friends with Lucette's “father”, Dominic Courtenay. Now, Nicolas is a grieving widower with a young son, and his brother, Julien, is a roguish, sarcastic young man whom Lucette abhors. Still, she must find out which son is the enemy.

THE VIRGIN'S DAUGHTER is an interesting alternate history of the Tudors. Not having read any of the previous books, I will say that I was lost during some of the scenes that most certainly referred to something that happened earlier. Also, having read just about everything ever published in fiction about the Tudors, I had trouble wrapping my head around this version. That being said, the writing is excellent, as are the really well done characterizations.

An interesting tale which is very much a mystery as well as a romance, THE VIRGIN'S DAUGHTER is a fun book. But I do highly recommend reading the previous novels in this series. Please see the author's website at http://www.lauraandersenbooks.com/

Jani Brooks