Reviewed by Jennifer Joyce
Lucy Morgan is one of Queen Elizabeth I’s ladies, favoured in court for her singing. Lucy has been at court since she was in her teens, but her place is put in jeopardy upon the arrival of William Shakespeare. Lucy and Will knew one another when they were younger, before Lucy arrived at court and when Will was just a boy. But Will is a man now, a man full of passion and desire aimed at Lucy. Lucy finds herself attracted to Will, but she must resist his charms for fear of upsetting the queen and finding herself dismissed from court.
Reigning over England isn’t an easy task for Elizabeth, battling with her Privy Council over the execution of her cousin, Mary Stewart, while dodging assassination attempts and dealing with her ailing health. To make matters worse, her beloved Robert Dudley, the only man she has ever truly loved, has married another woman in secret and without seeking her permission.
Plots to assassinate Elizabeth and place her catholic cousin Mary on the throne are rife, but the queen has many spies to intercept plans and infiltrate known groups of traitors. One such spy is Goodluck, guardian and protector of Lucy Morgan. When Goodluck accepts his latest mission, he risks his own life and unwittingly puts those he loves in the path of danger.
His Dark Lady is absolutely crammed with drama, from Lucy and Will’s forbidden affair, to the queen’s ongoing battle with the Catholics who strive to murder her and return England to the catholic faith. Goodluck’s tale, which is tense and dangerous, was my favourite, though I enjoyed the book as a whole. Goodluck constantly risks his life in order to keep the queen safe and he is both brave and determined in his missions. With conspiracies, double agents and traitors, it is sometimes difficult to know who to trust in Goodluck’s line of work, which only makes it more intriguing.
It was fantastic to get an insight at life at court. Elizabeth is a complicated character and one who I would feel deep sympathy for one moment and despair the next. But any scene which contained Elizabeth was far from dull. I also found Will's story interesting, as the book is set before he becomes a successful playwright and he is still tinkering around with old plays while acting to scrape a living.
His Dark Lady is part of a trilogy, something I didn’t realise until I read the author’s notes at the end of the book. I obviously didn’t notice any gaps, or feel I was missing any information, so it can be read as a standalone. The book is full of action and drama and could be quite intense at times as danger lurked, all of which kept me turning the pages to see how it would all unfold.
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