Title: The Queen’s Spy
Author: Clare Marchant
Genre: Historical Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.05
A perilous mission. An unforgivable betrayal. A secret lost in time…
1584: Elizabeth I rules England. But a dangerous plot is brewing in court, and Mary Queen of Scots will stop at nothing to take her cousin’s throne.
There’s only one thing standing in her way: Tom, the queen’s trusted apothecary, who makes the perfect silent spy…
2021: Travelling the globe in her campervan, Mathilde has never belonged anywhere. So when she receives news of an inheritance, she is shocked to discover she has a family in England.
Just like Mathilde, the medieval hall she inherits conceals secrets, and she quickly makes a haunting discovery. Can she unravel the truth about what happened there all those years ago? And will she finally find a place to call home?
Enchanting and gripping, The Queen’s Spy effortlessly merges past with present in an unforgettable tale of love, courage and betrayal – perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Kathryn Hughes.
I’d like to thank NetGalley and Avon Books for approving me for an ARC of this book. I read Clare Marchant’s debut The Secrets of Saffron Hall last month and loved it so I hoped this one would live up to my expectations.
I’m pleased to say that Clare Marchant didn’t disappoint with this book. There’s always that pressure to be as good as your debut and Clare has delivered a story that is oozing with history and memorable characters.
I was so pleased to see the return of Tom from Clare’s first book. Whilst he featured as a secondary character in Saffron Hall he was one of my favourites. In The Queen’s Spy we meet Tom as an adult and learn what happened to him and Eleanor when they fled England. I loved that he had learnt so many apothecary skills from Eleanor and found a way to communicate despite being deaf and mute.
Historical fiction has got to be up there as one of my top genres to read but when a book is set during the Elizabethan era then my inner geek comes out as I love that period! Anything to do with Henry VIII or his children’s rule will always grab my attention. Tom’s role in helping to keep Queen Elizabeth on the throne was very interesting, his disability was seen as an advantage and although he suffered a lot of heartbreak I was pleased with how his story played out.
The likeness between Mathilde and Tom was uncanny. As soon as we learnt more of Mathilde’s back story you could see that these two characters were connected by more than just blood. Mathilde had my upmost sympathy for her start in life and the situation she came to at Lutton Hall. I could understand her confusion and the hurt but by the end of the story I felt she had found a true connection with the house and those around her.
With a dual timeline that cleverly weaves past and present together, the final conclusion is both satisfying and brilliantly executed. I wanted to solve the mystery of the triptych and the hidden message but I also didn’t want the story to end.