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Reviewed by Sara Drake

Amy Dudley, like many women of her age, remained out of sight of the movers and shakers of the time. She would have lived and died without leaving a historical trace if her husband, Robert, had not been in pursuit of the Queen’s hand in marriage. Queen Elizabeth I of England had survived the reigns of her father, brother, and sister to gain the throne at the age of 25. Under intense pressure to marry, Elizabeth found herself surrounded by suitors, both foreign and domestic. Through it all, Robert Dudley appeared to have her heart. Amy’s existence appeared to be the sole obstacle to a match between the two.

Historians continue to debate the ultimate reason for Amy’s death, speculating whether it could have been murder, suicide, or another underlying health factor. Amy’s contemporaries found no answers but rumors abounded. One thing most agree upon is that the death of his wife ended Robert’s position as favored suitor though he and Elizabeth remained close until his death. Whatever the truth, the situation provides ample fodder for juicy fiction!

The Queen’s Pleasure provides a closer look at the life and death of Amy Dudley. The book alternates between Amy and Elizabeth’s point of view, providing a beautiful tale of love, ambition, and politics. I have always been intrigued by the relationship between Elizabeth and Robert and have read numerous accounts, both fiction and non-fiction, of their relationship. Amy always appears as a mysterious figure, no more than a name, and I am pleased to see her become a central figure in this book. Purdy does a delightful job at bringing Amy out of the shadows and into the light.

Purdy has written the best fictional account of Elizabethan England that I have read. I always enjoy reading about Elizabeth, as she remains one of the most complex historical figures. To stay alive during the reigns of other members of her family, she developed the ability to recreate herself to meet the needs of the current monarch, hiding her true self behind numerous layers. Purdy presents Elizabeth realistically as a young monarch struggling with the tensions between political needs and her own desires. She presents an equally compelling picture of Amy as the besotted wife of a man who outgrew her.

I recommend The Queen’s Pleasure to all those fascinated with Elizabethan England.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Please note that The Queen’s Pleasure will be published in UK under the title A Court Affair by Emily Purdy

Sara Drake has been an avid reader since a young age. She has both a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and a Master’s in History.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Kensington. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.a Rafflecopter giveaway