Thursday, September 29, 2011
Book Review: The Queen's Gamble by Barbara Kyle
In this latest installment of Barbara Kyle's Thornleigh series, after receiving ill news of her parents, Isabel Thornleigh returns to London with her husband, Carlos Valverde, and their son. What she finds surprises her, and she can't stand the secrets no one in her family will share. Yes, she and Carlos have built a successful life in the New World, but she remains the queen's loyal servant.
Isabel is recruited to smuggle money to the Scottish rebels, but Queen Elizabeth is unsure of her loyalty, and keeps Isabel's son, Nicolas, as a hostage until the mission is complete. Isabel finds opposition from within when Carlos is engaged as a military advisor to the French.
How high of a price must Isabel pay to prove her loyalty to her queen and her family?
What a superb historical. Rich in historical details, eloquently written, The Queen's Gamble takes you into the intrigue, passion, and courage that defines this era. We meet a vulnerable Elizabeth who is struggling to restore England to power and wealth while surrounded by enemies. Into this world, the fictional Thornleighs have been born by Kyle's masterful hand. Honor and Richard Thornleigh are older and wiser than when they first appeared in the first book of this series, The Queen's Lady. Their loyalty to Elizabeth has been steadfast, and they have been handsomely rewarded. With Isabel, Kyle has created a strong heroine, deeply in love with her husband, but treated as an outsider by her family because of her life in Peru. Isabel is a woman with feet in two worlds, but seemingly belonging to neither. Though deep in her heart she remains loyal to England, she has trouble gaining the trust of those around her. While she willingly offers to help the queen, she is surprised that the lack of trust goes so far that the Elizabeth would hold her young son captive to make sure Isabel completes her mission.
Carlos is dealing with issues of his own. Forced into service in exchange for a recommendation for a high position in Peru that will pay off his debts, he is soon thrust into a commanding role that puts him on opposite sides of this war than his wife. It's possible their once strong marriage might not survive.
I love books that carry me away into another world and make me eager to pick them up the minute I lay a bookmark inside to secure my place. The Queen's Gamble is certainly one of those books. While a perfect stand-alone novel, I don't think anyone will be able to read this one and not want to go back and read the three previous books. I know I'm going to.
Title: The Queen's Gamble
Author: Barbara Kyle
Also available in electronic formats.
The author paid me to promote this book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book. That fee did not include a review. This review contains my honest opinions, for which I received no monetary compensation.