The book is well written. It is obvious that the author has done an immense amount of research into the families and the history of the time. The pace is fast and the story reaches a satisfying conclusion.
The Plot in Brief: Set in the Devonshire countryside of Tudor England, this is the fictionalized story of Katherine Champernowne, the mother of Sir Walter Raleigh.
The Characters: I’ll start by saying this book contains a very long cast of characters, often with the same or similar sounding names. The families in the story include the Champernownes, Carews, Courtenays, Gilberts and the Raleighs. I admit that I was at times confused as too who was who, especially as the families were intermarried. Many of the side characters were thinly fleshed out and remained unmemorable. The main characters, Katerine, her first husband Oto Gilbert and her second, Walter Raleigh received more attention and I felt we got to know something of who they might have been.
Katherine and Oto married at a young age and never grew to love each other. Oto was a rather feckless young man held back by an overbearing uncle. Katherine struggles to find her identity as a wife and mother, eventually coming into her own. After Oto’s untimely death, Katherine marries the love of her life, Walter Raleigh. Their relationship was a bit of an eye-roll for me, but romance lovers will enjoy it.
The History: This, the history, is what I really enjoyed about the book. The events of the day are seen and lived by families who are not all part of the inner circle of the Tudor world. They have one foot in the world of Henry VIII and his children, usually a son whose seeking fame and fortune at court, but most are working hard to keep the family out of debt and expand their influence in the local community.
I also enjoyed reading about the move from Catholicism to the Protestant religion, how each person accepted or rejected the changes depending on their convictions and those of the current monarch.
The Writing: The book is well written. It is obvious that the author has done an immense amount of research into the families and the history of the time. The pace is fast and the story reaches a satisfying conclusion.
Overall: I really enjoyed the historical setting and learning about the daily life of a well to do Tudor family. I am not a huge romance fan, so I glazed over that part of the story. At times, it felt like there was almost too much history which overshadowed the actual storyline. But overall, a great read. Highly recommend.
Original review :