Review Blog

Oct 29 2010

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

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Razorbill Penguin, 2010. ISBN 9780141327303.
(Age 12+) This is a first novel by English author Eve Edwards who has a strong interest in Tudor times; this historical romance is obviously very well researched.
The story opens in 1578 when Ellie (Lady Eleanor Rodriguez of San Jaime) first sets eyes upon the young William Lacey. Ellie and her alchemist father are facing the wrath of William's family, upon discovery that the deluded man cannot make gold out of metal after all, yet much of the Lacey's family fortune has been lost in this ridiculous quest. Ellie and her father are dishonourably banished from the court. Four years later Ellie meets William again but this time they fall passionately in love. This is a romance to be tried and tested; family honour is at stake when Ellie is not considered worthy of William's advances.His responsibility is to restore his family's fortune.
The historical backdrop is impressive - war with Spain, conflicts between the Catholics and Protestants, court life and appearances made by Sir Walter Raleigh and Queen Elizabeth I.  Here is splendid historical detail - costumes, foods, conventions - all contained within an interesting narrative.  Young readers of historical novels will enjoy this story, and, as the subject matter is more of a human drama, rather than witchcraft and magic, new readers to the genre should take pleasure in the historical context. Discovering the turmoil in the minds of the young, living at this time, and the need to make imperative decisions for the sake of family and social standing, will highlight the differences with modern society.
This is a well written novel, especially suiting girls in the age group 12+.
Julie Wells

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