The Queen in Waiting: Mary Tudor Takes the Throne (Tudor Series #5), by David Field

Eight stars

David Field is back with another instalment of his Tudor series, educating readers about this history of this most entertaining of monarchical dynasties. Those who have followed the series to date will know that Henry VIII is gone, forcing the offspring to assume their time on the throne. Edward has served and died young, followed by the controversial Jane Grey. Now, it is time for Mary to ascend, though things are far from smooth for her. As she seeks to return England to its Catholic roots, Mary will have to remove all the Protestant hierarchy and reestablish a connection with Rome. While these may seem pressing, she also has the concern of offspring, having no one to whom she is betrothed. While Parliament seeks a fine Englishman for her, Mary has her eyes set on international connections, seeing an option in Philip of Spain, a country still a sworn enemy to England. Mary is adamant that she knows best, forging ahead with an alliance in memory of her mother. In the shadows is the young Elizabeth, who is happy to honour her sister, but far from a sycophant. Elizabeth has her own life to live, which seems to ruffle Mary’s feathers and she is called before the queen. When Mary appears to be pregnant, the Royal Court awaits formal news of an heir and Elizabeth must accept that her position in the secession must wait. However, not everything is always as it appears and Elizabeth’s role becomes all the more important, for herself and England as a whole. A wonderful mix of English history and some fictional interpretations, Field continues to dazzle with this piece and the series as a whole. Recommended to those who love all things Tudor, as well as the reader who finds historical fiction right up their alley.

I have long enjoyed the work of David Field, reading anything of his on which I could get my hands. His work here with the Tudors is of particular interest to me, as I enjoy this time period in English history. The story seeks to tell a double narrative, with the power that Mary has acquired as she tries to reshape England in her Catholic image, while Lady Elizabeth waits her turn and forges bonds of her own around Court. Field builds up both women throughout the piece, hinting at their differences and similarities in equal measure. This time is history was surely harrowing and with powerful women at play, it is an added layer of excitement. The story takes place over a short time period, but is full of history and political intrigue, leaving the reader to find themselves in the middle of what was an important time. A quick read with easy to digest chapters, Field has shown that he is a master at historical fiction without drowning the reader in the minutiae. As the Tudor dynasty is coming to an end, Field will have to pull out all the stops in the sixth novel. I cannot wait to see how it all comes together.

Kudos, Mr. Field, for another wonderful novel. I have thoroughly enjoyed all you’ve written and cannot wait for more.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: