Lady Eleanor Rodriguez, Countess of San Jaime hasn't had an easy life living with her father the alchemist. He's much more interested in his profession and his experiences than he is in buying the proper clothes for her, sending her to school, or even putting a roof over her head.
Now, after a stroke of good luck, Ellie finds herself at Queen Elizabeth's court. There she meets Lady Jane Perceval, who wealth is reflected in her clothing and her manners. After an entertaining introduction where they talk about the uselessness of their clothing, they become fast friends.
One man could threaten their newly formed relationship. William Lacey, the Earl of Dorset needs a wealthy wife to help his estate survive. He's quite taken with Ellie. Ellie doesn't have a penny to her name. Plus the two have a history that Ellie's not sure she can overlook. While he wants to marry Ellie, he'll have to propose to Jane.
Can the two women keep their friendship? Will they be able to find love on their terms?
My Thoughts: I've been wanting to read this book for a while. It took me a little bit to get into it, but then I was hooked. I really loved the friendship between Jane and Ellie. I loved they spoke about their world, the frivolities, and how little power women hold. For me, the book wasn't about the romance (although I did like that part), it was about their friendship.
I found the men at court ungentlemently (Henry in particular), sweet (Robert Cecil), or a mixture of both (Will). I actually wasn't fond of Will. I didn't sympathize with his character and I didn't like his behavior. I adored James and Tobias (Will's younger brothers). I found them entertaining and charming.
I liked the different perspectives from various ranks. I liked reading about the servants' life. I liked Deigo. I wasn't fond of Nell. I hated Turville. Still, I appreciated the class differences.
While I understand the pressures of society, it was sometimes hard to read the cruel words spoken by some characters. However, it was interesting to see the various social, religious, and political motives for actions.
I found this book showcased social class very well along with the power of women and money. I loved reading about court. I liked the romantic entanglements. I liked the descriptions: court and the Lacey estate. I'm very interested in the next book: The Queen's Lady which features Jane as the main character.
Cover Thoughts: I like it
Source: My Library
Challenge: Historical Fictional Challenge 2012