Publication Date: 1st February 2013
Book Source: Thanks Harlequin Mira & Morey Media
Synopsis: The day Lord Hastings came into her husband’s store, Elizabeth saw the opportunity she had waited twelve years for — a way to separate herself once and for all from her dull, impotent husband, William Shore. The handsome stranger presented not only the chance to partake in the dance of desire, but legal counsel to annul her 12-year marriage.
She did not, however, foresee her introduction to the King of England, nor her future at his side…and in his bed. From this unlikely alliance, Elizabeth is granted severance from Shore, and finds herself flourishing in the radiance of the King’s admiration. But she soon finds that her new position comes at a terrible price — her family has shunned her, the people of London have labelled her a harlot and the Queen’s family want her to burn in Hell.
So long as King Edward and Lord Hastings stay close, Elizabeth is safe. However, her beloved Ned falls ill and Lord Hastings falls out of favour.
Can Elizabeth's wiles keep her out of trouble? Or will they lead her to further trouble...and the hangman's noose?
We don't have a wealth of historical fiction writers in Australia and I love the historical period of The War Of The Roses through to the Tudor era so I jumped at the chance to read Mistress to the Crown by Australian author Isolde Martyn. It's received mixed reviews but my experience was definitely on the favourable side.
As lover to Lord Hastings, the King's Chamberlain then much loved mistress to King Edward IV (Ned) I was surprised to find Elizabeth (Jane) Shore such an appealing figure, especially since I'm a little biased towards Edward's wife Elizabeth Woodville. Elizabeth Shore is sympathetically portrayed, not as a grasping, notorious whore but spirited, playful and compassionate, champion of the the poor and unfairly treated.
Mistress to the Crown covers the latter part of Edward's reign, his death and the beginning of his brother Richard's reign and whilst the focus is on Elizabeth's relationships with the men in her life, the story certainly isn't bereft of historical and political detail and intrigue.
For me this period in history has long held appeal, even more so with the recent discovery of Richard III's remains. I found my first experience of Isolde Martyn's writing engaging and I'll be reading more for sure.
The Penance of Jane Shore by William Blake, c.1780
Want to know more about Isolde Martyn and her work? Visit her website