WHEN MARGARET CAVENDISH, one of Elizabeth I's Gentlewomen of the Bedchamber, lost her life in a bungled attempt to kill the Queen, her daughter, Lady Grace, became a prot�g�e to the monarch, who takes Grace under her wing. Now Grace, a spunky girl who romps through the gardens with the laundry maids and court tumblers and rolls her eyes at her fellow
ladies, chronicles the court intrigues that swirl around her. . . .
It's the spring of 1569 and 13-year-old Lady Grace, the youngest lady-in-waiting to the Queen, finds herself at a glittering ball choosing amongst three suitors. But the Queen's generosity turns deadly as threats, dark secrets, and even murder descend on the Tudor court. And it is up to Grace to use her intelligence, stealth, and curious nature to solve the mystery that threatens the very lifeblood of England.
This snappily paced caper launches the Lady Grace Mysteries, a series of attractively designed and priced paper-over-board volumes written as journal entries in the "daybooke" of a young Maid of Honour to Queen Elizabeth I. On her deathbed a year earlier, Lady Grace Cavendish's mother (who was poisoned when she sipped tainted wine intended for the queen) entrusted the monarch with finding a suitable husband for her daughter. The queen has summoned three suitors to Whitehall Palace and, at a pageantry-filled St. Valentine's Day ball, Grace must chose one to wed. The girl selects bashful, stammering Lord Robert, who is then arrested for the stabbing of another suitor (an aiglet bearing Robert's family crest is discovered near the body). Realizing that it makes little sense for Robert, victorious in winning her hand, to have killed his former rival, Grace asks Queen Elizabeth to delay committing her intended to the Tower while she tries to "find out the truth of the matter." Thus the stage is set for this spunky sleuth to follow a curlicue trail of clues to crack the mystery. Peppered with Elizabethan expressions and Court titles (explained in a concluding glossary), the narrative provides an engaging look at 16th-century Court life. Readers will be encouraged to search out further intrigue in the series' second installment, Betrayal (ISBN 0-385-73152-3), due out the same month. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Delacorte Books for Young Readers
September 27, 2004
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