Love my BBC podcasts! Thanks to listening to a HistoryExtra podcast I caught a great interview witu the author and that peaked my interest in this book. Fear not men, this is not a girly-girl book. This is a wonderful book by a Historian whose previous works were all non-fiction and all dealt with the Tudor dynasty. She decided to turn her attention to fiction and write about James 1 the first of the Stuart kings. Here we meet all the anger, jealousy, and deception of court life under King James who comes from Scotland and desires to rid England of its Papist (Catholic) past, along with stamping out all whom he describes as witches (basically herbalists and other women who allegedly put curses upon his family and kingdom.) We see all of this through the eyes of Frances Gorges, whose parents are minor royalty, and who is chosen by her uncle to come to the court to enhance the families chaces of success and advancement and who ends up as the lady of the bedchamber for 8-year old Princess Elizabeth.
This is really a wonderful historical story that deals with the advent of Protestantism in England, the operation of the court of James 1, as well as letting us know that James was pretty much a homosexual! (never knew that). And then we get to the gist of the story – this is about the Gunpowder Plot to blow up Parliament and kill James and his two sons in order to put Princess Elizabeth on the throne. These are not delights of fiction, instead the author weaves her tale while using historical characters and events. A few parts are a bit sluggish but on the whole this is a fast reading and interesting book on the events of the first few years under the rule of James 1 and all the intrigue that leads up to the failed Gunpowder Plot