The Queen of Heaven is a historical fiction novel that is the second book in the Maid of Gascony series. When it comes to this genre, I love it! Especially when it is centred around the royal courts of England. I have a soft spot for any royal history, and this book is as good as any other I have read. Here is the synopsis.
The White Tower. A terrible vision. Her home invaded and precious documents stolen.
Lady Isabelle must flee her pursuers, posing as a young male scholar in the New College of St Mary in Oxford. But when she learns she is with child it won’t be long until she is discovered amongst their ranks. Can she bring herself to love an infant conceived in evil? And will she ever be reunited with her beloved Richard, or will Sir Henry Lormont’s dagger find him first?
This deftly plotted 15th century novel traverses the well-trodden pilgrimage routes from Oxford to Rome encountering lepers, assassins, sea rovers and historical figures Lady Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor along the way. Superbly researched by a scholar of the period, Clover blends history with the riveting story of a woman who overcomes the restrictions placed on her sex to create a page-turning novel.
I haven’t read the first book, so I wasn’t too certain how this would be for me to dive straight in the second one. Catherine Clover has written her characters so well that as you begin to read, you feel like you know them. Lady Isabelle is a strong and determined woman who we see battling for the love of her life and everyone around her.
The period that The Queen of Heaven is set in is such a rich time in history. The details in this riveting story sent me spinning back in the time of Lady Margaret Beaufort and the other historically important figures of the time. I have read such a lot about Lady Margaret Beaufort and all the prominent historical events surrounding her and her son specifically. I revelled in the fact that she appears in this story.
Being a history geek, I did love the true historical events that Catherine Clover so skilfully interwove with the fiction. She Did it so well I couldn’t always tell where the fiction ended and the facts began. This is the mark of a fabulous writer who does thorough research too.
The 15th century is recreated so well, and the author does not shy away from the brutality of this time, either. I did think this lent to the authenticity of the age this story was set in. I felt like I was with Lady Isabelle, and I was away from my present-day life. I was so engrossed that I didn’t want to stop reading. As I got to the final page, I didn’t want to leave. I enjoyed this so much that I started the first book after I put this book down.
I recommend this to anyone who enjoys a richly detailed historical fiction book that sweeps you into the period so easily.
Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours and Catherine Clover for my copy of the book to bring you my thoughts today.