The Poyson Garden (1999)

#1 in Elizabeth I,
 4.5 (4 RATINGS)
ISBN: 0440225922
ISBN-13: 9780440225928
Published: 1999
Pages: 302
Publisher: Dell
Find at: Amazon | Others


Imagine a cross between the films Elizabeth and Shakespeare in Love (without the latter's jokes) and you'll get some idea of this first entry in Karen Harper's Bess Tudor series of historical mysteries. It's 1558, and the 25-year-old Elizabeth, her life and family threatened by the dying, jealous Queen Mary, actually dresses up like a boy and slips off to Hever Castle. There she bonds with the spirit of her mother, Anne Boleyn, and solves several murders. In lesser hands, such a plot might seem unlikely. But, as she has done in such previous books as Black Orchid, Dark Road Home, and Empty Cradle, Harper stills disbelief and quickens interest with her impeccable research and competent prose. The former high school English teacher knows how to create characters that leap to life despite the accumulated weight of previous books and films: her Elizabeth is a smart, sad, tough, and feisty original, fully worthy of both her mother and her father's heritage. It should be great fun to watch her grow and solve future mysteries. --Dick Adler -- From Review

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