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The Doublet Affair Hardcover – 21 Sep 1998

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orion (21 Sep 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752807277
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752807270
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.5 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,948,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Fiona Buckley is the author of eight historical mystery novels featuring Ursula Blanchard: To Shield the Queen, The Doublet Affair, Queen's Ransom, To Ruin a Queen, Queen of Ambition, A Pawn for a Queen, The Fugitive Queen, and The Siren Queen. She lives in North Surrey, England. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this, the second adventure for Mistress Ursula Blanchard, lady in waiting and intelligencer for the Virgin Queen, Ursula is sent to the home of a well-known but hitherto quiet Catholic family in Oxfordshire, where in her last mystery, she briefly enjoyed hospitality.
The home of the Masons is chaotic, with a harrassed wife Ann to eccentric scholar and inventor Leonard along with a dusty priest Dr Crichton, who tries and fails to keep the elder boys' spirits in check. Ursula has left behind life at court and her little daughter Meg and also gone against her heart's desire to be reconciled to her recusant husband Matthew, currently in exile in France for his Catholic plots (of which Ursula foiled one and had to choose between her husband and her queen/country). Ostensibly there to help Ann tutor her girls in embroidery and dancing, Ursula, with the aid of her faithful servants Fran Dale and Roger Brockley, must find out what's afoot at the Mason household, which led to one of William Cecil's spies being murdered, apparently a plot involving the ever-threatening Mary Stuart and a bid to put her on Elizabeth's throne. There are plenty of puzzling things going on - faked tapestries adorning the walls, blueprint sketches of crazy inventions including a flying contraption and hidden invoices in ripped doublets. But can she work out what it all means before her enemies send her the way of William Cecil's other spy?

The story is good overall, though a little slow in places, and rather long-winded at the end. But still worth a read, with a nice little play on words twist to finish.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 14 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Not as good as the first, but still a good story 16 Jun 2000
By Heather L. Williams - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I quickly bought this second book of Fiona Buckley's after reading the first book, "To Shield the Queen". Although I didn't find this one quite as intriguing as the first, it was a quick-moving, fun, interesting story. Although it helps if you have read the first novel before reading this one so that you will understand who all the characters and their relationships are, it is not required. This was one that definitely kept me guessing until the end. And again, Ms. Buckley's fictional account of historical events is creative and fun to read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A pleasant read, with elements that puzzle. 30 Sep 2005
By Adrienne Wilson - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a good book, not great, but good. The main character, Ursula, is a sprited young woman who is a lady in waiting at court, a spy for the queen, a mother of a six year old girl, a widow due to a smallpox outbreak, and wife of a catholic traitor living in exile in France. All of these elments would seem to make her either far-fetched or highly entertaining. Yet, you'd be amazed at how quickly you will tire of her adventures. Her relationship with the queen is an odd mix of distant and inproper intimacy. Her initial assigment in spying is utterly vague to the point of confusion. So often we are wondering just what is she trying to ascertain. So much of the book is Ursula following hunches that the reader is left ignorant of. Subtle witty exchanges lose there fizzle because you don't know the underlying meaning. And regretfully you never will. Many of the characters in the novel are quite charming, though undeveloped, and enter and exit in the strangest and at times grusome ways. Others such as the daughter are never heard from at all ,yet there mere mention is supposed to pull at our heartstrings.

The author would have been better served by writing in 3rd person. Then leaving the reader in the dark in so many ways would have so much more excusable. Do not read this book if you are particular about the history in your historical fiction, at times Ursula is very 21st century. Her "atenna is alerted" at one point and a young boys face is described as being "marred by acne".
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A good read 29 Mar 2000
By FireSign - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone that likes a good mystery. From what I know of English history, it is not only historically accurate but also plausible.
It is a story about Ursula Blanchard, a Lady in Waiting to the young Elizabeth I of England. The story is set during the beginning of Elizabeth's reign. Mary, Queen of Scots, Elizabeth's cousin and a Catholic, wants to return to England from France, take over the English throne and return England to the "true religion." There are plots afoot to discredit Elizabeth and set the stage for Mary's return. Ursula Blanchard is requested to spy on the Leonard family, who are Catholics that she happens to be friends with, resulting in all sorts of unexpected twists and turns in the plot. The man that had been spying on the family previously has been found dead under suspicious circumstances. The thinking is that because she is a woman no one will suspect Ursula of being a spy. However, there are those that apparently know what she is and they are loyal to Mary. Her intense loyalty to the Protestant Queen Elizabeth is also tested by the fact that her husband, a French Catholic that she loves dearly, demands that she join him in France or the marriage is over. The Queen will not let her go until the plot against her is found out and routed. This is court intrigue at it's best, and a pretty good read. I think I'll have to read some other works by this author.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Mesmerizing historical mystery 4 Oct 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
In 1561, Lady Ursula Blanchard is elated that her beloved spouse Matthew is willing to take her back after she left him to perform a duty for Queen Elizabeth I (see TO SHIELD THE QUEEN). Ursula quickly makes up her mind to retire from spying and quietly live with her husband and daughter. However, to leave England for France where her husband resides requires Elizabeth's blessing and her majesty knows that Matthew wants to put Mary on the throne. Instead the Queen rejects Ursula's request and tasks her with an assignment.

Ursula accepts a job as companion to the children of Ann and Leonard Mason. The Queen and her advisor Sir William Cecil believe the couple is planning treason against her highness. Elizabeth wants the details and Ursula is her dupe to obtain them even if it places her life in jeopardy.

The second novel in the Ursula Blanchard historical mysteries is a great amateur sleuth tale that takes readers inside the political treacheries that swirl throughout the higher echelon of sixteenth century England. The authentic story line is a winner that will please fans of the sub-genre. However, it is the characters and their interplay that turns Fiona Buckley's THE DOUBLET AFFAIR into a delectable novel is must reading.

Harriet Klausner
Lose yourself in the court of Queen Elizabeth I 22 Dec 2006
By gypsy18 - Published on
Format: Paperback
I am new to Fiona Buckley's books (the nom de plume of UK author Valerie Anand). I stumbled upon the audio version of the third book in the Ursula Blanchard series which is Queen's Ransom. I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I started at the beginning with To Shield A Queen (or A Robsart Mystery). It was exciting & intriguing on many levels. I love the Elizabethan era & am a dyed-in-the-wool Anglophile, so I was in my element reading these novels. I love Buckley's descriptions of the clothes, sights, smells, villages, horses, public houses, &, most of all, life as a lady of the presence chamber of Queen Elizabeth I's court. The Doublet Affair was a great read & a true escape from everyday humdrum suburban existence. I looked forward to returning to it when my family was tucked in for the night. I particularly enjoy the fact that Ursula is a widow with a young daughter who has remarried a man she passionately loves, although it is decidedly not a marriage of convenience. She adores her daughter, but must do her duty to herself, her child & her queen by leaving her daughter in foster care so that Ursula can make a good living as a lady-in-waiting to the Queen AND as a spy for Elizabeth, who is dogged by enemies near & far. I find Buckley's writing to be illustrative of the period but at the same time exceedingly accessible. I love Dorothy Dunnett but find her books to be almost projects for me (requiring a companion book so I can attempt to understand her vocabulary & arcane references). Fiona Buckley's books are fun & enthralling, & it's refreshing to read about a feminist protagonist in the mid-16th century. As a postscript, the audiobook reader, Nadia May, is one of my favorites (check out Coming Home by Rosamund Pilcher on audio). She makes the Ursula Blanchard series a real treat that will envelop you & maybe even become an addiction.
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