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The Queen's Confidante Paperback – 2 Aug 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (Fiction) (2 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091947332
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091947330
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.5 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 332,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"With impeccable research and just enough romance . . . bestseller Harper illuminates a part of Tudor history often ignored. Harper writes with effortless prose and an expert take on the era." (Publishers Weekly)

Book Description

A fascinating and gripping Tudor-set historical novel from the author of THE QUEEN'S GOVERNESS and SHAKESPEARE'S MISTRESS

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary Selikow on 19 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback
A suspense story and historical of two remarkable women in the England of 1501-Varena Westcott a candle maker who mourns for her late husband, and one of her sons, while carving out beautiful wax models and bringing up her other little boy.
And Queen Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV, the sister of the princes in the tower and Queen of King Henry VII (as well as the mother of the future King Henry VIII)
Elizabeth of York's face was also what the the face of the Queen in playing card decks up to this very day are modeled on.

The Queen hires Varena to carve an effigies of her two late brothers and after the death of her elder son and heir Prince Arthur to help resolve what seems to be a murder by poisoning . From then she is swept into maelstrom of mystery, murder, suspense and fear, while being engaged in a romance with the dashing Nicholas.

The characters are strong and engaging and I enjoyed most the novel. Good setting and creatively and engagingly written.Only the end and the role played by Francis Lovell seems a bit off the wall, and detracts from the overall good and entertaining historical mystery
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By Mr. D. L. Rees TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 14 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Henry VII struggles to secure his hold on the throne, fervent Yorkists determined to get rid of him. Meanwhile his wife Elizabeth forms an unlikely friendship with feisty candlemaker Varina Westcott. They are united by circumstances: both mourn the tragic early death of a son called Edmund; both have a son Arthur on whom they dote.

Varina soon finds herself caught up in dastardly plots, her life increasingly at risk - cue for scares, threats, many chases, dramatic escapes. Lucky is she to have dashing courtier Nicholas Sutton as her protector. Hopefully he will survive to provide the ending readers want.

Well researched and absorbing, the novel offers possible explanations for two mysteries which have puzzled historians. Who ordered the deaths of Elizabeth's little brothers, those Princes in the Tower? How came Prince Arthur to die so suddenly?

Varina and Elizabeth take turns to narrate (a device which jars a little at first). Purists may nit-pick, but most readers will not - they enjoying Varina's determination to succeed in a man's world. It is true that from start to finish the book is death obsessed, but justifiably in the circumstances. It is also true certain sequences are somewhat melodramatic, but they add to the excitement - especially with suggestion of mystical aspects. Amongst particular pleasures is that depiction of young Catherine of Aragon and her loving (if probably unconsummated) relationship with youthful husband Arthur.

Appropriately, in view of Varina's trade, much light is shed here on a period of history overdue for illumination.

Recommended.
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By EllyBlue TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Tudor England is a well-ploughed furrow when it comes to historical novels but Karen Harper's book manages to feel fresh and interesting in spite of this. Set during the reign of Henry Tudor, it's the story of Varina, a widow, whose craft is to make candles. Because of her skills in shaping wax, she is brought to the attention of the the King's wife, Elizabeth of York. The story is told in the form of a dual narrative - sometimes that of Varina, and sometimes that of the Queen. What drives the plot fowards are two mysteries. One is well-known - the fate of Elizabeth of York's brothers, the so-called princes in the tower, and the other, whether there was any foul-play involved in the death of Elizabeth's eldest son and Henry Tudor's heir, Prince Arthur, recently married to Catherine of Aragon and sent to Ludlow.
I thought Karen Harper dealt very well with the intrigues that remained despite the end of the Wars of the Roses, giving enough detail about possible suspects whose loyalty was questionable without overwhelming the reader with detail. I enjoyed too the Tudor atmosphere that Harper conjures up. Varina's journey to meet the queen really showed that these two women were world's apart, and the scenes in an around Ludlow castle I found particularly evocative. I also liked Varina's character very much. She is anxious to make her way in her profession and be independent despite the constraints placed upon her by the men around her. Like the Queen, she is grieving the loss of a child.
If you enjoy Philippa Gregory, or Anne O'Brien, then I suspect that you will probably find this a good read too.
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By Helen S VINE VOICE on 12 Nov. 2012
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
One of the things I like about Karen Harper's books is the fact that although she writes about a period of history that has been covered many times before - the Tudor and Elizabethan era - she manages to find new and original ways to approach the subject. This latest novel, The Queen's Confidante, is set in 1501 and follows the adventures of a young woman with her own candle making business who becomes embroiled in two historical mysteries.

Her name is Varina Westcott and she's a candlemaker who specialises in making angel-shaped candles for funerals and who also has a talent for carving wax likenesses of real people. When Queen Elizabeth of York, wife to Henry VII, hears about Varina she secretly commissions her to make effigies of her dead children and also of her two younger brothers, the Princes in the Tower, who it is rumoured were murdered by Richard III. Elizabeth has always wanted to learn the truth behind the disappearance of her brothers, but if she delves too deeply into the mystery will she discover something she would rather not know?

Meanwhile, Elizabeth and Henry's eldest son, Prince Arthur, has just married the Spanish princess, Catherine of Aragon. When Arthur dies suddenly of a mysterious illness, Elizabeth asks Varina to investigate on her behalf. Varina has lost a child of her own so she understands the Queen's suffering and agrees to help. She is joined in her investigations by Nick Sutton, a courtier whose family fought against Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth and who is now trying to prove his loyalty to the new King.

The story is told in two alternating narratives, Varina's and the Queen's, though Varina's forms the largest part of the book.
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