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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 19 September 2009
Eleanor had a happy childhood in 16th century England, during the reign of King Henry VIII. Her loving and indulgent parents allowed her to ride horses, learn to joust with her cousin and younger brother, and did not scold her too much for her failure to learn ladylike tasks such as sewing. That all changed when Eleanor is eleven. Her father, suddenly a different man than the one she had known all her life, falsely accused her mother of terrible crimes and had her locked in a tower in their home.

The story picks up four years later. In the aftermath of these events, Eleanor has become estranged from her father, and from her younger brother who is close to her father and cannot remember the time before her mother was imprisoned. She secretly conspires with the servants and villagers to deliver food and messages to her mother, and to save her from her father's plots to have her killed. Her father had her betrothed to a much older man but he died before the wedding day, to Eleanor's relief. However, now that she is fifteen, he has chosen another man to be her husband. His choice, Lord Stanton, is young and handsome, but she believes he is on her father's side, and she knows if she marries and leaves her home, her mother will have no one left to protect her from her father.

The Lady in the Tower is a wonderful young adult historical novel set in the Tudor era, one of my favorite time periods. Eleanor is a lively and likeable character, and the book has a perfect blend of history, intrigue, and romance. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy young adult historical fiction and I look forward to reading more from Marie-Louise Jensen, who is a promising new writer in this genre.
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on 5 July 2012
I'm writing this quite a few years after I read it, partially because I realised it was one of the few of the authors books I hadn't reviewed on here and because I remember loving this very much. I still remember the story quite clearly and the way it made me feel.
Tudor England was not a very friendly place for a woman and I really felt for Eleanor's plight. It's bad enough to have your mother accused of a crime she didn't commit, but it's even worse when you witness them punished for years on end; locked away from everyone and everything.

There are lots of things I loved about this book; the first being the attention to detail. Tudor England is described in such a way you can imagine it vividly (and have the sense to know you'd hate to live there) and picture the events in the story unfolding, which I really love to experience in a book.
The second thing I really love is the way the story unfolds. It isn't rushed and everything comes together cleverly for the ending and yet it still surprised me, and though i did find the ending sad in some respects, I found it to be very romantically uplifting.

I also have fond memories of this being one of the first Historical Fiction novels I ever read (it wasn't a genre I'd heard of much until then) and since then I've been hooked on them, so I have a lot to thank this book for.
If you love historical fiction, a healthy dash of romance and love a story that will suck you straight in, then this book is most definitely worth reading.
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VINE VOICEon 9 February 2010
I actually thought this book was based on Anne Boleyn, I never read the description beforehand and if I had I would have known but, that matters not this was really good and a surprisingly good read.

Four years after Eleanor's mother was locked in the tower, Eleanor is betrothed to a man she does not want, or does she? Whilst Eleanors mother is locked away she is still trying to be harmed as poisoned food is brought to her but, Eleanor smuggles poison-free food in to her and also goes to great lengths to try and get her away from the tower.

A little different to your bog standard Tudor novels and apparently this book is based on a true story but, loosely. Eleanor is a great character the only drawback is I think you can pretty much predict the ending but, thats no bad thing, this is a Young Adult book too so a fairly easy read.
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on 4 March 2012
The story begins with a prologue. We are in 1540 and Lady Elizabeth is in the tower. Then we flashback to 1536 and the reader is able to see the closeness Eleanor has with her mother and the fun the Hungerford's had as a family. Lord Walter returns early from a trip to London without his usual exuberance and Lady Elizabeth is taken to the tower by guards for being under suspicion of witchcraft and infidelity. Chapter Two finds us in the present (Spring 1540) and the story continues to show us Eleanor's life as it was in Tudor times - the constraints on females, her attempts to rescue her mother from the tower, and also castle life.

This period in history fascinates me. The idealism is so romantic! Knights, The Code of Chivalry, the pageantry of jousting/tournaments and the castles. Of course there is the other side - peasant life and lack of freedom ... although I think the fashion romantic too, I wouldn't want the constraints of dressing fashionably! As we journey with Eleanor, Tudor life comes colourfully alive. The reader doesn't get to just experience Farleigh Castle but also London.

Eleanor is such a feisty heroine. She was only eleven when her mother was imprisoned and with her father away in London for most of the time, had the run of the castle. Dressing in servants clothes she is able to ride astride her horse and sneak around. She is taught to joust alongside her younger brother and cousin ... a lot of freedom! That is until Lord Walter returns from London with his prospective wife (yes, his third wife is still alive in the tower) and news of an arranged marriage for Eleanor. Her exchanges with her betrothed, Philip Ashington (Viscount Stanton), I found quite amusing and I think show her character really well. Eleanor is always on her guard and this leads her to misunderstanding motives.

There is an interesting cast of characters at Farleigh Castle for the tournament. Alongside Lord Walter is his close friend Oliver Cromwell (both advisers to Henry VIII who is also there). Lots of intrigue and treason!

I have a couple of favourite scenes - one at the lists for the finals in the jousting and also a romantic scene in the park in London (although the beheadings were quite interesting too ...)

I love it that The Lady in the Tower is based on historical fact. The author was inspired by the tale itself and the mystery surrounding Lady Elizabeth's escape from Farleigh Castle. She has woven the tale into something believable and very enjoyable.

Although The Lady in the Tower is aimed at a Young Adult audience, if you have a love a history and Tudor times, then this fictional book will interest you.
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on 16 March 2013
I loved reading this book! It's so full of excitement, thrilling adventure, gripping chapters and a sweet sense of romance. I really enjoy books by Marie-Louise Jensen, she has a way of making the stories come alive and you can feel as if you're part of the novel too! I love meeting new characters and the ones in this book were brilliant to get to know and I was sad when the book ended! I had to leave myself haning in mid-air with the last chapter left to go to bed - I wasn't very pleased about that!! But I was happy to go back to it the next day and finish the story slowly, so I enjoyed every word.
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on 11 May 2010
This book was quite a good read, and will certainly be a good choice for a wet sunday afternoon. Although it is not the best book I've ever read, I definitely enjoyed reading it and I found it really engrossing as well. As a fan of historical fiction, I also found it quite interesting plus its supposed to be based loosely on an event that actually happened.

The story is about a 15 year old girl called Eleanor Hungerford. Her mother has been falsely accused of witchcraft and imprisoned in 'the lady tower' by Eleanors own father and throughout the book, Eleanor must try and find a way to help her mother escape whilst trying to keep her plans secret from her cruel father. On top of this, Eleanor has been betrothed to Lord Stanton-who she finds arrogant and annoying- by her father. Eleanor has to decide who to trust and who not to trust-and in one case she trusts someone she really shouldn't have-whilst trying to escape her father and her marriage. The ending is quite nice although I had guessed towards the end of the book. It definitely had a bit of a feel good factor to it.

I would definitely recommend reading this book, but I would save it for a long journey or wet afternoon to pass the time.
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on 28 July 2013
From the moment that I read the blurb, I knew this book was going to be a winner. Although it is set a long time ago, in the Tudor times, it is written in a modern style. The ideas within the book relate very much to modern times, what with a teenage girl who has fallen out with her father and has decisions to make, and romantic troubles. It is based on a real story and I found I related to the main character in the book. I very highly recommend this book.
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on 22 February 2012
I loved reading this book even though it is aimed at young adults the pace is just right to keep you wanting to read. I couldn't put it down and read it in two days. I loved the historical detail but it wasn't bogged down with too much fact which would have made it boring. I liked the fact it was set in a place I am familiar with, Farleigh Castle, but it would have been interesting even if I didn't know it because there was enough detail to set the scene. I enjoyed the character of Eleanor, she was certainly a heroine and would have stood out in her time. Some of the detail was slightly too graphic, boiled heads on spikes, and she seemed a bit too blase with the gruesome death of her father, but maybe that was the Tudor era. Death was all around. However, I'm glad there was a happy ending but I'm sure it will be an interesting marriage! I would highly recommend the book.
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on 1 May 2016
Amazing, absolutely amazing. Even reading it now as an adult, it is still by far my favourite book. I would highly recommend this to anyone who wants a book based loosely on historical events, with some romance and a good old mystery, thriller type theme running throughout it. No matter how many times I have re-read this book I can never put it down. Well done Marie-Louise Jensen for writing such an intense and brilliant book. I loved Eleanor's character and the relationship that she had with her mother (even with her mother being locked in a tower). I felt fully involved in this book and loved the fact that it felt so believable, as though it really did happen.

I would 100% recommend this to everyone.
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on 13 January 2010
I couldn't put this book down! A truly gripping story. The content was beautifully pitched. Enough detail to give the setting historical accuracy, without being excessive. There are not many books that I become riveted to but this is one of them.
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