Book Review: BLOOD BETWEEN QUEENS by Barbara Kyle

Blood Between Queens


Series: Thornleigh, #5
Publisher: Kensington
Released: April 30, 2013
Source: Review copy from the publisher

Following her perilous fall from a throne she’d scarcely owned to begin with, Mary, Queen of Scots, has fled to England, hoping her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, will grant her asylum. But now Mary has her sights on the English crown, and Elizabeth enlists her most trusted subjects to protect it.

Justine Thornleigh is delighting in the thrill of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to her family’s estate when the festivities are cut short by Mary’s arrival. To Justine’s surprise, the Thornleighs appoint her to serve as a spy in Mary’s court. But bearing the guise of a lady-in-waiting is not Justine’s only secret. The weight of her task is doubled by fears of revealing to her fiancé that she is in truth the daughter of his family’s greatest rival. Duty-bound, Justine must sacrifice love as she navigates a deadly labyrinth of betrayal that could lead to the end of Elizabeth’s fledgling reign…

Compelling and inventive, Blood Between Queens artfully blends history’s most intriguing figures with unforgettable characters, bringing to dazzling life the fascinating Tudor era.


When I saw the blurb for BLOOD BETWEEN QUEENS, I knew I had to read it. Elizabeth I is my favorite monarch, a legend in her own time, and I’m particularly interested in her complicated relationship with her cousin Mary, Queen of Scots. This book pulls readers into the conflict, giving us a first hand account of the schemes, lies and betrayal going on just after Mary fled to England and became Elizabeth’s “captive” guest.

The political intrigue caused by the feuding royal cousins was only part of the story. The author blended historical facts with fascinating fiction, creating a deadly family rivalry between the Thornleighs and Grenvilles, Elizabeth supporters versus those loyal to Mary, Protestants versus Catholics. And caught in the crossfire are two innocents – Justine, a young woman harboring a terrible secret, forced to spy on Mary at the queen’s insistence, and Will, Justine’s true love who would be devastated to learn the truth about her.

I really enjoyed BLOOD BETWEEN QUEENS. The author had an engaging writing style that made reading this book a joy. It’s the fifth release in the Thornleigh series, though it can easily be read stand alone. (This was my first Barbara Kyle novel.) Though there was a big cast of characters, each one was memorable in his or her own way. I see that some of them appeared in earlier books in the series, and I’m eager to hear their stories.

I would recommend this book to readers who love riveting historical fiction, page-turning suspense, exciting adventure and a little romance.

Rating: 4½ Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.