Book Review: QUEEN ELIZABETH’S DAUGHTER by Anne Clinard Barnhill #QueenElizabethsDaughterTour

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Released: March 18, 2014
Format: Paperback; 320 pages
Source: I received a review copy for participating in the author’s book tour.

Mistress Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth’s favorite ward, enjoying every privilege the position affords. The queen loves Mary like a daughter, and, like any good mother, she wants her to make a powerful match. The most likely prospect: Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. But while Oxford seems to be everything the queen admires: clever, polished and wealthy, Mary knows him to be lecherous, cruel, and full of treachery. No matter how hard the queen tries to push her into his arms, Mary refuses.

Instead, Mary falls in love with a man who is completely unsuitable. Sir John Skydemore is a minor knight with little money, a widower with five children. Worst of all, he’s a Catholic at a time when Catholic plots against Elizabeth are rampant. The queen forbids Mary to wed the man she loves. When the young woman, who is the queen’s own flesh and blood, defies her, the couple finds their very lives in danger as Elizabeth’s wrath knows no bounds.


QUEEN ELIZABETH’S DAUGHTER is a captivating novel of forbidden love, religious conflict, and political intrigue in the lavish court of Elizabeth I. The story is about Mary Shelton, cousin to the queen on the Boleyn side of the family. Mary became Elizabeth’s ward as a young child after the death of her parents. The queen thought of her as the child she’d never have, and Mary quickly became Elizabeth’s favorite, which was both a blessing and a curse.

I enjoyed seeing the different faces of Elizabeth in this book. She was the powerful and respected ruler of her people, but the author also gave us her human side. She was a woman desperately in love with a man she could never wed. She could be vulnerable, selfish, jealous, and cruel. Elizabeth was also motherly toward Mary, wanting only the best for her, and that included the man she married. Mary’s love for a minor knight named John Skydemore causes a rift between herself and the queen. He’s a widower with five children, but what troubles the queen most of all is that he’s Catholic. Elizabeth expressly forbids them to marry, so what will happen when they defy the queen? Mary was a strong character, and I admired her courage to speak her mind and stand up to Elizabeth.

QUEEN ELIZABETH’S DAUGHTER was a quick and enjoyable read. It was fun to return to the danger and drama of the Tudor era, plus it was a fresh change of pace to see a maternal side to the great Queen Elizabeth I.

Rating: 4 Stars

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

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About the Author:

Anne Clinard Barnhill has been writing or dreaming of writing for most of her life. For the past twenty years, she has published articles, book and theater reviews, poetry, and short stories. Her first book, AT HOME IN THE LAND OF OZ, recalls what it was like growing up with an autistic sister. Her work has won various awards and grants. Barnhill holds an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Besides writing, Barnhill also enjoys teaching, conducting writing workshops, and facilitating seminars to enhance creativity. She loves spending time with her three grown sons and their families. For fun, she and her husband of thirty years, Frank, take long walks and play bridge. In rare moments, they dance.

For more information, please visit Anne Clinard Barnhill’s website. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.