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Summary

Already a great historian, Tracey Borman proves with this thrilling debut novel that she is also a born storyteller. 

As she helps to nurse the dying Queen Elizabeth, Frances Gorges longs for the fields and ancient woods of her parents' Hampshire estate, where she has learned to use the flowers and herbs to become a much-loved healer. 

Frances is happy to stay in her beloved countryside when the new King arrives from Scotland, bringing change, fear and suspicion. His court may be shockingly decadent, but James' religion is Puritan, intolerant of all the old ways: he has already put to death many men for treason and women for witchcraft. 

So when her ambitious uncle forcibly brings Frances to court, she is trapped in a claustrophobic world of intrigue and betrayal - and a ready target for the twisted scheming of Lord Cecil, the King's first minister. 

Surrounded by mortal dangers, Frances finds happiness only with the precocious young Princess Elizabeth, and Tom Wintour, the one courtier she can trust. 

Or can she? 

©2018 Tracy Borman (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

A bit disappointing

I really wanted to like this but it was too Mills and Boone, too stodgy, full of silly coincidences. I really hope the next two parts of the trilogy are more exciting and less stodgy.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Disappointing

Although I have great respect for Tracy Borman as a historian, her skills as a novelist have a long way to go. The pace and style are pedestrian, and I struggled to listen to the end. There are many authentic historical facts woven into the story, as one would expect, but aspects of the plot stretch credulity. I felt she couldn't make up her mind whether the main character was heroine, victim, or villainess.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 17-08-18

I Could Not Put it Down

After a bit of a slow start I could not leave this book alone. Well wriitten. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and it was so well narraated that I felt I was with there, with Frances, experiencing what was happening to her. For a first novel this was excellent and I cannot wait for her next novel.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Awful Scottish accent

This is a good storry, but the narration is lacking , I've never heard such a dreadful Scots accent, and the "male voices " are poor which detracts from the tale

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A slow start, but what a finish!

I almost gave up on this book.
Slow to get off the mark, but soon found its rhythm
So glad I persevered, it was an excellent listen

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Quite a good read.

Although I didn't struggle to finish the book, I've read better. Not the best of readers.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Bad accent and pronunciation ruined a great story!

The narrator should have studied both accents and place names before being allowed to spoil this title.

This angle on the gun powder plot was well written engaging and very enjoyable, a really good listen but just as you get involved a terrible supposedly Scottish accent ruins it. Especially the King’s accent at one point I found myself wanting to google the Scottish king to see if he was of some scandinavian Irish descent and I was be ignorant as to my historical knowledge!!!

I would recommend the story so if you can block out the odd place name faux pas and awful accents go for it!!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Very Enjoyable

The niration was very good and so was the story line. A bit rushed in places, but still a good story.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Historically accurate and gripping

Wonderful story telling with so much historical fact. Both educational and realistic. Narrator good , too.