THE QUEEN'S GODDAUGHTER. HER MOST TRUSTED MAID. ADULTRESS. ENEMY OF THE STATE. WHO IS THE REAL PENELOPE DEVEREUX? Penelope Devereux is a legendary beauty in the court of Elizabeth I, with a smile that would light up the shadows of hell.
But it's not just her looks which have won her favour with the Queen wing; her canny instinct for being in the right place at the right time, and her skilled political manoeuvrings under the guise of diplomacy, have rendered her a formidable adversary to anyone who stands in her path.
Including Elizabeth. For Penelope must secure the future of the Devereux dynasty at whatever cost.
Even treason. And the Queen, a woman she holds responsible for the death of her father, the exile of her mother and her failure to marry the one man she ever truly loved, is just one more pawn in a deadly game.
Walking the knife-edge of court, whilst ensuring that her reckless brother Essex remains the only star in the Queen's firmament - and out of the Tower - Penelope must plan for the inevitable succession of an ailing monarch. But her secret letters of friendship to a foreign King - one who has a strong claim to the English throne - could see her illustrious family in the gutter and her own head on the block.
It would only take a single mistake, a slip of the tongue, an intercepted message for Penelope to become the architect of her downfall.
In a world where sister is turned against brother, husband against wife, courtier against queen, the rules of the game are forever changing.
Discover the truth in Elizabeth Fremantle's stunning new novel about an extraordinary woman who helped change the course of England's history forever.
This sumptuous historical drama is perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Hilary Mantel and Jessie Burton.
Praise for Watch the Lady: "The research and historical detail are impeccable ...and fans will enjoy this evocation of Elizabeth's tumultuous court". (Times). "A glamourous tale peopled by warrior poets, flamboyant courtiers and shameless loves, it is also sharp, perceptive and dramatic". (Sunday Express). "Be transported to the court of Elizabeth I, where Penelope Devereux is prepared to do anything in the scramble for power. Watch The Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle combines fast-paced storytelling with rich period detail". (Good Housekeeping). "If you want an immersive read then this is it. The remarkable story of the beautiful Penelope Devereux comes vividly alive, bursting with colour and detail.
The reader is transported to the perilous Elizabethan court, with all its plots, treachery and heartbreak, and gains fascinating insights into some of the most important figures of the time.
Yet again Elizabeth Fremantle has produced a pacey, powerful narrative that kept this reader riveted throughout". (Jane Thynne). "Penelope Devereux, perspicacious, beautiful and muse of Sir Philip Sidney, will stop at nothing for the sake of her family.
I was gripped by the tale of risky political and sexual shenanigans in the court of Elizabeth l". (Woman and Home). "Penelope is a fascinating character and beautifully drawn in this enthralling, moving and immaculately written novel...Fremantle handles the intriguing with aplomb and it's impossible to read the books without feeling you are living events alongside the characters". (Imogen Robertson, Historia). "Fascinating ...it's a delight to keep Penelope company as she plunges into the intrigues of Elizabeth's court". (The History Girls). "Ever since Queen's Gambit took the world of historical fiction by storm 3 years ago, Liz Fremantle's books have been the ones to watch in the world of Tudor fiction.
The combination of depth, intelligence and real historical imagination that she brings to bear on the lesser-known (but immensely powerful) women of the Tudor era is unmatched in contemporary writing and gets better with each book.
Not that either of the previous ones were sub par - far from it, they were exceptional - but, as with all good writers, the apprenticeship of each book sees its realisation in the one that comes after it and there's a steady rise in the textures and depths and many-layered plot threads.
The Lady we watch here is Penelope, sister of the notorious Essex, wife of a man who doesn't want to bed her, lover of those who do - though never the most important one: that love is unrequited and all the more powerful for it. The machinations of Elizabeth's court were never easy, but became positively frenetic as she edged towards death and refused to name a successor and the way the ageing monarch plays Cecil against Essex, as seen through the eyes of the woman who has to navigate a clear path through the chaos is brilliant.
In fact, the shift of viewpoint from Penelope to Cecil and back again is the core strength of this book.
Neither is an entirely reliable narrator, even to themselves, but taken together, they mesh to make a hologram of a time in history that is endlessly fascinating, but never fully understood.
This book is glorious. It will delight fans of Hilary Mantel and Philippa Gregory alike, but will also garner a whole new audience from those who just love good writing, whatever the genre, whatever the era". (Manda Scott). "A wonderful, totally transporting novel that folds you into its world, word by word, page by page, and remains with you long after the last.
I absolutely loved this book. Fremantle is a brilliant novelist". (Eve Chase, author of Black Rabbit Hall).
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 496 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 11/02/2016
- Category: Historical fiction
- ISBN: 9781405909440