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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: The Queen's Gamble by Barbara Kyle

The Queen’s Gamble (Thornleigh Series, Bk 4)
By Barbara Kyle
Available Now
Publisher: Kensington 
Format: Review Copy
Source: Publisher

“Isabel Valverde was coming home.”

**I try not to include spoilers in my reviews but since this is part of a series, some spoilers are unavoidable.**

Every now and then a book comes along that enthralls a reader. It grabs you from the very first page and never let’s goes until the final page. The Queen’s Gamble does just that. The reader is pulled in many directions, never knowing exactly what the plan is and whose side a person is on. The characters pulsate off the pages with believability and the historical portrayal of the time period after Bloody Mary’s rule is detailed quite vividly. By the end you are fully invested and want more. The blend of fictional characters with real historical events is seamless.

Isabel Valverde returns home after a distressing letter from her brother Adam telling her that her mother has been convicted of murder. Upon arriving though, she finds a different situation. Her mom is safe and has become a close confidant of Queen Elizabeth. Now the country is in complete religious and political turmoil with the threat of Mary, Queen of Scots. Isabel and her husband, Carlos, are surprised at these turn of events. Upon landing they meet Frances, Adam’s wife, and also a Grenville. Grenville’s have been enemies of her family, the Thornleigh’s, for ages. Isabel does feel a kinship with her new sister-in-law. Right away Isabel and Carlos are pulled into the chaos that is happening in England. Carlos is requested to be an envoy for Spain and Isabel is blackmailed into becoming a messenger for Elizabeth. Their loyalties and relationship is put to the test as they are put on opposite sides, or so it seems.

This being the fourth installment of the Thornleigh series I don’t know all the background on what has happened to this family but Barbara gives us a nice overview of the events that has lead this family into this situation. Carlos and Isabel’s relationship seems to be rock steady until it appears they are at opposite sides of the war. They are in a way like England. They are being torn apart by lies and treason. Carlos I liked in the beginning loathed him by the middle and then I sort of forgave him by the end. Isabel’s character is feisty and intelligent but at times she makes mistakes that cost people their lives. Frances you can clearly see is absolutely in love with Adam. Adam is very aloof about the whole marriage and I don’t know the back story on why they were married. We do see Adam soften towards the end of the book and there is hope for their future.

An absolute MUST READ for historical fiction fans. You will not be disappointed and will crave to read more.


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