The Queen’s Spy
by Clare Marchant
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 08 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 14 Jul 2021
Avon Books UK, Avon
1584: Elizabeth I rules England. But a dangerous plot is brewing in court, and Mary Queen of Scots will stop at nothing to take her cousin’s throne.
There’s only one thing standing in her way: Tom, the queen’s trusted apothecary, who makes the perfect silent spy…
2021: Travelling the globe in her campervan, Mathilde has never belonged anywhere. So when she receives news of an inheritance, she is shocked to discover she has a family in England.
Just like Mathilde, the medieval hall she inherits conceals secrets, and she quickly makes a haunting discovery. Can she unravel the truth about what happened there all those years ago? And will she finally find a place to call home?
Enchanting and gripping, The Queen’s Spy effortlessly merges past with present in an unforgettable tale of love, courage and betrayal – perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley and Kathryn Hughes.
‘Clare Marchant writes and plots flawlessly.’ Carol McGrath, bestselling author of The Silken Rose
‘Clare writes beautifully and weaves the historical details into the story very skillfully to create such depth and richness. I was gripped from the start and found it an atmospheric and haunting book that will enchant anyone who loves history.’ Nicola McCornick, author of The Forgotten Sister
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 103 members
Having read Clare’s debut last year, The Secrets of Saffron Hall (buy it immediately if you haven’t read it) I jumped at the chance to read an early review copy of her second novel. I already have it on pre-order so am looking forward to having the actual book in my forever collection. Saffron Hall was my number one book of 2020, and I had a feeling book two would not disappoint. It didn’t. Clare has produced another enthralling, page turning book of exquisiteness and I absolutely loved it! Again, Clare has written this historical fiction novel along a dual timeline. The historical element gives us a very satisfactory conclusion to what happened to Eleanor and Tom after they fled England at the end of Saffron Hall. What a cliffhanger that was! Tom who is deaf and mute, moves back to England from France in 1584 and finds himself working as an assistant to the Queen’s apothecary, having learned his craft from his adoptive mother, Eleanor. The Queen’s spymaster, Walsingham, soon sees the benefit of Tom’s lip reading abilities and he is made to spy for the Queen. The Babington plot is under way to remove Elizabeth from the throne and replace her with the Catholic Queen Mary. One of Tom’s only personal belongings is a triptych which is a 3 part painting he is completing with snippets of his life. The present day part is set in 2021 where Mathilde receives a solicitor’s letter urgently summoning her from her converted ambulance moving home to Lutton Hall Norfolk. Mathilde has lived alone and on the road, selling her photographs to make her living, since her mother died when Mathilde was only 16. She has always longed for a proper family. When she arrives at Lutton Hall she is astounded to find she has a half sister, a niece and an Aunt and Uncle waiting for her. Her father, whom she thought had died when she was a baby, had actually been searching for her all of her life but had sadly just died without ever finding her. He left Lutton Hall to Mathilde in his will in the hope that his solicitor would find her. She initially thinks she will stay a short while and sell the property, but when she finds the Triptych on a wall in the chapel behind a boarded up wall, she becomes determined to find out who painted it and the story behind it. The past and present story lines are equally as enjoyable. The characters are developed extremely well, the plot intertwines perfectly, the research into the historical part is obviously thoroughly completed and I didn’t want it to end! Although the conclusion to both parts in extremely satisfying. It’s going to take me a few days to pick up another book as I’m still living in the worlds of Tom and Mathilde. I can’t recommend Clare’s books highly enough. Thank you to Avon books and NetGalley for allowing me early access to this book in return for a review.