08. January 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Historical Fiction, Teen Books

Ladies in Waiting by Laura L. Sullivan, 336 pages, read by Courtney, on 01/03/2013

This is the story of three women living and working in the court of King Charles II. All three are maids of honor to Queen Catherine and all three are named Elizabeth. That’s about where their similarities end. Zabby grew up with her father in and around Barbados. She’s finally coming back to London with the intention of living with her aunt and continuing her scientific studies. She finds herself in service instead. Eliza’s father is wealthier than most nobles, but lacks a title. Eliza has managed to convince her father that she’s been putting off marriage out of naive prudishness. In reality, she is determined to become a playwright, but views her appointment to the Queen’s side as a convenient way to stave off a miserable marriage. Beth is the only one of the three Elizabeths to have grown up in court. She is the daughter of a noble lady, albeit an aged, syphilitic widow who is far more concerned with keeping Beth a virgin until a profitable marriage can be made than seeing Beth happy. The three quickly became fast friends and trusted maids to the queen. When their hearts begin to yearn for what they cannot have, things become both complicated and dangerous.
The writing is impeccable and the characters mulch-dimensional. I was happy to see that the focus of this novel was not the queen, but those who worked with her. The queen is only a minor player, albeit a sympathetic one. The other three women are very, very distinct. The world building is gorgeous and the plot completely absorbing.

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