This is the sequel to The Lady of the Ravens, telling the story of Joan Guildford, nee Vaux, later Poyntz, who was a lady in waiting to Elizabeth of York and (probably) Catherine of Aragon, and Lady Governess to both of Henry VII’s surviving daughters. It runs from 1502 until 1520; and it was a joy to read a book set in the later years of Henry VII’s reign and the early years of Henry VIII’s reign, a period which generally gets overlooked because of the dramas of the mid-1480s before it and the late 1520s after it.
There are a few annoying little historical inaccuracies. Margaret Beaufort did not have the title of Queen Mother. The future Charles V was Catherine’s nephew, not her cousin. Catherine had an English grandmother on one side and an English great-grandmother on the other side, not two English grandmothers. Just minor things, but they annoyed me. It doesn’t take much to annoy me 🙂 . But the actual events are described accurately – insofar as we know them. There are some gaps in time during the book, meaning that Flodden Field isn’t mentioned, which was a bit odd; but I suppose it didn’t directly affect Joan. But she was at court throughout much of the period, and also accompanied Princess Margaret to Scotland and Princess Mary to France, as well as being present at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, so there’s plenty of high politics going on.
The book’s told in the first person by Joan, and we hear all about her life, including the death of her first husband and her remarriage to a much younger man, as well as about the lives of the Tudors. There are also a number of presumably fictitious minor characters, who add to the picture of life at the time, notably Joan’s maids and their husbands, and two Moorish girls who were in Catherine’s household.
Apart the minor inaccuracies, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would imagine that there’ll be a third book in the series, because Joan was one of the witnesses at the infamous trial concerning Catherine’s marriage to Arthur. I shall be looking out for it, all being well – and thank you to Amazon for making this one available on a 99p Kindle deal.