Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Queen's Dwarf - Review & Giveaway

Review by K.T Sullivan
Jeffrey Hudson’s father has decided to sell him to a duke for desperately needed money. Born a dwarf, Jeffrey will make a welcome addition to Queen Henrietta Maria’s "Royal Menagerie of Freaks and Curiosities of Nature." She collects people deemed too odd to fit into society. His owner, Buckingham, will present him as a gift to the Queen, but he will also be a spy in the royal court. Buckingham is a trusted advisor to King Charles I. The French Catholic Queen is despised by the English Anglican Duke. He makes her life miserable by having her husband banish those loyal to her and replaces them with his people. She turns to Jeffrey as a confidant. He does betray some of her secrets to Buckingham. Others he holds safe in his heart as he begins to fall in love with her. Palace intrigue and double crosses claim innocent lives and change all. Will Jeffrey sacrifice one he holds dear for another love?

This work of historical fiction is based on fact and reminds me of an old Errol Flynn movie. The opulence of the court and the indifference to the masses force the hand of the villain. He settles close to the powers that be and tells them what they want to hear, instead of the truth. Spreading rumors and gossip is how the court operates. Henrietta confides in and relies on Jeffrey because he does care about her. No one views him as a threat or expects him to thwart a plot against her. He is an imperfect hero.

Both Jeffrey and Henrietta are sympathetic characters, forced into a situation they did not choose. Both find joy and happiness in each other’s company. Not a conventional love story, but one of devotion to duty and service. Highly recommended.

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About the Author:
When Ella March Chase was in third grade, she informed her teacher she didn't need to learn multiplication tables because she was going to be a famous writer when she grew up.  At twenty-five, she combined her passion for researching  history and spinning stories.  Her daughter Kate claims that when she was growing up even the family dogs were discovered while researching King Charles II--  Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Though Ella now shares her home with a rescue Shetland Sheepdog named Oliver Twist, she never lost her fascination the intrigue of royal court-- be it during the reign of the Tudors or, most recently, the Stuarts.

She travelled to England where she fell under the spell of the Tower of London—the infamous Traitor’s Gate, the chapel where beheaded queens lay buried, the story of the two princes allegedly murdered by Richard III.  Ella began unearthing the obscure historical details that make larger than life figures painfully human.  From that fascination, the concepts for The Queen's Dwarf, The Virgin Queen's Daughter and Three Maids for a Crown emerged.

When Ella is not writing books, haunting the local libraries or burying herself in stacks of research books, she spends her time making up stories about pirates and dragons to delight her grandsons, growing fresh herbs to use in her legendary 'magic' soup, knitting all the bright colored yarn she can lay her hands on, having tea with her family and friends and playing folk ballads on her guitar because people who love her are too polite to beg her to stop.

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