Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Lady Grace Mysteries: Feud

The Lady Grace Mysteries: Feud

Jan Burchett, Sara Vogler
Historical Fiction  Series
For ages 10 and up
Random House UK, 2005   ISBN: 978-0385608510

Queen Elizabeth and her household are staying at the palace of Nonsuch and there are more than enough new things to keep Grace and the other Maids of Honour occupied. First of all there are the royal portraits that are being done. Grace has to read to Lady Sarah while Lady Sarah sits for the portraits. As she looks the most like the Queen Lady Sarah has the unenviable job of having to sit still for hours in hot and very tight clothing while the portraits are completed. Then there is a company of players who has come to the town and who are practicing in the yards of Nonsuch to get ready to perform for the Queen. One of the players in particular is exceedingly handsome and it would seem that he has turned the heads of every woman in the castle.

Then one of the Maids of Honour, Carmina, becomes sick. At first no ones seems to know what is wrong with the girl. Then Grace overhears a conversation while she is reading to Lady Sarah in the painter's studio and she learns that one of the paints used is highly poisonous and produces the symptoms that poor Carmina is experiencing. Is it possible that someone at the palace is poisoning the girl and if so is it someone from Carmina's present world or is it someone from her past?

Doggedly Lady Grace and her two friends Masou the acrobat and Ellie the laundry maid try to get to the root of the mystery before time runs out for Carmina. With the blessing of the Queen and trying to be as discrete as possible, Lady Grace, the Queen's secret Lady Pursuivant, once again solves a dark and dangerous mystery.

The authors of this book let Grace's delightful character shine through. Just like the rest of us Grace has her strengths and her weaknesses. She may have a talent for uncovering secrets but she cannot seem to keep her clothes in good shape and she has no time for the vanity and silliness of the other Maids of Honour. Impatient, often overeager and quick to jump to conclusions, Grace has to learn from her mistakes just as we all do and we like her all the more for it.