Title: Eliza Rose
Author: Lucy Worsley
Paperback: 368 pages
Published: April 7th 2016 by Bloomsbury Childrens
My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
Summary (From Goodreads):
The captivating debut children’s novel from popular television historian Lucy Worsley is an exciting and charming glimpse behind the scenes of the Tudor court.
I would often wonder about my future husband. A knight? A duke? A stable boy?
Of course the last was just a wicked fancy.
Eliza Rose Camperdowne is young and headstrong, but she knows her duty well. As the only daughter of a noble family, she must one day marry a man who is very grand and very rich.
But Fate has other plans. When Eliza becomes a maid of honour, she’s drawn into the thrilling, treacherous court of Henry the Eighth . . .
Is her glamorous cousin Katherine Howard a friend or a rival?
And can a girl choose her own destiny in a world ruled by men?
That was slightly disappointing.
Reading this I kind of saw it as a prequel to the Lady Grace Mysteries, due to the timing and era, however Eliza Rose lacks the wit and suspense.
I’ll start off with the good – and don’t worry, there was some:
-Will ‘Summers’ (It’s actually Sommers) was written into the book and I loved his character. That is all.
-Eliza actually grew up as a character throughout the novel. Sure, she was incredibly annoying throughout, but she did actually mature somewhat.
-The court drama and behind-the-scenes felt realistic and I live for realistic historical fiction.
-The cover is pretty. (I know, I know.)
-IT’S HISTORICALLY (as far as I’m aware) ACCURATE
…aaaand that’s about it for good. Sorry guys.
Onto my first, and biggest, problem: Eliza. Bloody. Rose.
Before the book was even a chapter in, I wanted to punch her. Her constant whinging about her status and having to marry for money was simply annoying. Even the other characters thought so! The author’s note at the end only worsened this, by essentially saying that we put up with Eliza for the entire book to gain sympathy for Katherine. What actually happens, is that Eliza’s viewpoint taints Katherine’s image and the reader begins to side against her.
The book could have been so much better had it been from Katherine’s point of view. She was lively, funny and a downright demon – but anything is better than passive, whinging little Eliza. Other characters describe her as ‘witty’, yet we see nothing to suggest this. She makes one joke ‘king-fisher’ that is halfway decent, but aside from that…nope. Nada.
Plot wise, not much happens. Eliza is shifted from place to place in search of a ‘suitable’ husband, realises that she could be the King’s mistress, then runs off with the page boy. Not only does this her and unrealistically happy ending, but it leaves the family and friends that helped her in huge amounts of danger. Seriously, when the King finds out she’s gone…he’ll probably kill anyone she knew and send out scouts looking for her. Best of luck, Eliza.
Eliza and Ned…I get wanting to marry for love, and he’s clearly in love with her, but it just never seems like Eliza seriously loves him back. It’s vague and rushed and really seems like the author put him there to provide Eliza an escape and send the message ‘Don’t marry for money! Marry for love!’.
Of course, I’m not arguing that it’s a terrible message. It’s actually a great message.
It just could have been carried out better.
Has anyone got other thoughts?