Review: “Mistress to the Crown” by Isolde Martyn

Another Net Galley find — “Mistress to the Crown” is the story of King Edward the IV’s mistress, Elizabeth Lambard, in the 1400’s.

Elizabeth starts off as the lonely and very young wife of an impotent shop owner in London. She works to procure her divorce from him and falls in love with Lord Hastings. Hastings, though, relinquishes her to King Edward and Elizabeth enjoys several years (until his death) as his beloved mistress. She’s a smart girl, though, and works to build a business of silk women, saves money, and purchases property. When Edward dies, Elizabeth (known as “Mistress Jane Shore”) runs the risk of being imprisoned and blamed for his death.

I always love reading about old England and the intricacies and shenanigans of court life. How anyone lived a long life in those days, while being at court and part of a king or queen’s retinue, and kept their heads – well, it’s beyond me. Elizabeth is a likable and intelligent character and is a strong role model in terms of her striving for independence. The “adult situations” in this book were peppered throughout (she was the king’s mistress after all!), but not overly explicit. I’d recommend this book to those who like historical fiction of the royal genre. I enjoyed Martyn’s writing and will look for her other works.

Not sure if this book will be available in the US or only in Australia in 2013 — ? If another reader knows, please post in comments. Thanks for my copy, Net Galley and Harlequin MIRA!