I’m thrilled to host Beatrice Knowles here today, a Maid of Honor who comes to us from Queen Elizabeth (I)’s court!
Guest Post: Beatrice Unplugged
Becky, good day to you! I commend you on your discerning mind and thoughtful decision to host me today, and to give such an inspired topic for me to embrace—myself! I am delighted to comply.
Because I am oft asked about what life is like within the hallowed halls of Windsor Castle, I thought I’d set the record straight: on the good, the bad, and the Queen.
I cannot lie. As much as I am wont to complain about my lot in life, I know how lucky I truly am. I can eat my fill every day, and from clean trenchers (shallow platters made out of day-old stale bread), and I have wine and ale to save me from e’er having to take a drink of the disgusting, foul-smelling water. I have clothes that are cleaned at least once a year, and I can switch out my shift (the garment worn next to the body, which is worn day and night) regularly – never needing to sleep in garments soiled from weeks’ worth of wear.
I am also blessed to serve in the court of the Queen. For all her peevishness, Elizabeth lives in grand style. I am warm in the winter, and can walk and ride through fresh air in the summer. I can bend myself to needlepoint and even to studies of literature or language, when most girls my age must work the fields, tend their family’s livestock, care for the younger children, and cook the daily meals. Heavens, most young women cannot even read, and have naught more to look forward to than marriage to a dirt-caked farmer, and the caretaking of his children. I am blessed.
That said, life in the Queen’s castle is not always just one grand ball after the other.
First, and perhaps most importantly: my life nor even my body is my own. As the eldest daughter of a noble family, I am the political and financial pawn of my father, who will rule me until I am married off to a nobleman of sufficient standing. And then I will be ruled by my husband. (There’s a reason the Queen is not eager to marry). I must wear about fifteen pounds of clothes (including headgear and jewels for formal events) daily, no matter how warm it gets, and always appear fresh and pleasant. In my role as attendant to the Queen, I must serve not only her, but her ladies as well, never complaining (well, at least not to their faces). And if my task is to dance attendance upon some sour-breathed, overstuffed courtier, than I must do so as if my life and freedom depend upon it. For, of course, they do.
Fie, now I am ever so slightly depressed.
And this brings me to Gloriana, Elizabeth Regnant: The Queen. It is no secret that Elizabeth and I despise the very ground upon which each other treads, but make no mistake: personal feelings aside, she is my Queen, and she has always been a part of the royal family to whom I am pledged, body and soul. Even when she was a stupid girl of fourteen and I just a child, I served her with fealty and fortitude. And she knows this, indeed she does. Do not think she suffers me easily, knowing all that I have seen, and all the secrets of hers I have kept. But suffer me, she does.
Of course, she makes me suffer for that knowledge as well, but such are the games played by the women of Windsor.
In addition to our personal animosity, the Queen presents another challenge to me: her meddling in my life, and in my future. For you see, more so even than my father, the Queen owns me: she can determine if I shall marry or end my days a spinster. And she can determine who my cherished husband shall be. I have learned better than to betray even a thought of any young man whom I might truly fancy, if she hasn’t already blessed the match. For I know that if I push the Queen too far, she would saddle me with an oafish boor who speaks more kindly to his horse than to his mother, and whose teeth are rotting out of his head.
As you might imagine, I have learned to have a care.
The moral of this tale? In the court of Queen Elizabeth, it is best to be the Queen. But it is also good to be a lady within the walls of Windsor, as long as you are smart, savvy, and above all . . . careful. If you mind your feet and hands and eyes, you might just keep your head—and protect your heart.
Sound advice, Beatrice, and thank you!
Keep reading to find out more about MAID OF DECEPTION!
About Maid of Deception:
Love may be the most dangerous weapon of all.
Beatrice Knowles is a Maid of Honor, one of Queen Elizabeth I’s secret protectors. Known for her uncanny ability to manipulate men’s hearts, Beatrice has proven herself to be a valuable asset in the Queen’s court—or so she thinks. It has been three weeks since the Maids thwarted a plot to overthrow the Queen, and Beatrice is preparing to wed her betrothed, Lord Cavanaugh. However, her plans come to a crashing halt as rumors of a brewing Scottish rebellion spread among the court.
Beatrice’s new assignment is to infiltrate the visiting Scottish delegation using her subtle arts in persuasion. The mission seems simple enough, until the Queen pairs Beatrice with the worst of the lot—Alasdair MacLeod. Beatrice cannot help but think that the Queen is purposefully setting her up for failure. But Alasdair could be the key to unlocking the truth about the rebellion…and her heart. Caught in a web of evermoretwisting lies, Beatrice must rise up among the Maids of Honor and prove what she’s known all along: in a court filled with deception and danger, love may be the deadliest weapon of all.
Elizabethan glamour and intrigue abound in this heartpounding followup to MAID OF SECRETS, which Kirkus Reviews called “lively and fastpaced” with “plenty of action and plot twists.”
Also in the Maids of Honor series: MAID OF SECRETS by Jennifer McGowan!
Jennifer McGowan was born in Ohio, grew up in Montana, and studied in Paris. She fell in love with the Elizabethan era as a college student and is now an unrepentant scholar of that period, happily splitting her time between the past and present. An RWA Golden Heart Award winner and multiple finalist, Jenn is the author of the Maids of Honor series, which currently includes Maid of Secrets (2013), the novella A Thief Before Christmas, and the brand new novel Maid of Deception (2014). She lives and writes in Ohio, and you can connect with her online at JenniferMcGowan.com, find her on twitter via @Jenn_McGowan, or visit her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AuthorJenniferMcGowan.
Want to get to know Jennifer better? Check out this exclusive interview!
Tour Wide Giveaway:
Prize: $25 Gift Card Amazon or B&N (winner’s choice) and a Grand Prize “Queen for a Day” Spa Kit!
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