A Sweet Disorder by Jacqueline Kolosov (published by Hyperion, June 9, 2009)
After her father dies in December 1579 while on a trip to Ireland for Queen Elizabeth I, shortly before her sixteenth birthday, Miranda Molyneux must face unpleasant changes in her life. Her hope for a possible engagement to Henry Raleigh is ended because of the debts her father left behind. And worst of all, she must leave her family, for she is sent to live with her father’s relative, the earl of Turbury, and his wife, the countess. The countess is a very strict and religious woman, and Miranda finds little joy in her life there. The countess even disapproves of her embroidery, believing that wearing only simple clothing is part of living a godly life.
Life again changes for Miranda when the countess brings her to Elizabeth I’s court. Life at court, with its banquets, festivities, and elegant clothing is a welcome relief in many ways from the monotony, dreariness, and religious severity of life at Turbury. But she quickly learns that court is a complicated place full of people looking out for their own self-interests and who will do whatever is necessary to gain wealth and influence. Miranda quickly makes both friends and enemies, and is reunited with Henry Raleigh. The reunion makes her long even more that things didn’t have to change and they could still marry. But the countess wants to marry Miranda off to Lord Seagrave, a man whom Miranda instantly dislikes and knows she would have a miserable life with.
Jacqueline Kolosov brings to life the world of Elizabethan England in this elegant novel, Her writing style is lovely and detailed, with great attention paid to the clothing, food, and other aspects of life at the time. Miranda is a sympathetic heroine and readers will feel for her plight and hope for her to get her happy ending. I highly recommend A Sweet Disorder to readers, both teen and adult, who love historical fiction.