The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley (published by HarperCollins, June 30, 2009)
For as long as she can remember, sixteen-year-old Katherine Bab has lived in the English countryside with her adoptive mother, Grace, and Grace's daughter, Anna. Kat has always longed to know the identities of her birth parents, but Grace has always refused to tell her who they are, or give her any more information than frequent comments about how she inherited the worst qualities of her parents. And despite the love of a young farmer named Christian, who is the son of her adoptive mother's brother, Kat longs for something more than marriage to a farmer, though she does have feelings for him. When Grace dies, refusing even on her deathbed to reveal the secret, Kat decides she and Anna will travel to London in search of the answer to the mystery of her past.
But London is not what Kat expected - it is a busy, dirty, noisy place. Shy Anna, who is deaf, longs to return to the country. When Kat and Anna are taken in by a noblewoman, Kat's talent with embroidery and stitching gets her invited to the court of Queen Elizabeth, to make dresses for the queen and instruct the Queen's ladies. At court, Kat draws the attention of two handsome young gentlemen, but she cannot forget Christian, no matter how hard she tries. And she is troubled by rumors that she could be related to the Queen, perhaps even be her secret, long-lost daughter. Will she ever discover her true identity? And if she does discover who her parents were, how will she choose between her two worlds?
The Stolen One was one of the best historical novels I've read in a long time. Katherine is a wonderfully developed character - she seemed so real, sometimes I would even become frustrated at her actions! The author did a wonderful job at bringing to life the setting of Elizabethan England, and the very different ways of life in the countryside, the city, and at court. Although this book is written for teen readers, I think adults who love historical fiction will enjoy it is as well - it is a wonderful blend of history, romance, and the classic story of a young woman's search for her identity and where she belongs in the world.