The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen (Published by Oxford University Press, January 1, 2009)
Eleanor had a happy childhood in 16th century England, during the reign of King Henry VIII. Her loving and indulgent parents allowed her to ride horses and learn to joust with her cousin and younger brother, and did not scold her too much for her failure to master ladylike tasks such as sewing. That all changed when Eleanor was eleven. Her father, suddenly a different man than the one she had known all her life, falsely accused her mother of terrible crimes and had her locked in a tower in their home.
The story picks up four years later. In the aftermath of these events, Eleanor has become estranged from her father, and from her younger brother who is close to their father and cannot remember the time before their mother was imprisoned. She secretly conspires with the servants and villagers to deliver food and messages to her mother, and to save her from her father’s plots to have her killed. Her father had her betrothed to a much older man but he died before the wedding day, to Eleanor’s relief. However, now that she is fifteen, he has chosen another man to be her husband. His choice, Lord Stanton, is young and handsome, but also insufferable, and even worse she believes he is on her father’s side. Eleanor also knows that if she marries and leaves her home, her mother will have no one left to protect her from her father, and so is determined to find a way to escape with her mother before the wedding.
The Lady in the Tower is a wonderful young adult historical novel set in the Tudor era, one of my favorite time periods. Eleanor is a lively and likeable character, and the book has a perfect blend of history, intrigue, and romance. I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy young adult historical fiction and I look forward to reading more from Marie-Louise Jensen, who is a promising new writer in this genre.