The Queen's Lady by Eve Edwards (Published by Penguin Books UK, February 3, 2011)
This sequel to The Other Countess is set in 1584 and continues the story of Jane, one of the supporting characters from the first book. Jane was to marry Will Lacey, but broke off the betrothal so he would be free to marry his true love, Ellie, who was Jane's friend. But although she does not regret her decision, Jane's family was furious, and she was imprisoned in her own home and punished severely. She only escaped because a very kind elderly man married her to save her from her family. Though their marriage was in name only, Jane was very fond of her husband and grieved him when he died, because he was more of a father to her than her own ever was. His sons are horrible and forced her to leave her home, but thanks to a recommendation from her late husband, Jane is able to find a position at court as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I.
Shortly after arriving at court, to Jane's surprise she encounters James Lacey, the brother of the man she refused to marry. She still loves him, but he despises her at first because he doesn't know the real reason why she ended the betrothal, and thinks she jilted his brother. James soon learns the truth, but he does not feel he is good enough for Jane now, because he is haunted by atrocities he witnessed in war. He joins a voyage to the Americas to help scout a site for a possible future English colony in the New World, hoping the time away from home will help him recover from the terrible memories. However while James is gone, Jane's scheming relatives plot to force her into an unwanted marriage.
I enjoyed reading The Queen's Lady but I didn't like it as much as The Other Countess, which was one of my favorite books that I read last year. Jane was a character I didn't like at first but ended up sympathizing with by the end of the first book, her family truly is just awful! So I was glad to read the continuation of her story. But honestly, I wanted to slap James or something for being such an idiot and running off to deal with his problems without seeing how much Jane needed him, and thinking he was unworthy of her for reasons that I thought were pretty stupid. I would still recommend this book to readers who enjoyed the first book, or who haven't read it yet but enjoy historical romance, and I still plan to read the third book, The Rogue's Princess, which will be published in July 2011. I'm just a little disappointed that I didn't love this book as much as The Other Countess.