Nadia May is the best. Her narration is superb. It adds so much to the text. It's not that I didn't enjoy the book, I did as you can see by my rating...Show More » I am rating it for what it is, a light historical mystery with a romantic subplot. But I wonder if I would have been as taken if I had read it. Ursula Blanchard is an interesting character, as are those around her. I especially like her servants. But she is naive to say the least. Her support of Elizabeth and the protestants isn't based on any strong religious conviction but rather on a description she had heard of a burning under the reign of Queen Mary. While things weren't lovely under Mary, Mary certainly didn't start the torturing and killing based on religion. Henry the VIII's reign was rampant with burnings, beheading, and hangings. The dissolution of the monasteries was violent. Ursula's lack of serious contemplation about this issue made her a weak character for me. The description of the recorded plotting and intrigue at Elizabeth's court is superficial.
That said, the book was enjoyable and I will listen to at least one more. I admit the lack of brutal killings and graphic violence was a relief after other books set in the same or close time periods. I love Sansom's Matthew Shardlake books but the killings and murders can be gruesome.
Anything read by Nadia May is fun for your ears. Her "French" accent fills me with delight. The book itself is a tad more serious. Set during the reig..Show More »n of Elizabeth I, it again deals with the conflicts between the "new" faith and the Catholics. There are some interesting twists in the plot. Very enjoyable.
I must disagree with the earlier reviewer panning Ms. May's narration. I had absolutely the opposite reaction. To my mind, she makes the book come a..Show More »live. In fact she and Donata Peters are among my very favorite narrators.
I enjoyed the first of this series "To Shield The Queen" so much that I bought this book as soon as I finished the first. Overall, this second one is..Show More » alright but not as well written as the first. There's too much minutiae and rambling on and on about things which add nothing to the story. Also Ursula is a bit out of control here, engaging in acts which are totally implausible during her "CSI: Gloriana" undercover work, especially for a rookie investigator in an era before formal forensics. Even my favorite Audible.com narrator, Nadia May, falters with this reading. Normally a master of different voices and dialects, I don't know what happened with her rendition of Gladys, the derelict "town witch". Allegedly Welsh, Gladys alternately sounds like she's either Pakistani or Jamaican! It becomes a bit irritating after a while since May's command of both American and European accents, both past and present, is always excellent; her narration soothing and animated in the all the right places. This is still a good book but just don't listen to it right after the first one, thinking that it will be comparable. I wasn't so disappointed that I was put off from getting "Queen's Ransom", the third book in the series as soon as I finished this one. I'll just wait a week or so, listening to a few other books by different authors and narrators first.