Author: Jenny Barden
Publisher: Ebury Press
Publish Date: November 7, 2013
Source: HF Virtual Book Tours
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Once a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, her only hope of surviving the scandal that threatens to engulf her is to escape England for a fresh start in the new America where nobody has ever heard of the Duchess of Somerset.
Emme joins Kit Doonan's rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits bound for Virginia. But such a voyage will be far from easy and Emme finds her attraction to the mysterious Doonan inconvenient to say the least.
As for Kit, the handsome mariner has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish, and living as an outlaw with a band of escaped slaves; he has his own inner demons to confront, and his own dark secrets to keep...
Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh's settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; 'The Lost Duchess' explores what might have happened to the ill-starred 'Lost Colony' of Roanoke."
My Two Cents:
"The Lost Duchess" made me wonder why there is not more historical fiction set in the Americas. I wonder this every time I read a good book that is set in the Americas. "The Lost Duchess" is a story about Emme, a lady in waiting of sorts to Queen Elizabeth I, who goes to live in the New World. Emme isn't sure what to expect when she gets to Virginia but she's sure that it has to be better than the potential scandal threatening her back in England. This book tackles what may have happened to the mysterious Roanoke colony, one of history's great mysteries. This is a great historical fiction pick with a unique setting!
I really liked reading about Roanoke. We get to see this new place through Emme, who is just arriving, which I thought was a really good touch. We get to explore alongside with her. I liked how Barden was able to show what it would have been like for these first settlers to live in such a foreign place. I also really liked reading about how the settlers interacted with the Native Americans and each other. It was really cool to see how they came together.
I think that it can be a little bit sticky for an author to try to "solve" a true life mystery. You have to walk a fine line between what explains the mystery and what could have really happened. I was really impressed with how Barden was able to do that with Roanoke. She ties everything in such a satisfying way that what she says happens (and I don't want to give anything away) seems plausible and ties the story together very nicely!