Friday, February 21, 2014

Review: The Queen's Dwarf by Ella March Chase

Title: The Queen's Dwarf
Author: Ella March Chase
Format: Hardcover
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publish Date: January 21, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the publisher; however, this did not affect my review.

Why You're Reading This Book:

  • You're a historical fiction fan.
What's the Story?:

From "It's 1629, and King Charles I and his French queen Henrietta-Maria have reigned in England for less than three years. Young dwarf Jeffrey Hudson is swept away from a village shambles and plunged into the Stuart court when his father sells him to the most hated man in England--the Duke of Buckingham.

Buckingham trains Jeffrey to be his spy in the household of Charles' seventeen-year-old bride, hoping to gain intelligence that will help him undermine the vivacious queen's influence with the king. Desperately homesick in a country that hates her for her nationality and Catholic faith, Henrietta-Maria surrounds herself with her "Royal Menagerie of Freaks and Curiosities of Nature"--a "collection" consisting of a giant, two other dwarves, a rope dancer, an acrobat/animal trainer and now Jeffrey, who is dubbed "Lord Minimus."

Dropped into this family of misfits, Jeffrey must negotiate a labyrinth of court intrigue and his own increasingly divided loyalties. For not even the plotting of the Duke nor the dangers of a tumultuous kingdom can order the heart of a man. Though he is only eighteen inches tall, Jeffrey Hudson's love will reach far beyond his grasp--to the queen he has been sent to destroy."

My Two Cents:

"The Queen's Dwarf" is the story of Jeffrey Hudson, a dwarf, who becomes a part of Queen Henrietta Marie's (consort of King Charles I) menagerie. Yes, he becomes more of a pet than a part of the court. It was sort of sad to me how he was treated but such was life for so many that didn't fit the definition of "normal" in 1629. Jeffrey becomes a spy in the court for the Duke of Buckingham, a guy that leaves something to be desired in the way of congeniality. I enjoyed following Jeffrey's story in this book!

This story was a really different take on the typical court story. I liked that it followed a very different character in Jeffrey. He is not the typical character and it made for a much more interesting storyline to me! This book has a lot of intrigue in it with Jeffrey's spying, which I really enjoyed reading about. It took me awhile to get into the story and while the story was interesting, I thought some parts could have been slimmed down a bit but overall, my fellow historical fiction lovers are probably going to find a lot to like about this story.

I really found it interesting that Jeffrey's character was based on a real person. The author really did a good job of bringing Jeffrey and the rest of the people in the book to life. There is a lot of good detail about what it might be like to be on the sort of periphery of the court and not really being allowed to fully participate. I really liked reading about Jeffrey and some of the other people in Queen Henrietta Marie's menagerie. It had to be so strange to be treated more like a pet than a person. I really felt for those people.

Overall, I really enjoyed this off-the-beaten-path tale!



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