WATCH THE LADY
As Penelope signs the letter, the scratch of quill on paper seems deafening. For this letter could seal her fate. As a traitor. As a target. As a marked woman.
The daughter of the Queen’s nemesis, Penelope Devereux, arrives at court blithely unaware of its pitfalls and finds herself in love with one man, yet married off to another. Bestowed with beauty and charm she and her brother, The Earl of Essex, are drawn quickly into the aging Queen’s favour. But Penelope is saddled with a husband who loathes her and chooses to strike out, risking her reputation to seek satisfaction elsewhere. But life at the heart of the court is not only characterised by the highs and lows of romance, there are formidable factions at work who would like to see the Devereux family brought down. It seems The Earl of Essex can do no wrong in the eyes of the Queen but as his influence grows so his enemies gather and it is Penelope who must draw on all her political savvy to prevent the unthinkable from happening.
Told from the perspective of Penelope and her brother’s greatest enemy the politician Cecil, this story, wrought with love, hatred and envy, unfolds over two decades in which we see the last gasps of Elizabeth’s reign, and the deadly scramble for power in a dying dynasty.
'The research and historical detail are impeccable.' The Times
'Period drama at its backstabbing best.' Sunday Sport
'A gripping tale of risky political and sexual shenanigans in the court of Elizabeth I' Woman & Home
'Watch the Lady is a glorious novel, rich in Tudor detail and splendour, chilled by Tudor cruelty and jealousy...An enormously exciting historical thriller.' Kate Atherton, For Winter Nights
'Amazingly thrilling.' The Bookbag
'Sharp, perceptive and dramatic' Sunday Express
'Fast-paced, atmospheric and enthralling,' Evening Post
'Wonderfully addictive... atmospheric and exciting.' Bookshelf Butterfly
'fast-paced storytelling with rich period detail' Good Housekeeping
‘If you want an immersive read then this is it.’ Jane Thynne Author of A War of Flowers
The final book in the trilogy is set during the time when the Elizabethan court was bursting with creativity; the age that produced Shakespeare, Donne, Spenser and Sidney, to name but a few. The novel is set around the life of Penelope Devereaux, described by a contemporary as the 'fair woman with a black soul'. Daughter of Lettice Knollys, the woman exiled from court for marrying the Queen's favourite, Penelope Devereaux was considered one of the most celebrated beauties of Elizabeth's court, inspired Sir Philip Sidney's great romantic sonnet cycle Astrophil and Stella, became embroiled in her brother the Earl of Essex's disastrous uprising and was no stranger to scandal.
From Astrophil and Stella – Philip Sidney
When Nature made her chief worke, Stellas eyes,
In colour blacke why wrapt she beames so bright?
Would she in beamy blacke, like Painter wise,
Frame daintiest lustre, mixt of shades and light?
Or did she else that sober hue deuise,
In obiect best to knitt and strength our sight;
Least, if no vaile these braue gleames did disguise,
They, sunlike, should more dazle then delight?
Or would she her miraculous power show,
That, whereas blacke seems Beauties contrary,
She euen in black doth make all beauties flow?
Both so, and thus, she, minding Loue should be
Plac'd euer there, gaue him this mourning weede
To honour all their deaths who for her bleed.