The Lady Grace Mysteries, Book the First
Finished: Mar. 26, 2011
First Published: 2004
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: historical fiction, children, Elizabethan, mystery
The Thirteenth Day of February, in the Year of Our Lord 1569
I am supposed to use this book to write all my prayers and meditations in.
Acquired: Purchased used at a book/garage sale or thrift shop.
Reason for Reading: This is another book from the Random Bookshelf that I am reading from this year. This book interested me because of its similarity to the Dear Canada/Royal Diaries books with the added bonus of being a mystery.
Lady Grace Cavendish is 13 years old and one of Queen Elizabeth I's Maids of Honour (a step below a Lady-in-Waiting). She writes in her daybooke as if it were a diary about her day to day adventures which become quite exciting. Since the Queen is her godmother and promised her dead mother that she would acquire a suitable husband for Grace a party is to be celebrated this Valentine's. Here Grace will pick one of her three suitors to be handfasted to until she is sixteen and ready for betrothal. By the end of that night Grace has picked her future husband, a murder has been committed and her betrothed is locked up as the killer with evidence plainly in sight against him. Grace, with the Queen's approval, sets out to prove his innocence along with the help of her friends, a laundry girl, and a boy from the acrobatic troupe.
The mystery is fun, Grace is spunky, and the historical setting is quite realistic. All the characters, except Grace, behave and speak according to the period. Grace herself is a fictional character, but real life historical figures do take a part in the story. The atmosphere is very anti-Catholic, with quite a lot of rude prejudiced statements uttered but this is true to history as the time period *was* entirely anti-Catholic to the point of death and religious wars. The author's historical note does nothing to explain this bias, though, which is unfortunate. I didn't take to Grace herself as she acted and spoke as a modern girl would. She barely even cared that she was breaking very strict rules by cavorting around at nighttime on her own, and alas, her punishments were nothing as would have befallen a real girl of the 1500s. Grace's way of speaking is very modern, and the things she wrote in her daybooke would have been blasphemous at the time period, even for the new Church of England faith. As to the mystery, unfortunately, I had it solved before it even occurred! But of course, this is coming from my adult eyes and I do think because the historical setting, with the exception of Grace, is quite accurate that the series could be of some historical benefit and girls will probably enjoy spunky Grace's escapades around court, in hidden corners with the staff and nighttime derring-do.
Once of my objectives in reading from this Random Bookshelf is to move books out of the house, if they are not keepers. This book will be going to my niece.