Friday, 19 April 2013

UKYA Review: The Lady in the Tower by Marie-Louise Jensen

Published by: Oxford University Press
Release date: 1st January 2009
Series: n/a
I got it from: Library

Goodreads summary: 

Spring 1540: "I am afraid. You are in grave danger. Mother, will you run away with me if I can free you?"

The servants call it the Lady Tower: the isolated part of the castle where Eleanor's mother is imprisoned after a terrible accusation. For four years Eleanor's only comfort has been their secret notes to one another.

A chance discovery reveals a plot to murder her mother. Now Eleanor must free her before it is too late. But with danger and betrayal at every turn, she can trust no one. Especially not her father. Eleanor must use all her cunning to survive. For she soon realises that it is not just her mother she needs to save ...but also herself.

My review:
I couldn't decide whether I liked Eleanor or not. In the end I decided she was a very good portrayal of a 15 year-old girl at that time. Her life was not easy, and she did not know whom she could trust. Fifteen was old enough to marry then, and I believe that the way children were brought up meant that a girl of 15 was probably equal to a girl of about 17 now - practically an adult, expected to know her own mind and act her part. But who really knows their own mind at that age? What comes across well in this book is that there is no getting away from the fact that Eleanor is just 15. She has had a very sheltered upbringing and really can't be expected to act as an adult. So when she thinks like a whiny teenager, makes foolish decisions and seems like a child, we have to remember that is what she is.

This is one of those books that really is YA - I don't think it makes the crossover to YA-enjoyed-by-adults. I'm quite sure that if I had read this book when I was 15, I would have absolutely loved it. The combination of history, adventure and a hint of romance hits just the right tone. The historical side of the story is very interesting, and the excitement of murder plots, escape plans, secrets and betrayals make for a book that is hard to put down.

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