Eliza dreams of being a playwright for the king’s theater, where she will be admired for her witty turns of phrase rather than her father’s wealth.
Beth is beautiful as the day but poor as a church mouse, so she must marry well, despite her love for her childhood sweetheart.
Zabby comes to England to further her scientific studies—and ends up saving the life of King Charles II. Soon her friendship with him becomes a dangerous, impossible obsession. Though she knows she should stay away from the young, handsome king, Charles has a new bride, Queen Catherine, and a queen needs ladies in waiting.
And so Zabby, Beth, and Eliza, three Elizabeths from very different walks of life, find themselves at the center of the most scandal-filled court that England has ever seen.
I’m not exactly sure why I wanted to read this because historical YA isn’t something that I normally read but I’m not exactly mad that I read it. I will say that it was an interesting read. I was drawn into the court of King Charles and I was curious to read about the lives of the three Elizabeth’s that were ladies maids to Queen Catherine.
There’s Eliza, Beth and Zabby. Eliza is the writer, Beth is the pretty but poor one and Zabby is the nerdy scientist that saves the Kings life. Of the three Elizabeths, the story that I was most drawn to was Zabby’s. Zabby spends two weeks behind closed doors with the King and only her, the King and his servant know the real reason that they were stuck together. He was sick with the plague and she healed him but while they were together for those two weeks, Zabby fell in love with him.
What a guy Zabby picked to fall in love with. He’s the King of England, he’s married and he has so many mistresses it’d be impossible to count them all in one day. Instead of becoming another one of his mistresses (even though she’s kind of wanting to become one), she becomes King Charles friend and they develop a friendship that she treasures above all. She’s obsessed with him, she’s in love with him and she wants to become his Queen but because he already has a Queen, knows that he can’t ever possibly want someone as plain as her. I really liked Zabby because of her personality and because she was a good person at heart. She had all of these feelings for her friend that she couldn’t possibly act on but she couldn’t leave him either. So it was the worst kind of love for her, being in love with someone who didn’t feel the same way and not being able to walk away from it all.
Both Beth and Eliza’s storylines weren’t as compelling to me as Zabby’s story.
Beth is in love with a man from her past, a man that loves her right back but they can never be together because her mother wouldn’t approve (their families don’t get along) and he’s a wanted criminal. Their love was totally real to Beth but for me, not so much. I’m not even sure I can explain why Beth’s story was my least favorite of the three stories. It just was. Beth was a two dimensional character that I should have liked more than I did but the plain Zabby took all of my interest. So much so that there wasn’t much left over for either Beth and Eliza.
Eliza’s father is rich and she doesn’t ever want to get married. She wants to become a play write and be free to write her stories and her plays. She wants to be able to sell her stories and she’d like that more than she’d like to get married to the guy that her father has chosen for her. Of the three Elizabeth’s, Eliza was the more outspoken and funny. She had a lot of funny lines and it was easy to see why she wanted to be a writer so much but like I said with Beth, I should have liked her more than I did but because I was so wrapped up with Zabby’s obsession with the King, Eliza and Beth’s storylines fell to the wayside for me.
I think Sullivan did a fine job of writing a story of the royal court back in the day and it was easy to follow along with but I’m not sure I’d read another historical YA story. As much as I enjoyed this one, I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed it enough to read something else of this nature. I wasn’t a fan with the way King Charles lived his life and I wasn’t a fan with the way that the story ended but even with all of that said, I couldn’t put this book down either. I don’t even know if I’d recommend this book because I was a bit let down with the way that Zabby and King Charles story ended. I will say that it was a compelling read that kept me interested all the way throughout the story.
..and that’s your scoop!
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