Review by Katie Stanley, Teacher Librarian from Mount Lilydale Mercy College.
This is the third book in The Lacey Chronicles (the others are The Queen’s Lady and The Other Countess) and tells the story of Mercy Hart, the daughter of a Puritan merchant in Elizabethan England. Kit Turner is an actor and the illegitimate son of the Earl of Dorset. Mercy and Kit meet at an evening hosted by some merchant friends of the Harts where they are thrown together to perform a duet. From there it is love at first sight, though it also seems to be a doomed relationship. Mercy’s father makes it clear that if she chooses to follow Kit, it will be at the expense of her family; she will have to leave the household immediately, taking nothing with her and renouncing her family name.
The story follows their relationship, exploring what each character is prepared to work on so they can be together. The setting in Elizabethan theatre as well as Puritan society gives the reader an insight into life at this time and the tensions between different groups in society. Edwards also gives us a taste of some of the more colourful language offerings of Elizabethan England: “pestilential whoreson”, “‘swounds”, “lack-wit”, “pishery-pashery”, “‘sbones”, to name a few.
Eve Edwards is a well-known writer of historical fiction and also writes under the names of Julia Golding and Joss Stirling. She holds a doctorate from Oxford University, though there is no mention of her academic speciality. She has visited Tudor houses, attended jousts and eaten Elizabethan banquets to get the sights, sounds and tastes right for her books. This is very much in evidence in The Rogue’s Princess.
The Rogue’s Princess would suit readers, mainly girls, in Years 7-9 who enjoy historical romance. The story is written in a way that makes it suitable for younger readers. Though probably not suitable as a class novel, it could be used as wider reading around a Middle Ages topic in Humanities. It could also be used in a Literature Circles context.