Sunday, August 4, 2013

Review: In Defense of the Queen by Michelle Diener

Title: In Defense of the Queen
Author: Michelle Diener
Series: Susanna Horenbout and John Parker #3
Publication: August 1st 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: e-arc
Cover Rating: 4/5
Overall Rating: 5/5

eCopy provided in exchange for an honest review.

An artist never betrays her patron . . . especially one of the world's most powerful kings.

Susanna Horenbout has learned this lesson from the cradle. But when she receives a letter from her father telling her to do just that, she faces a dilemma. Betray Henry VIII, or carry out the request of her father’s employer, Margaret of Austria, and pass secret information to Henry’s queen, Katherine of Aragon.

Caught between the machinations of her husband and her nephew, the Emperor Charles, Queen Katherine needs all the allies she can get. But what can Susanna really do to help her, and even if she does, will it be enough?

Susanna and her betrothed, Parker——one of Henry's most trusted courtiers——balance on the knife’s edge of treason as they try to make sense of both international and domestic conspiracies. Sometimes, it's better the enemy you know . . .

~My Thoughts:

I received In Defense of the Queen for review through NetGalley and also a huge thanks to Michelle Diener to send me a link that approved it for me. She's always so kind to me for letting me review her books. Thank you, Michelle! 

Defense of the Queen is quite different in many ways from the other two books in the Susanna Horenbout and John Parker series. And I mean that definitely not in a bad way because I loved this book as much as the other two in the series. Being the third book in this series doesn't take any of the overall amazingness of it. 

In Defense of the Queen we meet Susanna's brother Lucas who has secret information from her father from Margaret of Austria to pass along to queen Katherine. This leads to Susanna (and excuse me for the spoiler) being temporarily imprisoned in the Tower by accusations of treason. Her and her betrothed Parker's life are in more danger than ever...

It was different in a way because I read it in less than a day, just in a few hours. I almost never read that fast and just the last book I read which was about the same size took me a whole week to read. It can only be because Michelle Diener's writing is exceptionally fantastic. The other things that made it different was the story. It felt different to me, good different of course because of where it all headed. I never expected a lot of things to happen the way they did.

Historical facts and fiction thrown together the way Michelle Diener does is amazing. I love reading the afterword where she explains some of the actual facts and love how she tries to make them as accurate as she can. Her writing is still as flawless as ever. I had a hard time stopping to read chapter after chapter so before I knew it I was finished and left speechless. I also dearly love when I see some Flemish words in these books. I can't help but smile at that since I am Flemish and Susanna Horenbout actually came from Ghent here in Belgium. 

Susanna as always was very strong as a main character. Even when she was locked up in the Tower she kept her cool although she was very afraid. I do admire her for her courage. She and Parker truly make a perfect pair and I love how Parker would do anything for her. Maybe even flee Engand to be safe. I love romance and although there isn't much of it, I'm glad it's not the main object in these books. The way Michelle writes it feels like perfection to me. Nothing to comment on at all.

Overall, In Defence of the Queen was a amazing addition to the Susanna Horenbout and John Parker series that I loved reading. Hard to put this book down, it's as exciting and deadly as ever. I can't wait for the next instalment and read about more adventures from Susanna and Parker. 

~Favorite Quotes:
The false notes in his question were like poor colour mixes on a painting, like an obvious patch-up on a torn inlay of gold leaf.
"I had to come." He whispered the words into her hair. "I can't seem to sleep if you aren't with me."

~About the author:
Michelle Diener writes historical fiction. Her Susanna Horenbout and John Parker series starts with IN A TREACHEROUS COURT. Set in the court of Henry VIII, it features the real historical figures of artist Susanna Horenbout and Henry’s Keeper of the Palace of Westminster and Yeoman of the King’s Robes, John Parker. It was followed by KEEPER OF THE KING’S SECRETS, also featuring Susanna Horenbout and John Parker, and DANGEROUS SANCTUARY, a short story with the same characters, set between the two books, is currently available as an ebook only.
Set during the Napoleonic Wars in London in 1811, THE EMPEROR’S CONSPIRACY, was released on November 27th, 2012. BANQUET OF LIES, which is connected to THE EMPEROR’S CONSPIRACY, is set to release on October 22nd, 2013.

On 1 March 2013, DAUGHTER OF THE SKY was released. It is set in Zululand at the outbreak of the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.

Michelle also contributed a short paranormal story to the ENTANGLED Anthology entitled BREAKING OUT. All the proceeds of the sale of ENTANGLED go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Michelle was born in London, grew up in South Africa, and now lives in Australia with her husband and two children.

When she’s not writing, or driving her kids from activity to activity, you can find her blogging at Magical Musings, or online at Twitter and Facebook.
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