An adventurer and privateer serving the Queen’s spymaster, Sir Christopher Hamilton is dispatched to watch over Anne Marie Fraser. Held hostage because of her treacherous father’s support of Mary Queen of Scots, Anne Marie’s cloistered plight angers and than frustrates Kit. Rescuing her from her father’s cruel hands, Kit seeks permission from the Queen to marry.
Author: Anne Herries
ISBN: 0-373-30517-6 (Harlequin Historical)
Finished/Tossed: 27 August 2007
Who: Anne Marie Fraser and Sir Christopher Hamilton
The third book of The Elizabethan Season — the autumn of her reign — spans a two year period (1586-1588). It is the period that sees the execution of Mary of Scots. It is also the period that sees both a great triumphant — the defeat of the Spanish Armada — and a great personal tragedy — the death of her beloved Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester.
Anne Marie Fraser leads a mostly uneventful life. She is being used as leverage, to ensure her father behaves himself. The couple who care for her are kind and love her like a daughter – and she loves them — yet she still feels that she must obey her father. So far, that’s been pretty easy to do. The Makepeaces allow her to practice her Catholic faith discreetly. As the Queen’s ward, Elizabeth will decide if and when she marries, and that man will be a loyal Protestant — someone Lord Fraser would definitely object to.
Walsingham is convinced that Fraser has been in contact with Anne Marie and that he is also involved in the most recent plot to put Mary on the throne. He sends Kit to spy on Anne Marie. Beth Makepeace is Kit’s kinswoman. He’s met Anne Marie, ten years ago when she was ten, and he’s not really comfortable about spying on her. He knows her life’s been hard and she has no freedom, and he thinks her whole situation is unfair to her. One of the things I liked about this book was scene where they meet for the first time since she was a girl. Anne Marie is sitting with her sketch book, contemplating the sea and wishing for a color palette, when she hears someone ask her what she’s doing. Startled at first, she does recognize him and they enter into a casual conversation as if the last time they saw each other was ten minutes ago, not ten years.
Kit is immediately smitten with her, making it all the more difficult for him to spy. He doesn’t want to pry, but he tells that if she needs someone to confide in, she can come to him. In the meantime, Kit takes her riding every day and promises to take her to a fair. Anne Marie is thrilled with these little freedoms. And she’s falling in love with Kit.
Things start going wrong for them after Kit leaves to make his report to Walsingham. Ann Marie is kidnaped by Bevis Frampton. Kit rescues her, but her attitude angers him and he lets her believe that he’s been ordered to marry her. From that point on, both misconstrue each other’s behavior. Kit does love her, but because he hasn’t explained what really happened when he saw the Queen, he thinks her cold behavior means she doesn’t love him. So Kit decides he won’t force his attentions on her and he tries to subtly woo her. Anne Marie thinks his restraint is a sign he doesn’t want her so she strives to remain reserved, not wanting to have her heart broken. It gets to the point that Kit is driven, in anger, to London — and possibly into the arms of a mistress. His mother decides to take action, though her efforts almost make things worse.
Sir Nicholas and Lady Grantly (Lady in Waiting) are Kit’s neighbors so they have a few scenes. Sir Oliver Woodville (Maid of Honor) is mentioned, but does not appear. And of course, Bevis Frampton is up to his old tricks, though he’s not much of a presence in this book.