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Watch the Lady

by Elizabeth Fremantle

Part of the The Tudor Trilogy Series

Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel eBooks of the Month Family Drama Historical Fiction

LoveReading View on Watch the Lady

Elizabeth Fremantle has delivered another fabulously engrossing read, her ability to bring some of the most fascinating women from the 16th century to the forefront of historical fiction is truly impressive. History declares that Penelope Devereux was much more than just a pretty face, the period covered starts in 1581, when Penelope begins to understand how she can influence her life by using her intuition and intellect. Fremantle takes the foundation of historical information and builds a fictional tower of intrigue, wit and strength; most importantly of all she breathes vibrant life into the corridors of power. Even though it feels as though meticulous research has been carried out, this doesn't feel like a history lesson; instead find yourself transported into a story that is beguiling, absorbing and wonderfully readable. ~ Liz Robinson

Liz Robinson

Watch the Lady Synopsis

The Queen's God Daughter. Her Most Trusted Maid. Adultress. Enemy Of The State. Who Is The Real Penelope Deveraux? Penelope Devereux is a legendary beauty in the court of Elizabeth I, with a smile that would light up the shadows of hell. But it's not just her looks which have won her favour with the Queen wing; her canny instinct for being in the right place at the right time, and her skilled political manoeuvrings under the guise of diplomacy, have rendered her a formidable adversary to anyone who stands in her path. Including Elizabeth. For Penelope must secure the future of the Devereux dynasty at whatever cost. Even treason. And the Queen, a woman she holds responsible for the death of her father, the exile of her mother and her failure to marry the one man she ever truly loved, is just one more pawn in a deadly game. Walking the knife-edge of court, whilst ensuring that her reckless brother Essex remains the only star in the Queen's firmament - and out of the Tower - Penelope must plan for the inevitable succession of an ailing monarch. But her secret letters of friendship to a foreign King - one who has a strong claim to the English throne - could see her illustrious family in the gutter and her own head on the block. It would only take a single mistake, a slip of the tongue, an intercepted message for Penelope to become the architect of her downfall. In a world where sister is turned against brother, husband against wife, courtier against queen, the rules of the game are forever changing. Discover the truth in Elizabeth Fremantle's stunning new novel about an extraordinary woman who helped change the course of England's history forever. This sumptuous historical drama is perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Hilary Mantel and Jessie Burton. Praise for Watch the Lady: The research and historical detail are impeccable. and fans will enjoy this evocation of Elizabeth's tumultuous court. (The Times). A glamorous tale peopled by warrior poets, flamboyant courtiers and shameless loves, it is also sharp, perceptive and dramatic. (Sunday Express). Be transported to the court of Elizabeth I, where Penelope Devereux is prepared to do anything in the scramble for power. Watch The Lady by Elizabeth Fremantle combines fast-paced storytelling with rich period detail. (Good Housekeeping). Penelope Devereux, perspicacious, beautiful and muse of Sir Philip Sidney, will stop at nothing for the sake of her family. I was gripped by the tale of risky political and sexual shenanigans in the court of Elizabeth l. (Woman and Home). If you want an immersive read then this is it. The remarkable story of the beautiful Penelope Devereux comes vividly alive, bursting with colour and detail. The reader is transported to the perilous Elizabethan court, with all its plots, treachery and heartbreak, and gains fascinating insights into some of the most important figures of the time. Yet again Elizabeth Fremantle has produced a pacey, powerful narrative that kept this reader riveted throughout. (Jane Thynne). Penelope is a fascinating character and beautifully drawn in this enthralling, moving and immaculately written novel...Fremantle handles the intriguing with aplomb and it's impossible to read the books without feeling you are living events alongside the characters. (Imogen Robertson, Historia).'s a delight to keep Penelope company as she plunges into the intrigues of Elizabeth's court. (The History Girls). Praise for Elizabeth Fremantle: Fremantle is surely a major new voice in historical fiction (...) what Hilary Mantel fans should read while waiting for the final part of her trilogy. (The Bookseller). An endlessly fascinating era, and Fremantle manages to combine pacey storytelling with superb's terrifically entertaining. (The Times). Rich and Enticing. (Stylist). Gripping. (Woman and Home).

Watch the Lady Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

  • Lorraine Blencoe - 'What a holiday read with a difference. 'Wolf Hall' set the bar as regards fiction for the Reign of Henry VIII, but  this is entirely from a different angle. Really enjoyed it. Look forward to more from this author.'
  • Melanie Kane - 'this has made for an extremely interesting read and has moved me to delve further into the history of The Virgin Queen and her Court. Superbly written and a joy to read.'
  • Anne Rhodes - 'Read – and follow her through every stage; the happiness, the love, the danger, the fear, above all the excitement, the challenge as she meets each new problem head on.'
  • Sarah Jones - 'A gripping novel with fascinating insight into the life of the Elizabethan court and the life of one of its celebrated beauties.'
  • Alan Brown - 'Enthralling...The strength of the book stems from the story's closeness to the truth...Fiction and fact merge.'
  • Celia Cohen - 'It is an excellently written book and I'm sure if I had read this at school I would actually have enjoyed history!'
  • Sarah Warbey - 'An enjoyable historical thriller set in the court of Elizabeth I: a hotbed of adultery, treason and spies.'
  • Jane Brown  - The author packs a punch with good well researched historical novels, the plot is good and can be complex in the use of many characters...I thoroughly recommend this novel.'
  • Rachel Aygin - 'This book had everything: exciting plot, striking characters and an incredibly realistic setting. I loved it.'
  • Sandra Rabiasz - 'Slow burning and atmospheric...Really enjoyable read and made me google Penelope!'
  • Debbie Patrick - 'Well written & well worth reading. I will be reading more of Elizabeth Freemantle's books in future.Would recommend.'
  • Janice Maxwell - 'What a wonderful period read.  I loved everything about Queen Elizabeth's court - the intrigue, the duplicitousness, the drama, the back stabbing, the romance.  I thoroughly enjoyed every page.'
  • Kathy Howell - 'The book is well written and keeps moving at a good pace so it is hard to put down! I am pleased to recommend it.'
  • Cathy Petersen - 'Terrifically good read with a truly captivating and unconventional heroine at its heart.'
  • Joy Bosworth - 'A compassionate family leader of a deadly plotter depending upon which side you saw Penelope Devereux from...The book is gripping and, with so much intrigue, surprisingly easy to follow.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.'
  • Tania Pascaru - 'Political intrigue, treason, love, family...slow paced but enjoyable.'

Watch the Lady Press Reviews

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781405909440
Publication date: 11/02/2016
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780718177102
Publication date: 18/06/2015
Publisher: Michael Joseph Ltd an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781405909440
Publication date: 11th February 2016
Author: Elizabeth Fremantle
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 496 pages
Genres: Reader Reviewed Books, eBook Favourites, Family Drama, Historical Fiction,
Categories: Historical fiction,

About Elizabeth Fremantle

Elizabeth Fremantle is the author of Queen's Gambit, Sisters of Treason and Watch the Lady. She holds a first in English and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck. As a Fashion Editor she has contributed to various publications including Vogue, Elle, and Vanity Fair.   Author Photo © Phyllis Christopheri

More About Elizabeth Fremantle

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