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helenliz

helenliz

The Lady in the Tower

The Lady in the Tower - Marie-Louise Jensen At times this was great fun, at others I wanted to scream and throw something at the car stereo, either because she was being quite so dense or because she's a 16th centuray heroine with 21st centuary attitude. But overall it was entertaining enough.This is set in at the time of Henry VIII's marriage to Anne of Cleeves and is set in a real location - Farleigh Hungerford Castle is one of the country's real fairy tale castles. Although it is in ruins now, is is under the care of English Heritage you can visit and explore. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/farleigh-hungerford-castle/. I've been previous to reading this book, but knowing it was real did add an air of authenticity. Eleanor Hungerford is born to wealth and privilidge. She is indulged by her father to an extraordinary (and likely highly unbelievable) extent. She rides astride, she is allowed to train to joust, she can read & write, she has free rein to explore the castle and has picked up some atrociaous language from the grooms. All of which is appealing to today's YA at whom this is aimed, but which did annoy me a little.All goes swimmingly until her father returned, accused her mother of witchcraft and had her locked in the southwest tower - which soon becomes known as the titular Lady Tower. Things come to a head 4 years later when Eleanor is promised in marriage to Lord Stanton, who she's never met. At this point she realises that her mother (who's life has been threatened by the Chaplain and has been poisoned before by him) would be unable to survive if she left the castle - who would provide the food & water from the kitchens? So Eleanor makes plans for them to escape. All of which is jolly good fun, but is not terribly believable. I know that there are some stunningly brave and determined women in our history, but Eleanor can barely think her way to the end of a sentence, let alone seems able to think her and her mother out of this terrible fix. Without giving away the ending, she does rather bring the world down about her ears, but also manages to survive.I wouldn't advise this should be read entirely for historical accuracy, but there are enough background details and snipets of court news to make the story sit reasonably well in its time period. (note - I found out my guidebook and there was a Walter Hungerford who was Lord at the time of Henry VIII, and he was married 3 times and his last wife did write to Cromwell claiming that she'd been imprisoned these 3-4 years with little food & water & that the Chaplain had tried to poison her. This Walter was executed for treason - as the book indicates. There's no mention in the guidebook of a daughter, nor that she was quite as depicted here.) Eleanor is the one thing that does stick out like a slightly sore thumb, but she's a 15 yr old girl - somewhat dense and self centered, like most 15 year old girls are. And that's the author's target market and I should imagine it appeals quite well.