Whenever people tell me their
favourite of all my books, this is the one that is most often mentioned. I
think people love the character of Hannah, who is invented but inspired by the
existence of a real female 'Fool' who served Mary I. If you have a hardback
edition you can see the royal picture which is thought to show her in a doorway in the
endpapers. It is one of my favourite books and led on to The Virgin's Lover.
Henry VIII is dead,
succeeded by his only legitimate son, nine year old Edward VI. Too young to
rule, the realm is governed by a Regency Council, led by his uncle, Edward
Seymour. Edward has continued his father's reformation of the church and
Protestantism is becoming established, however England is still unsettled with
rioting and rebellions common. Edward was close to and well loved by both of
his half-sisters: the Catholic Princess Mary, daughter of Katherine of Aragon
and the Protestant Princess Elizabeth, daughter of the executed Anne Boleyn.
However, he and his advisors were concerned that should he die without issue, his sister Princess Mary would return the country to
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