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Friday, December 20, 2013

British Monarchs

On this day in 2007, Queen Elizabeth II became the oldest British monarch in history (previously, it was Queen Victoria.) Of course, Her Royal Majesty is still going strong, so let's celebrate with some books about British monarchs.

   

Prisoners in the Palace: How Princess Victoria became Queen with the Help of Her Maid, a Reporter, and a Scoundrel by Micaela MacColl. The year before Victoria became Queen, she was more or less under house arrest as her mother and her lover schemed to control the soon-to-be queen. When Liza comes to be her new lady's maid, she must find a way to let Victoria be her own queen--one that will define an Empire.

Victoria Rebels by Carolyn Meyer. Based on the Queen's actual journals, Meyer recreates Victoria's childhood, teen, and early adult years, including the first years of her reign and her marriage to Prince Albert.

God Save the Queen by Kate Locke. In the steampunk paranormal present, Queen Victoria still reigns and all of the aristocracy is undead (either vamped or wolved.) When Xandra's sister Dede kills herself, Xandra finds herself drawn into a rebellion plot and the knowledge that the world she loves and adores has a very, very dark underbelly. Victoria has a small role in this one, and appears throughout the series. Published for adults, this has high teen appeal. Follow it with The Queen Is Dead.

   

Soulless by Gail Carriger. Alexia Tarabotti is a half-Italian blue-stocking spinster in Victorian London. Every knows that. What not every knows is that she has no soul. In a London teeming with vampires, werewolves, and ghosts, Alexia can turn them mortal with a mere touch. But lately, random vampires are attacking her, and others have disappeared. They're after Alexia, too, but only if she doesn't find them first. Queen Victoria herself has words about the matter, in the end. The first in a delightful series, follow it with Changeless.

Gilt by Katherine Longshore. This is the story of Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's doomed 5th wife. Narrated by Cat's best friend Kitty, it starts in the Dowager's house and largely focuses on life at court. This is also one of my favorite looks at Lady Rochford.Be sure to check out Longshore's take on Anne Boleyn in Tarnish.

Nine Days a Queen: The Short Life and Reign of Lady Jane Grey by Ann Rinaldi. When her cousin Edward dies, Jane becomes 3rd in line for the English throne. Desperate to not have a Catholic queen, her fiance works to put her on the throne instead. Jane becomes queen for nine days before being beheaded. (Seriously--why is this not a story that YA fiction is all over?)

   

Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan. The Maids of Honor are Queen Elizabeth's secret all-female guard. Meg used to be a pickpocket before joining, and uses her spy skills when the Spanish Court comes to visit-- but her judgement may be clouded by a certain dashing courtier. The second book in the series will be out in June. Until then, there's an e-only novella, A Thief Before Christmas.

The Grace Mysteries: Assassin & Betrayal by Lady Grace Cavendish. One of Queen Elizabeth's Maids of Honour, Grace isn't quite ready for caring about dresses and boys. But with her friendships throughout the castle, and ability (as a "silly girl") to overhear important conversations, Grace becomes the Queen's top detective and spy. This book holds the first two volumes in the series.

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve. When her village is burned, young Gwyna is taken into service by the bard Myrddin. She gets a first-hand glimpse of the realities of Camelot and how much is just the stories that Myrddin spins.

What books would you add? Which British monarch do you wish would star in their own YA book?

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