" (3.5 stars) This is the first book in the Ursula Blanchard series. Set in the time of Queen Elizabeth in England, Ursula has fallen upon hard times with the death of her husband, and as neither family approved of the marriage, she takes the offer of becoming one of the Queen's ladies, leaving her young daughter in the care of a nurse in a small rented cottage. When she arrives at Court she must navigate the politics of her new situation, and her small budget barely covers the necessities of her position. The gossip surrounds the Queen and her Master of the Horse, Robin Dudley, who is married with an ill wife. Rumors also float around about attempts to poison this wife, whose death would theoretically free Dudley to marry the Queen. To her surprise, Ursula is courted by a wealthy Frenchman, but his politics and religious leanings may prove problematic for her. Ursula is asked by the Queen to go to the aid of Dudley's wife and to see what she can find out about the threats against her. While she is a bit reluctant, she cannot turn down the generous amount to be paid to her by Dudley. Ursula is not warmly welcomed, but gradually earns some trust. It becomes clear to her that things are not right in this divided household, and she becomes convinced that someone is trying to kill Amy. By being observant, and using some cunning, Ursula gains some knowledge and when two deaths occur, she must work quickly to figure out what happened and looks to have to risk her family and/or her happiness to solve the crimes. This was an intriguing look at the stressful time in English history where religious turmoil and politics threatened to destroy a nation. "
— Michelle, 1/13/2014