Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ladies in Waiting by Laura Sullivan

Book: Ladies in Waiting

Author: Laura Sullivan
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date: May 8, 2012
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
My grade: A-
Eliza dreams of being a playwright for the king’s theater, where she will be admired for her witty turns of phrase rather than her father’s wealth. Beth is beautiful as the day but poor as a church mouse, so she must marry well, despite her love for her childhood sweetheart. Zabby comes to England to further her scientific studies—and ends up saving the life of King Charles II. Soon her friendship with him becomes a dangerous, impossible obsession. Though she knows she should stay away from the young, handsome king, Charles has a new bride, Queen Catherine, and a queen needs ladies in waiting. And so Zabby, Beth, and Eliza, three Elizabeths from very different walks of life, find themselves at the center of the most scandal-filled court that England has ever seen.

My Review

Initial Reaction
A whirlwind story but what the heck happened to the ending????

Title and Cover
I’m happy with both the title and the cover. The title works and doesn’t sound hokey and the cover is gorgeous. Also, the characters actually wear long, beautiful gowns, so there’s a reason that they are on the cover! Hooray!

The plot
Whoa!! What a plot! This court has more twists and turns than the Rock n Roller Coaster! I really loved seeing all the court intrigue and following all 3 of the girls as they tried to navigate through court politics, love, friendship and interests. The way that the author could weave together the fictional plot with the actual historical facts was very fascinating. This book pulled me in and I had a hard time putting it down because I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next.

Until I got to the end. Then the book just……stopped. Almost mid-sentence. I looked down at my Nook to see if there was something wrong and couldn’t believe it when I saw that I was on the last page. It was very bizarre and somewhat disconcerting. I doubt that she plans a sequel, but I would really like to know what becomes of the girls. There is nothing to let me know what happens to any of them. This abrupt ending is what dropped this book from an A to an A- for me. I’m still a little shell-shocked from the ending and it left me unsatisfied with the outcome.

Also, I hope that the publisher will consider putting some historical notes in the back about the real figures in the book and the real history. I ended up looking on Wikipedia.

The characters
They are magnificent!!!! I loved all 3 of the Elizabeths and it was so great to see the court from each girl’s point of view, especially since they were so different. Sometimes Eliza and Zabby seemed a little too modern, though, but I found that I could accept it and move on. The secondary characters were also well-developed. I feel like I came to know the King, his mistress Lady Castlemaine, the Queen and some of the other lesser characters in addition to the main 3 characters. They were all very three-dimensional characters that I both loved and hated in turns. That makes for a very satisfying read.

The final grade
My grade for this book is an A-. This is a fabulous book for history buffs, but also for anyone who likes to have exceptional characters in a plot of intrigue. If they would just fix that ending, this would be one of my favorite books so far this year.

Thanks to HMH and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book. I received no compensation for my review, not even a tour of the King’s elaboratory.

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