The Siren Queen by Fiona Buckley Book Summary:
The year is 1569. Ursula Blanchard, illegitimate half sister to Queen Elizabeth I and sometime spy on the Queen's behalf, is happily married to wealthy Hugh Stannard and living quietly in the country. Ursula's thoughts are on domestic matters as she watches her daughter, Meg, grow up. Meg will soon be fourteen, so perhaps it is time to think of a betrothal. When an invitation to visit arrives from the powerful Duke of Norfolk, Ursula and Hugh welcome the chance for Meg to meet an apparently worthy young man of the Duke's household, Edmund Dean. Is he a possible husband for Meg? It's love at first sight, at least on Meg's part. Young Dean seems to admire Meg as well, and he's even more impressed with her promised dowry. Ursula, though, has her doubts. Does she see something cruel in the man's eyes? Soon, more weighty matters demand Ursula's attention. Two men are dead under mysterious circumstances, and there may be a new plot to put Mary, Queen of Scots, on the English throne. A letter written in cipher may contain the information Ursula needs -- but can she decode the letter in time to save the half sister and Queen she loves? And what shattering personal discovery will the letter reveal? Surrounded by treachery, Ursula wonders whom she can trust. Is the great Duke of Norfolk himself part of the plot against Queen Elizabeth? And what about the young man who would marry Meg? With richly drawn characters and riveting historical accuracy, The Siren Queen sweeps us into a suspenseful and passionate re-creation of one of the most tumultuous and colorful eras of English history.