Rose Turner and Will Sheffield are unexpected characters. They are thrown together under fateful circumstances. Will, a spy for Queen Elizabeth I, is attending Mary, Queen of Scots' court, befriending the Queen's petulant and self-centered husband Darnley. He is keeping an eye on the various levels of simmering discontent and rumors swirling around the court as Mary and Darnley's son is about to be baptized. He doesn't expect a plot to murder the Earl of Darnley to be on the list of planned activities.
Rose is a reiver's daughter, a wild young lass more akin to the freedom of the outdoors than a stuffy rigid court. Her mother had been an attendant to Mary's mother. That's how Rose finds herself at court attending Mary, bearing her mother's high expectations of finding a husband and station in life. What Rose wants is to be back home with her family and animals. Which in a roundabout way is how she stumbles onto the plot to kill Darnley. Will himself is spying on the plotters when he sees Rose accidentally overhearing the conspirators. He also sees that one of them discovers Rose's dropped shawl when she hastens to get away. Will seeks to protect Rose and in the midst of all the dangerous subterfuge is smitten by her. One thing leads to another--Rose is in grave danger, Will is denying his feelings for her, Darnley is a depraved, lecherous seducer and is stalking Rose, and one of the traitors is looking to trap Rose into marriage--a marriage she wouldn't survive. Danger, tragedy and death loom large on Rose's horizon and Will is all that can avert that. The search for the plotters' identities is key to Rose's safety. As Will struggles with that Rose battles with whether or not to tell Mary of what she knows. A decision that could cost her all.
I enjoyed both Will and Rose. I shivered fearfully with Rose as she tried to hide from Darnley, sympathized with her situation and thoroughly enjoyed this contribution to All the Queen's Spies.
Cullen has taken this historically turbulent time and created a riveting romantic drama.
A NetGalley ARC