Her Majesty’s Maiden
by Michelle Houston
12.3 K words
Ebook- Phaze Publishing
Buy it Phaze
When Margaret Dudley joined the ranks of Queen Elizabeth I as a gentlewomen, she never expected the whirlwind of changes that occurred in her life.
Expecting to retreat to the background, to serve her sovereign with integrity and devotion, she never dreamed she’d find herself embroiled in a world of jealousy, lust, and betrayal.
Or that she would experience a love that surpasses all.
OK, I’m going to say it. The first book that I read of Ms. Houston’s didn’t leave me with a great impression. I have bought other books of hers that I haven’t read yet since then. But this book in particular attracted me because it’s really rare to find a f/f historical. So I bought it and unlike the others, didn’t leave it on my shelf to read at a later date.
What a nice little story this was! It’s got all the elements to make it not only erotic, but fun to read. Like a typical fairytale story with greed, passion, and evil doings. Although it’s a short story, it was written with no big gaping holes or areas left untouched with a nice flow in the story telling.
Margaret was born illegitimate. Having no prospects for marriage due to this, she ends up as one of the queen’s ladies to serve her in her private quarters. As soon as she sees the queen in person, she’s enthralled by her. As the days wear on, serving her, she finds herself feeling something she can’t explain for the queen.
Queen Elizabeth takes Margaret under her wing straight away. It’s pretty clear in this story that Queen Elizabeth has been having lesbian trysts with some of her other ladies and it’s pretty clear that she has more than special feelings for Margaret.
Of course, there is evil lurking in the wings as the other ladies have found their favor displaced by the Queen’s affection for Margaret and back stabbing events go on, which throws a wrench in Margaret’s life as the queen’s favorite and maybe even her status as a free being.
I can’t speak to the historical accuracy of this story. I’m not talking about actual people or events, the author does write a disclaimer that she took a lot of liberties with facts. I’m talking about the language used, whether or not ladies to the queen were set up to be married while in service to the queen or the status of illegitimate children of the upper crust. I don’t know much about these things, so if you do, this is something that might push your buttons or not.
Strictly from a visceral experience, I thought the characters came to life in a real way. Queen Elizabeth is somehow how I’d imagine someone of her status would be. She’s commanding, she’s soft but dominating with Margaret and acts on her basest of emotions at times flying into a rage at any perceived slight. She’s really smitten by Margaret and that comes through. She’s also extremely jealous and thinks that everyone will fall in love with Margaret.
“Breathlessly, she waited for the order to leave the royal bed, and found herself instead curled up against Elizabeth’s side. “Oh, my darling, I know that I frightened you, but you pleased me so well tonight. Libby, precious Libby, I want to drape you in diamonds and emeralds and have you parade naked everywhere we go so that I can watch the envious eyes follow us, knowing that they can never have you. Yet, I find I cannot bear the thought of anyone else’s eyes on you but mine. Even my beloved Kat, who is as a mother to me, I want to blind her for having seen the beauty of your mons.”
Margaret is the type to know what she wants and doesn’t think twice about how she acts. She’s madly in love with the queen, but not just in a lustful way. She just adores her and is willing to be her servant, both in the real way and sexually. She has no desire to look anywhere else or to explore the fact that as a lady of the queen, she will be set up for marriage.
The interactions between the two are sweet and hot at the same time. I’m rather fond of stories in which both parties feel an intense passion for each other and this comes through in this story. I can't help it, I'm a bit of a sucker for that type of love in books, one in which deep loyalty is part of the passion even if it borders on obsessive.
The dynamics do change with them over time and Margaret takes more liberties in controlling the relationship. So it’s not all the older/younger power dynamic. This is an HEA story. Not just an erotic dalliance for the Queen or Margaret, which I liked.
It’s been a while since I’ve read a conflict in a love story caused by evil manipulations of an outside person so that was actually refreshing for a change.
Bottom line, I enjoyed this book. It left me feeling good and like I was fully entertained, which is what I want in a book.
Heat level: 5- graphic sex, strap-on.
Edited: So I put in the original review that some readers might be squicked by the age difference between the Queen and Margaret. For some reason I had it in my head that Margaret was only 14, but she was actually 19 when she went to work in the court. Apologies to the author for that mistake. I've revised my review taking out that part.