Book review – A Court Affair by Emily Purdy

I’m a bit of a history geek. By no means am I a historian but I am fascinated by history particularly the Plantagenets and Tudor eras.

Anyone that has an interest is aware that Robert Dudley the Earl of Leicester was a favourite of Elizabeth I. Most also know he was married to Amy Dudley nee Robsart.

I’ve read a few accounts of this story but this is the first one I’ve read that includes things from Amy’s viewpoint. It is a fiction book and not fact but I did love it all the same.

It begins with Amy in the countryside where she lives with her father Sir John Robsart, of Syderstone Hall. She is his only child although she has step siblings.

Amy’s story is one of falling in love with Robert Dudley whilst Edward was still on the throne. When Edward died, Roberts father supported Lady Jane Grey becoming Queen and had previously married his son Guildford to Lady Jane. Upon Mary being crowned the Dudley family including Robert and Guildford were sent to the Tower of London.

Amy remains loyal to her husband throughout this and despite his brother Guildfordand his father being executed Robert is released and accepts Mary as Queen taking on the role of an avid supporter and Catholic.

Whilst in the tower Robert had grown close to Elizabeth who was also imprisoned by her sister.

On the death of Mary, Robert raced to Elizabeth to support her.

Robert had grown cold towards Amy mocking her for her country ways. Elizabeth becoming Queen increases this as Robert realises Elizabeth is his path to power.

On the death of Amy’s father Robert sells all her houses and land and sends her to love with acquaintances. Here Amy becomes convinced she is being poisoned.

She is moved to another home on Robert discovering she has breast cancer. This is the place where Amy will ultimately die but not before we hear her fears, pain and tribulations not only from from cancer but the treatment by her husband.

We also hear Elizabeth’s side that Robert lied to her, told her him and Amy were estranged. On discovering this lie Elizabeth tries to help Amy, sending gifts and doctors. She sends them from Robert as she thinks if Amy knew they were form her it would scare her.

Nothing could help Amy and she we read about her tragic death and how it affected Elizabeth and opened her eyes to the real Robert Dudley.

I read this book in two days I literally could not put it down. It is the first I’ve read of Emily Purdy but won’t be the last!

If anyone has read it or has any other recommendations please let me know!

I wish you all a very happy Easter

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