Lady in white is a romance novel where forbidden love meets arranged marriage. Thrown in is a ghost or two, for good measure. Denise Domning mixes royal political drama with some old fashioned romance and the result turns out to be a well-written book all in all.
Bella is a rather plain-faced recent young window. Her mother was a conniving narcissistic siren in Queen Elizabeth’s court. Surprisingly, the Queen is portrayed as this petulant child-woman who likes to get her way. And if things don’t go as per her wishes she commands it to fall in place according to her plans. This is the 2nd book in the series so I might be missing some context, but the courtroom scenes had a lot of undercurrents that were hard for me to keep up or be particularly interested in.
The Queen imprisons Bella’s mother for being a traitor and commands Bella to wed a disfigured recluse who keeps ill health. Bella bears the ordeal for the sake of her daughter and her entourage of household help. Soon, the task becomes more pleasure than punishment as Bella gets drawn to her intended husband’s steward, James, who stands in proxy on behalf of his Lord, who happens to be his dearest friend.
I learnt some weird (to me at least) customs of the Elizabethan era. Marriage by proxy is a thing! A person takes the wedding vows on behalf of the party that is unable to attend the ceremonies. Bizzare.. The other custom was alluded to in Reign ( an interesting show if you like pretty gossipy girls, royal intrigue, romance and seduction). Royal regents and others of power get to be present at the wedding night so they can witness and confirm the consummation of the marriage. Very weird! Here the scene had a fun build up and a nice twist. So, beware of blushes when you read.
Favourite moment – When the prologue made sense in context to the story. For some reason I had failed to connect the who and what until the revelation.
Main complaint – Why have a ghost at all when there is hardly a need for intervention from across the grave? Maybe to get a shirtless hero out in a dark corridor to run into a scared heroine.. still.. left me wanting more rhyme and reason.
Bella and James were rather boring, but her daughter was charming and a darling. Wouldn’t mind reading a sequel if she grew up and fell in love.
What do you think of love stories where ghosts randomly appear? Tell me..