The Arbella Stuart Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh

‘What have you done to her?’

England, 1603. Elizabeth I is dead. The end of the Tudor line, it seems. A decision is made to pass the throne to James VI of Scotland, he will become the first Stuart monarch of England. But there’s a secret, and there are concealed Tudor heirs. What will happen next?

Marquess House, Pembrokeshire, 2019. Perdita Rivers and her sister Piper have returned to their ancestral home. They have uncovered secrets: conspiracies and cover-ups during the Tudor period, but there is still one part of the puzzle to be found, and some old enemies will reappear.

There are nine parts to this story, alternating between 1603-1604 (after James VI and I becomes the English monarch) and the present day endeavours of Perdita and Piper. The 17th century focus is on Arbella Stuart, cousin of James, who might have been considered a potential successor to Elizabeth I.

This is the third book in the Marquess House Trilogy, marketed as ‘a dual timeline conspiracy thriller with an ingenious twist on a well-known period of Tudor and Stuart history.’ I’ve not read the first two books, but the opening section provided me with enough information to follow this story.

I confess, while I was curious about this novel, historical conspiracy thrillers are not amongst my favourite works of fiction. I like my historical fiction to remain within an historical fact framework: fictional characters can do fictional things, but not real people. However, Ms Walsh’s writing kept me turning the pages and her note to the reader at the end gave me the explanation I needed to cautiously accept the fiction.

It’s an ingenious story. It’s well written and it will certainly appeal to those who like conspiracy theories with an historical flavour. The three books in the series are:

BOOK ONE: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy
BOOK TWO: The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy
BOOK THREE: The Arbella Stuart Conspiracy

Note: My thanks to NetGalley and Sapere Books for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith