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Continuing with the Alphabet Variation Challenge:

Letter “Q” for A Queen from the North by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese

A Queen from the North by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese, published in 2017, is an interesting take on a contemporary romance featuring royals.

In this book, set in the present day, everything in the United Kingdom seems mostly recognizable, except the Kingdom is not as united as one might think. In this alternate universe story, England’s War of the Roses never quite ended. Mind you, Richard III, the last York king, was still defeated on Bosworth Field by Henry Tudor’s forces. However, instead of wiping out all sentiment for rebellion through the marriage of Elizabeth of York and Henry Tudor, there had not been a marriage and there’s been simmering resentment against the resulting Lancaster kings and queens that has lasted for centuries. In this situation, the royal family is a bit unsettled. The reigning King Henry XII is ill and Arthur, Prince of Wales, is destined to secede him in this unsettled time. Arthur, a thirty-nine year old widower, has no children and the next in line to the throne after him are his two teenage nieces, the older of whom believes she’s a witch — an actual being who’s a seer and is in touch with the natural world. It’s this young woman who begs her uncle to please marry again and ensure that there will be additional heirs other than herself. Enter twenty-two year old Lady Amelia Brockett. Amelia is finishing up her college work in one of the sciences, with hopes of attending graduate school. She is also the daughter of a prominent, titled York family from the north of England and is engaged to be married. But, immediately into our story, we learn that Amelia’s engagement is off and her applications to graduate school are uncertain. At loose ends, she accepts her older brother’s invitation to attend a horse racing event which is also being attended by his old school mate, the Prince of Wales. It’s here that Arthur meets Amelia and they find they have a camaraderie which grows into an understanding that might change the future of the country they both love. Is it possible that Arthur, descendant of the Lancaster royal line, can marry Amelia, a daughter of York, and finally end the War of the Roses forever?

Being a fan of Shakespeare’s history plays, the premise of this story really appealed to me. I thought it was a marvelous way of writing a modern royalty romance that uses real history, but doesn’t fall back on creating William and Harry-type clones or making up some other European-like playboy prince or princess. I also thought the interjection of a bit of mysticism and superstition was a good way of maintaining that other-worldly, alternate feel. My only problem with this story is that I wanted even more mystical happenings, as well as more examples of the estrangement of North and South. If you’re going to go this route, you should really commit, and I found this story to be a little too light on giving us the problems between the different halves of England as well as only hints of the supernatural elements that prophesied the fate of the nation and of our potential royal couple. This story could’ve been better if the authors had taken it to the next level. But, I still think they deserve applause for a very, original premise. I’d give it a strong B+.

The Alphabet Challenge Variation – 13 down, 5 to go (R, D, L, J, A, G, N, B, C, E, F, H, Q …)

Rights & Responsibilities Challenge – 3 down, 15 to go