MISTRESS OF MOURNING

Karen Harper

In a gripping historical novel of suspense and romance from the national bestselling author of The Queen’s Governess, two women fight to defeat the enemies of the precarious Tudor monarchy by uncovering the secrets of the dead…

London, 1501. In a time of political unrest, Varina Westcott, a young widow and candle maker for court and church, agrees to perform a clandestine service for Queen Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII–carve wax figures of four dead children, two of her offspring lost in infancy and her two brothers, the Princes of the Tower, whose mysterious disappearance years ago has never been solved.

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In a gripping historical novel of suspense and romance from the national bestselling author of The Queen’s Governess, two women fight to defeat the enemies of the precarious Tudor monarchy by uncovering the secrets of the dead…

London, 1501. In a time of political unrest, Varina Westcott, a young widow and candle maker for court and church, agrees to perform a clandestine service for Queen Elizabeth of York, wife of Henry VII–carve wax figures of four dead children, two of her offspring lost in infancy and her two brothers, the Princes of the Tower, whose mysterious disappearance years ago has never been solved. Having lost a child herself, Varina feels a sympathetic bond with the queen. And as she works under the watchful eye of handsome Nicholas Sutton, an ambitious assistant to the royals, she develops feelings of quite a different nature…

Then news comes from Wales of the unexpected death of newly married Prince Arthur, the queen’s eldest child and heir to the throne. Deeply grieving, Elizabeth suspects that Arthur did not die of a sudden illness, as reported, but was actually murdered by her husband’s enemies. This time her task for Varina and Nicholas is of vital importance–travel into the Welsh wilderness to investigate the prince’s death. But as the couple unearths one unsettling clue after another, they begin to fear that the conspiracy they’re confronting is far more ambitious and treacherous than even the queen imagined. And it aims to utterly destroy the Tudor dynasty

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  • NAL
  • Paperback
  • July 2012
  • 416 Pages
  • 9780451236906

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$15.00

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About Karen Harper

Karen Harper is a USA Today–bestselling author whose novels, both historical and contemporary, have been published worldwide. A former college and high school English instructor, Harper now lives in Columbus, Ohio, and Naples, Florida, and frequently travels around the country to promote her books and speak about writing.

Praise

“The Mistress of Mourning delivers adventure, romance, and surprise; a fresh cache of treasure for devoted Tudorphiles, the book is also certain to enchant readers new to the era’s charms.”Sandra Byrd, author of To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn

“The grief of a sister and mother who also happens to be queen of England combines with the fire and spirit of a lovely wax-worker in Karen Harper’s riveting tale of just what might have happened to the princes in the tower and to the first Tudor crown prince. .”Karleen Koen, New York Times bestselling author of Through a Glass Darkly and Before Versailles

“Beloved author Karen Harper brings Elizabeth of York to vivid life… Through the eyes of charming and adventurous wax chandler, Varina Westcott, the tumultuous era of the new-born Tudor dynasty is depicted as it surely was—a time rife with danger, passion and murder. The exciting story and its appealing heroine kept me reading late into the night with sheer enjoyment. .”Sandra Worth, author of Pale Rose of England and The King’s Daughter

“Much like her endearing chandler heroine, Varina, Karen Harper warmly illuminates a little-explored craft and two persistent royal mysteries, skillfully melding the hearts and lives of the high and low born…delivers adventure, romance, and surprise….” Sandra Byrd, author of To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn

Discussion Questions

Whom did you find the most interesting character in Mistress of Mourning?

Who would ever expect tyrannical Henry VIII to have had such a beautiful, loving mother? Do you know of children who have turned out very differently from their parents, in personality, values, and general attitude toward life? Does a parent really have so little influence over his or her children?

If Prince Arthur had lived, how might English history have turned out differently?

Viscount Lovell is identified as the villain of the novel early on, and we read to find out whether he can be stopped before implementing his plan to destroy the Tudor succession. What devices does Karen Harper use to create suspense around Lovell?

Did you notice that although Queen Elizabeth has power, Varina has the freedom to act? Discuss the pros and cons of being royal versus being a commoner, for both men and women, during this time. Which would you rather be?

Do you have any sympathy for Christopher Gage, Varina’s suitor? Is he justified in being angry when Varina finally turns down his marriage proposal?

Do you have any sympathy for Viscount Lovell? When does faithfulness to a lost cause become terrorism? What line does he cross?

What do you think happens to Nick and Varina after the book ends?