The Red Queen’s Daughter, by Jacqueline Kosolov (Hyperion, 2007)

Mysteries are explored in this fascinating alternate historical fantasy as Mary Seymour, orphaned daughter of Queen Katherine Parr (last of Henry VIII’s wives) grows up to become a white magician, secretly using various spells and incantations to aid Queen Elizabeth I early in her reign. Court intrigue and the presence of a black magician catapult Mary into a series of adventures that test her abilities and challenge her resolve to never fall in love. This is a beautifully-told story that really takes advantage of the setting and historical context to play with social issues and court politics. All that, and a striking cover make this a book worth checking out. I’ll be looking forward to any sequels that might follow.

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