The Godmother's Secret

Fiction - Historical - Personage
363 Pages
Reviewed on 10/06/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Sadiyah Bhamjee for Readers' Favorite

With a Yorkist husband and a Lancastrian family, Lady Elysabeth St. John is caught between two sides of the war for the crown. In 1470 Lady Elysabeth becomes godmother to Edward V and she is thrown into the middle of political turmoil. Centered around historical events, such as the death of King Edward IV, this novel draws the reader into the epic-style stories of medieval times. Look out for one of England’s historical mysteries as the plot thickens with deception, betrayal, and love. Whether you love history or just a good story, The Godmother’s Secret will captivate you. Using a historical figure with the same name as the narrator, Elizabeth St. John pays attention to detail that adds more magic and fun to this brilliant novel.

The Godmother’s Secret is beautifully written with a careful balance of fiction and fact made possible thanks to Elizabeth St. John’s meticulous research. The descriptions are breathtaking and well-placed. The blend of action, introspection, and drama is perfect. I loved that I did not always agree with Elysabeth. It made her character more human with independent decisions and thoughts and not simply the lovable storyteller. The other characters are also carefully fleshed out and masterfully imagined from the past. St. John has carefully added individual characteristics and behavior that breathes life into every person along the road and it made for a marvelous read. St. John’s experience as a brilliant novelist shines through in this flawless story that took me on a magical journey into the past. The only complaint I have is that it ended too soon. I can’t wait to get my hands on St. John's other work, The Lydiard Chronicles.

Heather Stockard

The year is 1470. The Wars of the Roses continue. King Edward IV’s commoner wife, Elizabeth Woodville, has sought refuge in Westminster Abbey to await the birth of her baby in safety, while her husband fights to reclaim his throne. Lady Elysabeth Scrope, the half-sister of Margaret Beaufort, is sent to attend the birth and serve as little Edward’s godmother. She swears to protect him as long as she lives, no matter what. Then the tides of war turn and Edward IV returns to power, the Lancastrians seemingly vanquished, and England settles into an uneasy peace. Twelve years pass and Elysabeth keeps her oath, carefully watching over the prince and his little brother too. Then Edward IV dies suddenly and his brother, Richard, seizes the throne, declaring the boys illegitimate. Elysabeth finds herself torn between her husband’s Yorkist loyalty, Margaret’s cold ambition for her exiled son, and the safety of the young princes locked in the Tower.

The Godmother’s Secret, by Elizabeth St. John, author of the Lydiard Chronicles, is a gripping fictionalized account of the mysterious disappearance of the princes in the tower. St. John draws from historical facts and weaves an interesting and plausible tale filled with treachery, intrigue, and family drama. Richard III is cast in a more sympathetic light, and Elysabeth is written as a strong woman struggling to both survive and protect the children she loves. Historical fiction fans, especially those who have long speculated on the princes’ fates, will not want to miss this book.

Jessica Barbosa

The Godmother's Secret is a historical fiction novel written by Elizabeth St. John. Lady Elysabeth Scrope, wife to Baron John Scrope of Bolton Castle, was to attend to the commoner queen, Queen Elizabeth. By order of King Henry and by Margaret Beaufort’s advice, she was also appointed as godmother to Queen Elizabeth’s next child, despite not being a blood relative. Her hurried appointment under the duress of war and threat of invasion barely gave her any time to properly prepare for the role and her uneasy relationship with the queen did not help. Eventually, the queen gives birth to a prince and, as godmother, Elysabeth finds his life in her hands. There is political unrest in the air but bound by her blood but held back by her oath as a godmother, where will she choose to place her loyalty? In this game of kings, will she be able to protect what she holds dear?

Elizabeth St. John’s written work skillfully captured my attention from the very first time Lady Elysabeth is introduced into the tale. I immersed myself fully into the 1483 London setting as I read the fascinating tale of The Godmother’s Secret. The author does a superb job of telling the story from the first-person point of view. Her narrative made me feel as though I was a part of the story and it helped me easily visualize what was happening in the book. It was almost like I was watching a movie play out in my head! The true strength of this book lies in its distinctive characters and its clever plot. The Godmother’s Secret puts a fresh twist on the tale of the two princes in the tower and I couldn’t help but be pulled in by the excellent story the deeper I read. The depth and eloquence of this tale brought to life one of England's biggest historical mysteries and I found myself thirsting for more when I reached the end. Overall, The Godmother’s Secret by Elizabeth St. John was an outstanding, electrifying, and noteworthy read! Great job!