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To Shield the Queen (Ursula Blanchard #1)

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  1,330 Ratings  ·  125 Reviews
Loyal Servant. Devoted Friend. Perfect target.

Rumor has linked Queen Elizabeth I to her Master of Horse, Robin Dudley. And what rumors, at that: but for his ailing wife, Amy, Dudley would wed her majesty, the gossipmongers are whispering. To quell idle tongues, Elizabeth dispatches Ursula Blanchard to tend to the sick woman's needs. But not even Ursula can prevent the "a
Trade Paperback, 336 pages
Published April 4th 2006 by Gallery Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,984)
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This was a story that has been told many times, about the romance between Robert Dudley and Queen Elizabeth I. However it is taken from a completely different point of view and focuses mainly on what happened to Dudley's wife who was found at the bottom of a flight of stairs with her neck broken.

I liked the book, not rocket science or extremely emotionally compelling but it was interesting and got pretty good at the end. I will definitely read the next in the series.
Kate Quinn
Feb 25, 2012 Kate Quinn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first installment of a highly enjoyable series about an Elizabethan sleuth. Ursula Blanchard makes for an unusual heroine: a resourceful young widow who serves Queen Elizabeth as a lady in waiting, and is offered the chance to supplement her meager income by spying for Elizabeth's intelligence master Sir William Cecil. Desperate to support her young daughter, Ursula takes on the task of watching over Amy Robsart, the sickly and paranoid wife of the Queen's favorite Robert Dudley. Amy ends up ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Feb 06, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of Historical Mysteries
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
I'm a fan of a well-done historical mystery, and this is the first of a series that leaves me wanting to read more. I like the mix not just of historical and fictional characters, but of historical and fictional mysteries set in the Elizabethian Age, and the Tudor period is certainly one I find fascinating and is evoked nicely here. The historical mystery in this case revolves around the death of Robin Dudley's first wife, Amy Robsart which Walter Scott made the subject of his novel Kenilworth. ...more
Feb 04, 2011 Melanie rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ana T.
To Shield The Queen is an Elizabethan mystery but unlike my previous read (The Poyson Garden) the detective here is one of the queen's lady's in waiting. Ursula Blanchard is a young widow, when she finds herself almost destitute after the death of her husband a post is found for her as lady in waiting to the queen thanks to the fact that her own mother was fulfilled that same role for queen Anne Boleyn.

When Ursula arrives in court it is common knowledge that the Queen and Robert Dudley, her Mast
Jul 24, 2016 Msjodi777 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, 2016, july-2016
I first heard about this book a couple of years ago over on ravelry, but am just now getting around to listening to it. I did enjoy the story, though it was a bit too predictable. It was well written, believable, and the history was well researched. However, I do have to mention the fact that, for me, the narrator, Nadia May, was the best part of the book. It was a fun read, and I do recommend it for those who like historical mysteries. <><
TO SHIELD THE QUEEN (Historical Mystery-England-1500s) – G+
Buckley, Fiona – 1st of series
Pocket Books, 1978- Paperback
Mistress Ursula Blanchard, a new member to the court of Elizabeth I, has been asked to stay with Robin Dudley's ailing wife Amy. There are rumors that Dudley is trying to kill Amy to clear his way for a possible marriage to Elizabeth I. But when Amy dies of a broken neck and Ursula sends a letter to court with her man John, who is brutally killed, Ursula is determined to find the
Richard Stueber
May 28, 2015 Richard Stueber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fiona Buckley, who as Valarie Anand had previously witten quite a number of historical novels, introduces us to the fictional widow Ursula Blanchard. Ursula's husband Gerald has died leaving her with a daughter Meg. Ursula has been granted the position of Lady of the Presence Chamber to Queen Elizabeth I of England in the year 1560.
One of Ursula's first assignments is to assist Sir Robert "Robin" Dudley's wife, the former Amy Robsart. It doesn't take too long before Amy falls to her death and Ur
Sep 01, 2015 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first book in a series introducing Ursula Blanchard, illegitimate daughter of former lady -in- waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn. now she is serving Elizabeth 1. Ursula is part courtier, and part amateur sleuth. This book centers on the still murky details around the death of Robert Dudley's wife, Amy Robsart. Was she murdered so Robert could marry Elizabeth? Or was Amy murdered to create a scandal and prevent Robert from ever being wed to Elizabeth and becoming King of England? Were Protestants ...more
Alison Dellit
So, the death of Amy Dudley is now well-trod territory in the Elizabethan mystery genre, but I suspect Buckley was one of the first crime writers to tackle it, making it a little unfair for me to suggest this is a less than original take.
I find these books intriguing and frustrating. Ursula is a finely drawn character, more assertive than she wants to be and more irritable than confident. The window into court is competantly done, and the relationships around Ursula well drawn. The plotting is c
Tony Hisgett
The problem with this book is that it is very slow, very little happens for the first half of the book and even when the plot begins to liven up it is a frustrating read.

It may well be that the author is historically accurate in the way 16th century women behave, but it certainly makes for a rather boring narrative.
I started the book in the hope that the heroine, Ursula Blanchard would have more about her, it seemed she would be independent and feisty but actually she was quite conventional and
Apr 18, 2016 Julia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
I absolutely love the Ursula Blanchard mystery series! Unfortunately, I did not begin this series with the first title, and now that I have had the opportunity to read it, all the ah-ha/I-see moments have coalesced nicely. I like the historical settings and think Buckley has presented the drama within the historical context quite nicely. The historical problems meshed with Ursula's problems and how Ursula and cast set off to discover what happened are written in quite unique perspectives. This i ...more
Jan 28, 2015 Tifnie rated it it was ok
This was an empty book that basically fulfilled my need for light reading.

To Shield the Queen is about Ursula Blanchard whom after her husband dies decides to become one of the Queen Eliabeth's maidservants (circa 1560). While in her service, Ursula is sent to help protect the Queen's lover's wife from a plot of being murdered. Unfortunately fate has already played it's hand and Ursula is driven by another mission to help solve a different plot of sorts. Distracted by her own soon-to-be lover, U
Aug 26, 2016 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-kindle
In this book, Ursula Blanchard, a widowed gentlewoman with some tenuous royal connections, gets appointed as a lady in waiting to Queen Elizabeth I. She has no money, due to her husband dying young and leaving her with a small daughter, as well as the fact that his and her family disowned them because they eloped together. Elizabeth shows her a small kindness due to a family connection, and sends her to stay with Robert Dudley's ailing wife Amy to convince her that Robert is not trying to murder ...more
J. Else
As a fan of Arianna Franklin, I was excited to find this book at our local used bookstore. Same type of story idea, different author. After reading Fiona Buckley’s narrative style, I felt it worked! What I love about this book is the complete immersion into the time period. The way the characters talked, references made, setting details, it all fit with the times. The main character, Ursula, is a strong independent woman but not unrealistically so for the time period. There was no dressing as a ...more
Dec 04, 2014 Gretchen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tudor-fiction
The debut of Ursula Blanchard was excellent. Generally I find that when I book is the first in a series, the author spends a large majority of the book giving the main protagonist a background story. I like in this instance how the author gives us what we need to know at the beginning and then successfully manages to tie the character's background into the current events of the story. The author doesn't have to take time away from the events of the story to explain character motives. In this cas ...more
Jan 07, 2012 Marfita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Period mystery lovers who don't mind romance (ew ew)
Shelves: period-mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 17, 2012 Michelle rated it liked it
(3.5 stars) This is the first book in the Ursula Blanchard series. Set in the time of Queen Elizabeth in England, Ursula has fallen upon hard times with the death of her husband, and as neither family approved of the marriage, she takes the offer of becoming one of the Queen's ladies, leaving her young daughter in the care of a nurse in a small rented cottage. When she arrives at Court she must navigate the politics of her new situation, and her small budget barely covers the necessities of her ...more
Linda Bridges
Feb 17, 2014 Linda Bridges rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013-books
Lady Ursula Blanchard is a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I. She is sorely in need of funds due to the untimely death of her husband and having to care for a young daughter. She is estranged from her family who had disapproved of her marriage, so when Sir Robert Dudley comes to her with an offer to pay her well if she will go to his wife's home as a companion, Ursula leaps at the chance. Robert's wife, Amy, is convinced that someone is trying to kill her, and she believes that someone to be ...more
Nov 01, 2010 Spuddie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
#1 Ursula Blanchard Elizabethan historical mystery. Ursula, recently widowed and left nearly penniless, is given a place at Queen Elizabeth's court and ends up involved in political plots and intrigue when she is sent to attend to Lady Amy Dudley, wife of Sir Robert Dudley--widely known as a favorite of the Queen. Lady Amy is dying of breast cancer--essentially untreatable in that time--and Dudley wants someone there to witness the fact that he does not wish her ill nor is he plotting to kill he ...more
Jun 09, 2011 Denise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story introduces readers to Mistress Ursula Blanchard, who has recently lost her husband (and the love of her life) to smallpox during the new reign of the young Queen, Elizabeth Tudor. Left virtually penniless, and with a young daughter to support, she has been selected to become one of the new Queen's ladies-in-waiting. Ursula's mother was once kind to the Queen's mother, Anne Boleyn, and a kindness is not forgotten at this royal court.

To supplement Ursula's meager income, the Queen's Se
Elizabeth  (Thoughts From an Evil Overlord)
I read the latest book in this 12-book historical mystery series, first. Obviously I liked it, since I went and got book one. Definitely glad I did! The mystery of Amy Robsart's death has often been tackled in fiction, but never have I read it from her own point of view and of those surrounding her. Many other consequences besides her husband possibly marrying the queen were brought up, which I had never considered in the past. For those who do not know a lot about life in Elizabethan times, thi ...more
Mar 09, 2009 Christine rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
Although still married to Amy, Sir Robert Dudley is courting Queen Elizabeth. This does not sit well with members of the court, nor those in the kingdom still wanting to bring back their “catholic” monarchy. Enter Ursula Blanchard, a newly widowed young mother in dire straits needing to financially look after herself and her daughter. She takes a position as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth and ends up caring for Amy Dudley, in order to dispel rumors that Dudley is slowly poisoning his wife ...more
Sep 14, 2007 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of historical fiction
Shelves: mystery
Ursula Blanchard is a young widow who is recruited to the service of Queen Elizabeth I. Ursula must protect the Queen from malicious schemers by personally watching over Amy Dudley, the wife of Robert Dudley, Elizabeth’s Master of Horse. Court gossips claim that Dudley is becoming too intimate with the Queen and that Amy’s untimely death would be most accommodating. When Amy dies mysteriously, Ursula is forced into unraveling the web of deceit and intrigue surrounding the event. The author’s det ...more
Jun 19, 2015 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this first of the series at the library today while I was browsing books. I knew I had read a couple later books in the series and at least now I know the events leading up to marriage that comes up later and had me wondering about origin. These books can be quickly read.
Valerie K
I was jonesing for the Hillary Mntel books so chose this one about Queen Elizabeth, but Wolf Hall it is not. However it was an entertaining and quick read and quite satiafying as a mystery story. Not sure if I'll continue this series or not but I might!
Katie Bee
Perfectly serviceable light reading. Neither the setting nor the characters is particularly new, and I'm not entirely sure on how believable some of the historical details are, but hey, it's a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.
Sep 01, 2016 Lydia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mostly this was a very good book. There was one scene however, right after the main character got married, that went into way too much detail. I really wish it had not been in there.
Jo Wilkinson
Aug 13, 2016 Jo Wilkinson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely book of historical fiction-- my favorite genre. The protagonist, Ursula, is a lady to Queen Elizabeth in 1560, and gets caught up in the intrigues of court. The dialogue is accessible but there are still some archaic words to learn, which I find imminently enjoyable. On to book number two in the series!
Jun 22, 2014 Tess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ursula Blanchard is a wonderful heroine and the descriptions of Queen Elizabeth I and her court are delicious. A light, fun and surprisingly intelligent read!
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Valerie Anand is a British author of historical fiction. Under the pen name Fiona Buckley she writes the series of historical mysteries, set in the reign of Elizabeth I of England, featuring "Ursula Blanchard" (whose full name is Ursula Faldene Blanchard de la Roche Stannard). Under her own name she writes historical fiction based on the royalty of England and the Bridges over Time series which fo ...more
More about Fiona Buckley...

Other Books in the Series

Ursula Blanchard (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • The Doublet Affair (Ursula Blanchard, #2)
  • Queen's Ransom (Ursula Blanchard, #3)
  • To Ruin A Queen (Ursula Blanchard, #4)
  • Queen of Ambition (Ursula Blanchard, #5)
  • A Pawn for a Queen (Ursula Blanchard, #6)
  • The Fugitive Queen (Ursula Blanchard, #7)
  • The Siren Queen (Ursula Blanchard, #8)
  • Queen Without a Crown (Ursula Blanchard, #9)
  • Queen's Bounty (Ursula Blanchard, #10)
  • A Rescue For A Queen (Ursula Blanchard, #11)

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