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To Shield the Queen (Ursula Blanchard, #1)
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To Shield the Queen (Ursula Blanchard #1)

3.7 of 5 stars 3.70  ·  rating details  ·  1,011 ratings  ·  107 reviews

In this compelling debut of her historical mystery series, Fiona Buckley introduces Ursula Blanchard, a widowed young mother who has become lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth I. Armed with a sharp eye, dangerous curiosity, and uncanny intelligence, Ursula pledges...

To Shield the Queen

Rumor has linked Queen Elizabeth I to her master of horse, Robin Dudley. As gossip would

Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 1st 1998 by Pocket Books (first published January 1st 1997)
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Community Reviews

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Kate Quinn
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
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.
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
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Feb 06, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it 4 of 5 stars
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 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mystery lovers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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 3 of 5 stars
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.
(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
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
#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
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
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 4 of 5 stars
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
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!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really do not like cozy mysteries, so when this book was recommended to me I thought it sounded like something I would be interested in. Then I received it in the mail, saw the size and really wasn't impressed. I like a book with a good story, some history, strong characters and a mystery that has me thinking right to the end.

So when the library had the audio for this, I gave it a go. Gotta say I loved it. Whether because it was audio verses the book I am not sure. The reader did a wonderful j
I am a big fan of historical books, especially when real people appear. I probably would have been completely at sea concerning Elizabeth’s affection for Dudley and why that was such a bad thing had I not inadvertently stumbled onto a PBS documentary on them a few months earlier. The court politics are a little heavy at times, but entirely tolerable, and not really all that terribly important to understanding the overall plot. Once again I fell totally in love with the most unlikely character. I ...more
Steph Wylie
I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to reading the others in the series. I wish we could give half stars because I'd like to have given it 3 1/2 stars, rather than 3. It successfully captured the nuances of the time period it was set in, in my opinion, and had an interesting storyline. The author took liberties and used her imagination to flesh out details of events which, in reality, still remain a mystery to this day, and I particularly liked how at the end she explained this, as histor ...more
Ursula Blanshard, newly widdowed, is commanded to become a part of Queen Elizabeth I's retinue, but as suddenly sent off to "protect" Amy the wife of Robin, the queens favorite. Amy is killed though Ursula struggles to protect her and then Ursula finds herself married into the middle of a Catholic conspiracy to bring down the queen. Her quick thinking literally saves the day, but will the queen think Ursula was a part of the conspiracy. Wonderful historical detail and moving characterization. A ...more
Fun new series
Jan 21, 2014 Ardnas added it
This was my first audio book and I enjoyed it tremendously. The narration made the story come alive. Well worth the read or the hearing!! Hope to find more on audio.
Fred Rauch
This book starts out like a romance. Ursula Blanchard is appointed as a Lady of the Presence Chamber to Queen Elizabeth. Elizabeth likes/loves Robin Dudley, who is married to Amy. Mistress Blanchard sees it as her duty "To Shield the Queen" from ALL harm. It takes the first 150 pages for an actual murder to occur. It is not Lady Dudley but Blanchard's man Wilton. She sets out to find his killers and protect the Queen. We finally have a mystery. All is solved and all is well in the end.
I forgot, I have read Sharon Kay Penman's books with a spy for the Royal, but that is a much earlier time, 1100's England. I liked this story quite a bit. Queen Elizabeth I's lady in waiting proves to be smart, clever, resourceful, and brave, averting dangerous plots to the monarchy. The first in the series.

My first foray into this genre of historical fiction. I have never read Phillipa Gregory or any of the other big ones. Hard to keep track of who's who in the time of Elizabeth I!
Maureen Zausner
Feb 19, 2015 Maureen Zausner is currently reading it
I love this entire series and as a quick update, I finished the newest, "A Traitor's Tears" just the other day. I am sad to say I have no more to read. The stories are themselves intriguing, but I love her descriptions of the Elizabethan culture: the food, the fashion, the politics, the past-times, the way of life altogether. Ursula herself is a woman for all ages. I look forward to more adventures with her in her life as a spy for Elizabeth 1.
I liked this series in general because the sleuth has very modern sensibilities, but it's of course, set in a historical setting that has been done to death. So you get a little different perspective. Less about court life and more about the lives of commoners that she mingles with to get the dirt. Good, straightforward story telling that you can read quickly in short increments while simultaneously caring for infants and toddlers. But it's not stupid.
An interesting little 'cozy' mystery. I like the period details the most but the MC was fun to meet.
Ann Buechler
A great start to a series I am definitely planning on continuing. The writing was wonderful - descriptive and the characters well developed. I love reading stories about the descendants of Henry VIII. This is a refreshing perspective of a non-related woman at court. I really enjoyed it!
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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 12 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)
The Doublet Affair (Ursula Blanchard, #2) Queen's Ransom (Ursula Blanchard, #3) To Ruin A Queen (Ursula Blanchard, #4) A Pawn for a Queen (Ursula Blanchard, #6) Queen of Ambition (Ursula Blanchard, #5)

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