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The Lady of the Tower

(The Lydiard Chronicles #1)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  507 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Alternate-cover edition for ASIN B01B8NL7FO can be found here

Orphaned Lucy St.John, described as "the most beautiful of all," defies English society by carving her own path through the decadent Stuart court. In 1609, the early days of the rule of James I are a time of glittering pageantry and cutthroat ambition, when the most dangerous thing one can do is fall in love .
Kindle Edition, 348 pages
Published January 28th 2016 by Amazon Digital Services LLC
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  507 ratings  ·  59 reviews

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Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A year ago, in September 2016, my husband Mark and I spent a morning at Lydiard Park, an estate located near Swindon in Wiltshire, England. It looked like a nice place to take a stroll and see the local scenery. On our map, Lydiard was about halfway between Tintern and Heathrow, so it was a convenient stop before heading home after the HNS Oxford conference and our vacation in Wales. That was all I knew about it. We parked the car, walked toward the house, and ran into many people with their dog ...more
I had several reasons for picking up this book, and my high expectations were not disappointed. This was an enjoyable adventure into the Stuart court with all its gilded surface and dirty underbelly. Lucy St John is in a unique position as the daughter of a prominent family but a younger sister with an unsympathetic guardian. Her coming of age takes place in an environment where no one allows their true self to be exposed. Being more honest and naive than those around her, Lucy learns some diffi ...more
Bookish Ally
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I REALLY loved learning about Lady Lucy Apsley, née St John, through this historic fiction by her descendant, Elizabeth St. John. 4.5 stars for bringing her to life through her writings, in letters, and her recipes for physics and medicines. While Lucy never had the ambition to succeed at the court of James I, or to achieve wealth through a marriage of her families making, she had a love of service to the suffering, the plants and medicinal uses available through them, and the beauty nature offe ...more
Paula Lofting
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, although not normally the style of book that i would choose.
I listened to the audio of this book which I will review on the Audible site, however, it was easy to see that this was a well written, well-researched novel based on the author's family history.
Lucy was a character who was easy to empathise with, feisty when she wanted to be, humble when she needed to be and intelligently portrayed as shown in the readings of her apothecary diary. I wanted to slap the man who broke
Simone Z. Endrich
Literature at its best

How many times have I picked up a historical novel that promises much in promotional hype but fails to deliver? Too often. All the more reason why this amazing debut by Elizabeth St. John was such a pleasant surprise.

Let me start with the language, which is something of a pet peeve with me. I believe that language in historical fiction, more than in any other genre, is an intrinsic part of the setting. Woven into the fabric of the historical background, it is like fine gold
Mercedes Rochelle
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lucy, our Lady of the Tower starts out as a Cinderella kind of character, with the wicked stepmother and hateful sisters (or at least some of them) but eventually she finds her own way and manages to survive in the treacherous Stuart court thanks to a late, mature relationship with a respectable, though risk-taking courtier. Everyone in her family circle is at the mercy of the willful, handsome, aspiring George Villiers (soon to be Duke of Buckingham), court favorite of James I and later Charles ...more
The reign of James I was a tumultuous one and it was difficult for those who were around the Court to keep their heads, their careers or their virtue. For Lucy however the danger and animosity came within her very own family - her sister Barbara leading the pack, hating Lucy with a vengeance even when it seemed that there was no reason for Barbara who had it all to be jealous of Lucy.
Lucy catches the eye of the Earl of Suffolk but it was not to be and she had to find a path for herself. Most wom
Apr 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
Set during the reigns of James I and his son Charles I, The Lady of the Tower is the compelling story of Lucy St. John, wife of Sir Allen Apsley who was appointed Lieutenant of the Tower of London in 1617. From prologue to last chapter, the author keeps the reader mesmerized with the intrigues and high-stakes happenings of seventeenth century England.

Lucy St. John is a worthy protagonist. Orphaned at an early age and raised by a mean-spirited aunt, Lucy is generous, caring and intelligent. Capti
Dec 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, historical
I loved the attention to historical detail in this book and learning more about this time period. The interworking and the intrigue of the court is fascinating. I especially like Lucy and how she doesn't give into all of the evil going on around her, but keeps a strong faith. Ms. St. John writes a fascinating story filled with attention to detail.

Content: I would rate this book PG13 due to violence (descriptions of violent images) and sexual content.

I won this book in a giveaway and was not ob
Lisa Evola
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was an absolutely amazing book, filled with beautiful scenes and intrigue. for the Historical fiction lover, it is an amazing look into the lives of almost-royalty. The lives of these 17th century nobles is compelling, and leaves the reader with eyes wide with wonder, and a yearning to know more. If you have not yet read this wonderful 1st book in the series, you are truly missing out on an adventurous look into history. I personally cannot wait for the second!
Joanna Kafarowski
Set in the Stuart period of King James 1, 'The Lady in the Tower' provides a riveting read for fans of British historical fiction. The author, Elizabeth St. John uses documents from her own family history to create a multi-faceted protagonist who immediately captures the interest and sympathy of the reader. The cast of characters are skillfully drawn and the landscapes come to life on the page. An absorbing and fascinating read!
Paul Bennett
Sep 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  A fascinating tale of the period when England said goodbye to the Tudors and hello to the Stuarts. The protagonist, Lucy, grows up in a household where she is treated with contempt by her guardian and by her scheming sister Barbara. In a time when women had very little say in their futures and where the intricate, backstabbing antics of the Royal Court, Lucy struggles to survive.  Married to an important member of the King's retinue of courtiers, she find
Julia Bell
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this novel five stars as I thoroughly enjoyed the story of The Lady of the Tower. The roads that Lucy chose in her life kept me turning the pages and I've always loved stories that are populated with historical figures. King James, King Charles and the Duke of Buckingham featured prominently in this novel and the policy of gaining 'favours' through the Royal Court was quite distressing; especially when promises were not kept and debt ensued. Lucy was a strong character and worked hard ...more
Catherine Meyrick
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
The Lady of the Tower imagines the life of Lucy St John, a descendant of Margaret Beauchamp (maternal grandmother of Henry VII), from 1603 as she emerges from girlhood to 1630 when she was wife of the Keeper of the Tower of London. With the death of Lucy’s mother five years earlier, the family has been dispersed, her sisters to various relatives and her brother John, after studying at Oxford, to Guernsey. Lucy lives at the Battersea manor of her uncle Oliver St John where she endures the dislike ...more
Ellie Midwood
If you love historical fiction, this brilliantly written novel definitely should be on your must-read list! The atmosphere of 17th century England, the authentic dialogue, meticulously researched and vividly presented life of noble families make this novel truly stand out among the others in the genre. What I loved about this particular story was how it was narrated in such a way (through young Lucy St. John’s eyes) that I felt like I saw and experienced everything through my own eyes. The hopel ...more
Mary Milner
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good read!

I enjoyed reading this book, and the author did a very good job of moving the plot along. Based on other reading I’ve done off this time period, I think author stayed close to historical facts.
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful story that breaths life into a great period in history. Through her vivid narrative style, Ms. St. John recounts the adventures of her ancestor, Lucy St. John, drawing us into the intrigue that surrounded court life in early seventeenth century England. A definite page turner, with characters that touch our hearts, and at times, elicit righteous indignation for the heroine. A definite must read for anyone who loves the history of the period.
Richard Hogsflesh
Jan 27, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting but not that exciting

Enjoyed the history but the book finished without letting you know what happened to her after her husband died. Also a book set in England about English people but written with American spelling is slightly annoying.
Amanda Cimorell
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Good Read

It was good. I got a little confused on chapter 48? Was it supposed to be 1628? Or 1629 I’m not sure if that was a mistake or not.
Jane Churton
Jun 09, 2018 rated it really liked it

I found Lucy's story fascinating and well-written. I enjoyed learning more about a period in England's history that I wasn't too familiar with. I will read more of Elizabeth St
John's books
Laura Wilson
Jul 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Historically very interesting and great characters
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great Historical Red

This is a great historical read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I loved how it felt that I was reading from a personal journal.
It wasn't a bad book, just not my style. It was a bit too slow for my taste but I enjoyed it and it has great characters design.
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, books
Thank you for choosing me to receive a free copy via Goodreads giveaways.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book ! What a great story, with rich history.
Katherine Scott
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an ambitious book, covering many years in the life of Lucy St. John during the 1600s and the reign of James I and Charles II. The period detail is very good, the writing is well done. My only complaint is that Lucy feels a bit too modern in her sensibilities and independence to be completely believable.
Ann Roberts
Feb 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth St John was new to me, but I took a chance on this first novel in the Lydiard Chronicles and thoroughly enjoyed it. Based on the author's family's history, this fictional account is so well written that the research blends seamlessly into the story. Lucy St John, with her independent mind, stands out, and has the reader longing for her to find love with the right man. All the characters are individuals, people with faults as well as virtues, and their struggle with the monarchy of the ...more
Helen Hollick
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
" Elizabeth St John brings these years of Stuart England to the fore, bringing the known facts of her ancestor’s life together with richly imagined scenes creating in the process a believable heroine, an intriguing plot and an enjoyable novel. "

Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs
Mary Benirschke
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book immensely! Not only were the characters well developed but I felt I was in the time period and learned things about the 17th century that were new fascinating.
Carrie Johnson
Feb 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Lady of the Tower is a mesmerizing tale. It is told in first person (Lucy) which made me feel like I was experiencing the tragedies and joys of her life. It is an excellent read especially for history readers.
Aug 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lucy St.John is an orphan in English at the pivotal time of the rise of James I. Throughout her youth, she has been raised by her Aunt Joan and with her sister Barbara. Joan and Barbara seem to have found a common alliance against Lucy and only care about their own rise within English Society. As the women grow, Barbara finds a way to friendship with the influential and corrupt Frances Howard and Lucy find a courtly romance with Frances' brother, Theo. However, Barbara ensures that Lucy will not ...more
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Elizabeth St.John was brought up in England and lives in California. She has tracked down family papers and sites from Nottingham Castle, Lydiard Park, and the British Library to Castle Fonmon and The Tower of London. Although the family sold a few castles and country homes along the way (it's hard to keep a good castle going these days), Elizabeth's family still occupy them - in the form of portr ...more

Other books in the series

The Lydiard Chronicles (2 books)
  • Counterpoint: Barbara, Lady Villiers (The Lydiard Chronicles: Counterpoint Book 2)