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The Reluctant Assassin

(Ursula Blanchard #16)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  91 ratings  ·  24 reviews
When Ursula’s young son is kidnapped, she is lured into an impossible dilemma.

March, 1581. Queen Elizabeth is once again being urged to consider marriage to the Duke of Alençon, a French Catholic twenty years her junior. The prospect of the match is causing unrest throughout the kingdom.

Ursula Blanchard however has more immediate matters to worry about when her 9-year-old
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published June 1st 2018 by Severn House Publishers
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  91 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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I believe this is my second time reading a book in this series and I am not disappointed at all. Ursula Blanchard, now Stannard, is a middle-aged woman of means, half sister to Queen Elizabeth I, who occasionally becomes involved in various intrigues at court or elsewhere in the realm because of that relationship. At this point in the series, her life is fairly stable, with two good homes to her name, a young son, a staff of devoted men and women, many of whom are really friends. She continues g ...more
Ursula is called on to dig deep!

Ursula Blanchard's young son is kidnapped. The ransom is not money something more deadly. An act of regicide. A problem that only her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth, can help her with. It's 1581 and some in the kingdom are affronted by the possibility of Elizabeth marrying the Duke of Alençon, a French Catholic. The return of the harsh days of Queen Mary are still remembered.
Ursula finds herself in an impossible and ever increasing dangerous situation. How to save h
Clare O'Beara
When her young son is abducted, Mistress Blanchard has no choice but to agree to carry out an assassination attempt. The times being what they are, she first has to inform Queen Elizabeth Tudor and her spymaster Walsingham. The politics of the day mean that life is uncertain and loyalties even less so, while a death could perhaps be convenient for the queen.

I enjoy how this series pays attention to horses, our heroine owning a stud farm for trotting horses, and the abilities of each individual
Franca Pelaccia
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
It’s 1581 and Ursula or Mistress Stannard, who is half-sister to Queen Elizabeth finds herself in a predicament that calls on more than her special skills as a spy. Queen Elizabeth is considering marriage to the Duke of Alençon, a French Catholic. The possibility of the marriage is dividing the kingdom and Ursula is caught in the middle of the unrest. Her young son Harry is kidnapped and may be shipped off as a slave if she doesn’t commit an act of treason and kill the former Queen of Scotland a ...more
Jane Irish Nelson
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, mystery
Ursula Stannard has been married three times, and is now in her late forties. She is happy with her life — managing her two properties, her stud farm, and raising her young son. But she cannot escape the attentions of would-be suitors, either in the country or at court. Queen Elizabeth also has a marriage proposal, and can't make up her mind whether to accept it or not. Ursula (the queen's illegitimate half-sister) provides what advice she can, but knows Elizabeth must make her own decision what ...more
Kimberly Ann
Apr 12, 2019 rated it did not like it
Queen Elizabeth is still entertaining a marriage to Francis d'Anjou Duke Alencon and once again calls her 1/2 sister Ursula Stannard to court.

Since the death of Ursula's husband, leaving her a wealthy woman, there are no end of suitors attempting to win her hand in marriage (as well as her property). When the book opens, Ursula is being accosted by Master Woodley, proclaiming his undying love & proposing for a 2nd time... when Ursula's manservant, Brockley intervenes.

Returning to her home Hawksm
I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley.

The Reluctant Assassin is the sixteenth installment in the historical mystery series featuring Ursula Blanchard, half sister to Queen Elizabeth. We find Ursula spending her days as usual being counselor to the queen on matters such as marriage and politics while dealing with suitors, when suddenly her world is shattered as her son is kidnapped. She then finds herself being held captive and told the terms of her son's release, w
May 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ursula Blanchard is back for another mystery, but things are a bit more personal this time around. Her son is kidnapped and, after she, herself, is briefly kidnapped by the same people, she is set with a very difficult choice; arrange for the demise of a certain individual or her son will be sold to a slave ship. Can Ursula go against her principles and kill someone? Can she find her son before she actually needs to carry out the foul deed with which she is tasked?

I have loved this series from t
Ellie (crackthespine)
Historical fiction mystery books are god's gift to humanity - and The Reluctant Assassin was no exception, With a funny cast of characters, a badass protagonist and a generally pretty interesting story, I ended up really enjoying this. However, maybe this is because it's the sixteenth book in a series, but I found it really hard to connect with these characters. Most of the time the author spent was in retelling events that had happened before - multiple times within the same chapter. But other ...more
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is a fine addition to this series. Readers will continue to enjoy the historical settings and the members of court at this time who make appearances throughout the story. The plot involving Ursula's son and kidnappers who have a desire to control the political climate of this period are like some the current happenings in our world today. Definitely a tribute to woman power and to the critical thinking skills of a young person.
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I whizzed through this ( 16th) book in the “Ursula Blanchard” series. Though it’s a relatively short novel, a lot of it is comprised of Ursula hand-wringing over a ( not very genuine, IMO) crisis of conscience over a period of weeks, while her young son Harry is in the hands of abductors. A very dramatic and life-altering event in her life, that took place in the fifteenth novel, disappointingly doesn’t merit a mention here.
Jane Shibilski
Jul 23, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a quick and short read. It kept my interest throughout, but the solution was fairly easy to anticipate. This felt more like a filler book or a prequel of some sort. I love the Ursula Blanchard series and really was not disappointed, just in its length and easily discernible plot. I am already looking forward to the next in the series, “Web of Silk” and will happily delve into that book as well.
May 21, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
1581 has arrived and Ursula Blanchard is on a mission. To save her son she must kill Mary, Queen of Scots who is held at Sheffield Castle.
Not really much of a mystery, and the story just didn't catch my imagination. A pity as I like reading historical mysteries set in this time period.
A NetGalley Book
Aug 25, 2018 rated it liked it
I've finally figured out that these latest installments are just missing that infighting between Ursula and her coterie that made the prior editions so entertaining. It's so much more interesting when Dale is almost getting Ursula killed sort of on purpose.
Brianna Brianna
Mar 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Prior to this, I had never read a novel by Fiona Buckley so I had few expectations. However, the novel was very well written and kept you engaged until the final page: wondering just how the story would unfold and the mystery would come to conclusion.
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
I grabbed this at random off of the shelf. I thought it would be more interesting than it actually was. Well written with some good cliff hangers, but the narrative was boring to read. I like Ursula's morals about murder. Hopefully other people will enjoy The Reluctant Assassin more than I did.
Krishna Shah
Jan 26, 2020 rated it liked it
I love this series but the plot on this one was a bit far-fetched. I liked the characters and they have developed quiet so was disappointed in the plot. I would have liked a more action for Ursula.
Susan Ash hanson
Nov 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed it, great storyline
Juli Hatlee
These books are so well written. Hoping she writes another!
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Julie W
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Jul 14, 2019
Patty Abrams
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Kim Isherwood
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Aug 21, 2018
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Katherine Spivey
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Goodreads Librari...: Add book cover 4 20 Jun 08, 2018 02:34PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Ursula Blanchard (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • To Shield the Queen (Ursula Blanchard, #1)
  • 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)

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