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Lady of the Ravens

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  34 ratings  ·  24 reviews
My baptismal name may be Giovanna but here in my mother’s adopted country I have become plain Joan; I am not pink-cheeked and golden-haired like the beauties they admire. I have olive skin and dark features – black brows over ebony eyes and hair the colour of a raven’s wing…

When Joan Vaux is sent to live in the shadow of the Tower of London, she must learn to navigate the
Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: January 9th 2020 by HarperCollins Publishers UK
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Joanna Hickson I think it will be at the same time as the UK, Jan 9th 2020, but I'll check and get back to you if I'm wrong.…moreI think it will be at the same time as the UK, Jan 9th 2020, but I'll check and get back to you if I'm wrong. (less)

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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  34 ratings  ·  24 reviews

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Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this historical novel set at the beginning of the Tudor Dynasty. The central character is Giovanna Vaux, who is known as Joan. Her mother enjoys the patronage of Lady Margaret Beaufort, mother of Henry VII and Joan becomes part of Elizabeth of York’s household, so we get a ringside seat of events! The story takes us from the start of Henry’s reign to the marriage of Prince Arthur to Katherine of Aragon, a marriage that in the future will be highly problematic! Joan is the Lady ...more
Early review:

I do love a Tudor mystery but haven't read any for a while as I think I've overdosed on them. Well, this was one that caught my eye with the dramatic cover and the mention of having the eyes and ears of the ravens to survive Tudor Times. If you've ever been to the Tower of London where this book is set, you see them everywhere, looking, watching....they're quite evil looking birds and there's a legend which says that if they all fly away from the tower, bad things will happen. Well
Oct 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An enjoyable Historical fiction set right at the beginning of the Tudor period. Joan Veaux is lady in waiting to Elizabeth of Yor, who is married to Henry VII. Despite being terrified in the beginning of childbirth, and therefore marriage, she ends up having to marry Richard Guildford. He has rooms in the Tower of London where she comes across the ravens, which according to legend are protectors of the Tower and when there are no ravens left, the kingdom will fall. She admires the ravens, an ...more
Lel Budge
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lady Of The Ravens is historical fiction set during the Tudor age.

Joan is part of the Royal household of York, she is the Lady Of The Ravens. She cares for and protects the famous ravens.

This is a tale of royal politics, life at court, intrigue and the way of life at the time. Historical fiction at its best.

Thank you to the publishers, the author and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

Oct 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I had mixed feelings about this book. Although it's about a period I like and well enough written, I reached the end and thought "so what?". There were no new insights or ideas about the characters that are not covered already by Phillipa Gregory or Hilary Mantel during the next reign.
There were a few bits of lurid prose and some errors - surely cloth of gold is well, gold, not white or varied colours ?
Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love historical fiction but I found this book to be a little slow for me. It's well written and well researched but just didn't hit the spot.
Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.
Daphne Sharpe
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story of how the Tower of London and the monarchy of England will fall if the Ravens leave, is the background to this fascinating story, of fifteenth century Tudor history. Shown from a feminist perspective, the trials of being a female in those days, must make us modern women, feel so thankful for advances in modern childbirth, marriage laws and a general enlightenment of the value of females today. Tudor women, especially those of Royal blood, were married early, usually to gain advantages ...more
Miss A
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joan Vaux, who was brought up in the household of Margaret Beaufort. Upon Henry Tudor becoming King, Joan finds herself installed as a lady in waiting to Elizabeth of York.

As a young girl Joan made her first visit to the Tower of London to visit her mother and found herself fascinated by the inhabitant ravens. Joan had been told the tale that it was believed the ravens kept the Tower safe and if they ever left then the kingdom would fall.

Joan finds herself married to a courtier with a number of
Ophelia Sings
Nov 24, 2019 rated it liked it
This is a fascinating, if a little slow, tale of the lot of noblewomen in the early Tudor years. There's not much ground that hasn't been covered already by other authors here, though the use of the ravens as a metaphor for the ever rising and falling fortunes of England's first Tudor reign is original and effective.

The action spans the union of the houses of York and Lancaster and stops just after the ill-fated marriage of Prince Arthur and Katherine of Aragon. I would have liked to have read
Ritu Bhathal
Nov 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
I've always been a fan of historical fiction and jumped at the chance to read an advanced copy of The Lady of The Ravens by Joanna Hickson.

Set in the times where the Tudors took control of the monarchy, the author has cleverly interwoven fact with fiction to create a compelling story that weaves the legend of the Ravens at the Tower of London, with a fictional tale of Joan, a young lady who starts her life of royal duty by being a companion to Princess Elizabeth, and, as time goes by, works her
Nov 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, told from the pov of Joan Vaux who was a lady in waiting to Elizabeth of York. As the new Tudor dynasty is taking shape it is fascinating to read about some of the less well known characters and without the usual Shakespearean bias. Henry VII brought the War of the Roses to an end with a rather dubious claim to the throne, but also united the Houses of York and Lancaster in a fragile peace.
His actions changed the course of English history, opinion will differ as
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Joan Vaux is a young woman in the court of King Henry VII, her mother is one of the ladies in waiting to Henry’s young queen Elizabeth. Joan herself is fascinated by the ravens which reside at the Tower of London, and builds a relationship with them, feeding them and encouraging their presence – she finds herself much derided, particularly by Sir Henry Wyatt, a senior member of the king’s team.

As the girls around her marry, Joan is terrified of the prospect, and above all terrified of the
Oct 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fabulous tale bringing Tudor history to life, this book has as much fact in it as it does fiction, with most of the characters being genuine historical figures. Set during the reign of Henry VI, we catch a fascinating glimpse of life in the royal household, both upstairs and downstairs, as well as find out about the ravens in the title. The storyline is based around Joan Vaux who really was a lady in waiting to Henry's wife, Queen Elizabeth of York, and moves along at a steady pace throughout, ...more
Jenny H
Nov 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. It's good to see the story through the eyes of a lady in the royal court rather than a queen or princess, as is usual with historical novels set in medieval England. I like the slow pace too, which seems to suit the period. The lady of the title is Joan Vaux, through whom we learn the story of her mistress Elizabeth, Henry VII's future queen. Joan is also a friend of Henry 's mother, Margaret, Countess of Richmond. Margaret has lived as an honoured guest in the Tower of ...more
Kath Middleton
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Joan, to give her the anglicised version of her Italian name, is a minor member of the royal household at the beginning of Tudor times. I loved the setting which was really well done, and the intrigue between characters which gave the story depth. It took me a while to engage with the book and it seemed to stop, rather than end, so I imagine there will be more to come. I love the mythology associated with ravens, and the legend that if they desert the Tower of London, where some of the book is ...more
Nicola Bennett
I felt this tale was weighed down by all the historical facts that were threaded through the narrative. Although I do enjoy reading historical fiction to get an idea of what life was like in another age, I found there was too much information laid out baldly, rather than subtly supporting the story.
A lack of commas (which might be due to this being an early draft) also meant it was sometimes difficult to grasp the meaning of a sentence.
The story itself was slight, and I found it difficult to
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What an amazingly researched book. I thoroughly enjoyed this tale of Joan, friend of Henry VII's incumbent and then Queen, Elizabeth. The ravens myth and the struggle to get them accepted adds a nice touch to the story which is full of historic details and a lot of characters, some of whom I last heard about in history lessons at school fifty years ago. I enjoyed the set pieces in court and family homes, whilst the details of the clothes and journeys and the countryside which really helped to ...more
Leanne Neale
The Lady of the Ravens gives an insightful fictionalised account of the life and ‘obsession’ of Giovanni ‘Joan’ Vaux, later Lady Joan Guildford, lady-in-waiting to Henry VII’s wife Elizabeth of York. An avid believer of the superstitious belief that as long as the ravens are in residence at the Tower of London the kingdom will flourish, Joan sets about ensuring the ongoing breeding program of her beloved birds however polarised and deceptive the attitudes of the human residents. The book ends as ...more
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, netgalley
A closer look into the transition period from York to Tudor. London 1486. Joan, our main character, is attendant to the queen and wife of Richard Guildford, a courtier. Legend has it that when the ravens flock the Tower of London, all is organised and stable. But the uprisings have the birds fleeing the palace.
There's not much of a story in this book, other than life in close proximity to the royals, with an entourage traveling from manor to manor and from castle to church.
Just a pleasant read
Heather Nazmdeh
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New life was breathed in to the old favourites, the Tudors, with this telling of life under Henry VII. I enjoyed this more than I expected and although I am sure that not all the historical details were accurate, I was swept along with the characters and telling of life in the Royal Household. I liked the parts about the ravens as they interest me now, there still being a Raven Master at the Tower of London. Perhaps we will learn of the development of this role in a subsequent book. Altogether ...more
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely devoured this book. It's not fast paced yet it captured me completely and I loved being excorted back to London in the mod 1400's.

Joan, the main protagonist, is endearing and I found her story captivating. I'm not usually a big fan of historic fiction but The Lady of the Ravens had me hooked from the start and I raced through it.

With thanks for netgalley and the publisher for an ARC to read and review.
Matthew Harffy
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Rich in historical detail, The Lady of the Ravens is a touching glimpse into the experiences of those who surrounded the throne of Tudor England. Through the eyes of Joan Vaux we witness the loves, tribulations, joys and fears of the women and children whose existence was all too often controlled by the vagaries and dynastic machinations of the men in power.

Joanna Hickson is a wonderful storyteller and brings the Tudor world to vibrant, and often sorrow-tinged, life.
Sapna Chamaria
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love historical fiction set in Tudor times and this time I was not disappointed at all. I loved the storyline and the characters, The story tells us about the women that history usually forgets. Highly recommended!
Suzanne Waters
Oct 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s been a while since I really got into a good book. This was brilliant storytelling from beginning to the end. I will definitely be buying this for my friend who loves this kind of book.
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Joanna Hickson became fascinated with history when she studied Shakespeare's history plays at school. However, having taken a degree in Politics and English she took up a career in broadcast journalism with the BBC, presenting and producing news, current affairs and arts programmes on both television and radio. Now she writes full time and has a contract with Harper Collins for three historical ...more