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To Ruin A Queen

(Ursula Blanchard #4)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  692 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Her devotion to her family trumps all.

Homesick for England, heartsick at being separated from her young daughter, Ursula Blanchard is struggling to build a new life in France with her husband, Matthew de la Roche. Ursula is devastated when she learns Meg has disappeared from the family that has fostered her since the French civil war forced Ursula to leave her behind. A
Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 27th 2001 by Pocket Books (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.83  · 
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 ·  692 ratings  ·  44 reviews

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Kate Quinn
Mar 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Perhaps my favorite of the Ursula Blanchard series. Ursula has survived a disastrous pregnancy and a bitter quarrel with her husband Matthew, and is back in England to bring her young daughter back to France - without being at all certain that she wants to live in France anymore herself. Once in England Ursula cannot help but end up neck-deep in a mystery, and finds herself sent to spy out potential trouble in a Welsh castle. The mystery is fun and has a poignant conclusion, but the moment of sa ...more
Avid Series Reader
To Ruin a Queen by Fiona Buckley is the 4th book of the Ursula Blanchard mystery series set in 1300s England. Ursula was promised that after her last arduous errand for Queen Elizabeth I (A Queen's Ransom) she would be free to live her life with her husband Matthew in France. She certainly has tried to settle into his country estate and enjoy life. In a moment of grave danger and loss, Ursula realizes she cannot be happy until she is reunited with her daughter Meg. Ursula returns to England, whe ...more
This book started out slow and a bit boring but as I continued to read it got better. As a work of historical fiction it was okay. Some pretty underhanded things took place in this book, the worst being the Queen having a woman's child taken to get her to return home to England just to do a bit of spying for her. Although this was not the first book in this series, I had no problem with the story or characters. It holds up as a stand-alone book and previous books need not be read. I will however ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Of the first four Ursula books, this was the first one I had a hard time starting and staying the course. Fortunately, I persevered and ended up thoroughly enjoying the book. There were lots of things I liked about this specific book once I was done with it - things such as how but for a single scene Elizabeth never appears in the book, but yet the potential impact of the mystery propels the story forward. I also liked how believable her reasons for staying back in England and taking on her late ...more
This book was excellent. Very complex plot, which eventually resolves and comes right. I continue to like the main characters in this series and the way they are portrayed by the narrator. In this book the fate of older women was a background theme -- the aging Lady of the manor (Thomasine) who was not yet ready to give up her sex life, and the peasant Gladys who had resorted to truth telling, curses and false "spells" to maintain a position in society when she became too old and ugly and smelly ...more
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it
If you enjoy historical fiction with some intrigue mixed in you will enjoy this book. Story centers around a possible threat to Queen Elizabeth I. It is a light and easy read while relaxing over the holidays.
Ursula, living with Matthew in France, is lured back to England to find her daughter, who is not missing at all.
Mark Baller
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Great series and I am going back to start at the beginning.
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
It's good to see that we're back to things actually happening and not just being a consequence for someone in Ursula's confidence doing something ill-advised. However, it's not as good to see that she continues to find herself manipulated rather than being a more proactive heroine. This is the fourth book. Ursula Blanchard is not Rincewind the wizard, she needs to either pack it in as a spy--because she does have the bloody temerity to do it--or she needs to decide on her own that this is the li ...more
Doctor Black
Dec 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: hard-cover
arouses suspicion
Mar 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ursula is complicated and surely valued by Elizabeth.
Jun 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: tudor-fiction
Three and a half stars for the fourth adventure featuring Ursula Blanchard. The mystery itself in this novel was the best of the series so far but Ursula's personal life continues to be a major hindrance to my enjoyment.

I have previously made mention of my irritation about all the Matthew pinning Ursula does. This book had less of the Matthew pinning (finally!) but didn't lack for issues in the personal life of Ursula. Apparently Ursula is just the kind of woman who automatically finds herself
(3.5 stars) The fourth book in the Ursula Blanchard series starts with Ursula in France with her husband Matthew. She has just experienced a traumatic birth and has lost her child and almost her own life in the struggle. She misses her daughter and Matthew agrees to arrange to have her brought to France. When she finds out that her daughter, Meg, has gone missing, she immediately sets off to England to find out what happened. She is shocked to find that this has been a ruse to recruit her to onc ...more
Richard Stueber
Aug 20, 2015 rated it liked it
In April, 1564 Ursula Faldene Blanchard is not entirely happy living in France with her 2nd husband Matthew de la Roche. Ursula's daughter Meg (almost age 9) by her late first husband Gerald Blanchard has been living in England with Rob and Mattie Henderson.
Queen Elizabeth of England wants her former servant Ursula to go off to Castle Vetch on the Welsh border. Her daughter Meg and Mattie Henderson are there staying with Lady Thomasine Mortimer and her son Sir Philip Mortimer.
Lady Thomasine Mort
Linda Bridges
Mar 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-books
Distraught after losing a child at birth, homesick for England, and missing her daughter, Meg, Ursula Blanchard leaves her husband Matthew in France and goes to England to retrieve Meg and bring her back to France. Upon arriving in England, she learns that Meg has been taken to "visit" a distant relative near the Welsh border. In actuality Meg is the bait being used to lure Ursula into another investigation for Queen Elizabeth I and William Cecil. Ursula travels to Vetch Castle only to find an ...more
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mysteries
I think Fiona Buckley does a nice job of placing her stories in historical context; however, that makes me not like Matthew so much. It is time for Ursula to decide whether she will continue to serve her queen or be Matthew's wife, because Ursula cannot do both. Ursula is stronger but in harm's way as the queen's spy, and while safer as Matthew's wife, Ursula gives up a part of herself.

I enjoyed Ursula's return to England and her albeit stilted but mending relationship with the queen. I enjoy Ur
Mar 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another good installment in this series. I just love this mystery series and am slowly collecting them all and getting them all read. The main character is wonderfully portrayed. I was able to deduce a good chunk of the mystery, but there were some twists that I didn't expect and others that I thought might happen that didn't. I am anxiously awaiting the next book in the series, but I have others that I need to read before I can get to it.
Nov 17, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy Elizabethan Historical Fiction, which is what brought me to this series. I had never been interested in any kind of mysteries up until reading these books. They were a complete surprise to me. The plots in all of the Ursula Blanchard Mysteries are rich and fun, the characters are interesting and complex. I really loved this entire series of books.
Charlotte Osborn-bensaada
Jun 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
This is a great series set in Queen Elizabeth's court. Buckley takes several real historical mysteries and asks what if... Worth reading for a strong interesting heroine that while sometimes needing rescue is rather good at figuring out her own options given the limited options available to women of the time.
Jun 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Ursula Blanchard is in the mountains of Wales in this tale of Elizabethan mystery by Fiona Buckley. An old woman is accused of witchcraft, young lovers have been imprisoned in the castle's tower, and there's a spring/winter romance hiding behind dark and treacherous castle walls. One of the best in the series IMHO!
Ann Boytim
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
A good solid book to read, has it's moments of back in the Elizabeth 1st days pf s women who returns to England from France to bring her daughter (who is living in a foster home in England) back to France to live with her and her second husband. Along the way murder and mystery in a castle but of course all gets right in the end.
Sherry Sharpnack
Sep 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was a more gripping story than the previous ("A Queen's Ransom.) It jumped into the plot line immediately & kept me reading. However, the climax occurred at about 88% through the book! 12% of the pages for the denouement seems excessive, which is why I only awarded 4 stars. All in all, a fun mystery! ...more
I'm still enjoying this series and find the historical and fictional combination of this story just too good to put down. Ursula Blanchard is the type of woman I would have been in elizabethan england.
I'm still reading and still interested in Ursula Blanchard and her doings. Like the last book, this is less straight mystery than intrigue. I have to admit I hate a certain Frenchman and hope that situation is cleared up soon.
Sep 15, 2010 rated it liked it
I picked it up not knowing anything about it. Then found out it's part 4 of a mystery series during Quenn Elizabeth's (16th century) time. I liked it but felt out of the loop when past things were referred to, so I think I'd like to read the first one sometime.
Nov 22, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book difficult to get really intersted in. I guess I have been reading more modern mysteries and this seemed a bit slow and less corners to go around. It still had a good plot and I liked the character taling in the first person.
Debbie G
Oct 21, 2012 rated it liked it
A sprightly Elizabethan suspense novel with a strong main woman character. The scenes are well set so that you get a clear sense of the smells, sounds and sights of the age. The plot had a few too many twists for my liking but it kept you reading.
Aug 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, historical
I'm thinking I'm going to bail on this series. The books aren't awful by any means, but they're just... I don't know... insipid maybe. The political/historical framework is quite interesting, but the meat of each story is generally weak.
Valerie K
Jul 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Another entertaining book in this series. I felt this story had a couple flaws of logic so I'm giving it 3 stars but it didn't overly hinder my enjoyment. In fact I can't wait for the next fact I'm not going to!
good series...she goes though lots of husbands...
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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)
  • 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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