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The Doublet Affair

(Ursula Blanchard #2)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  946 ratings  ·  64 reviews
The novel begins as Ursula Blanchard, waiting woman to Queen Elizabeth I, is having a lesson in picking locks under the watchful eye of her majesty's secretary of state. An unusual lesson indeed for a respectable woman of the court, but Blanchard is no ordinary lady in waiting. She does have the proper antecedents for her place, but an eye and an ear for suspicious dealing ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published November 7th 2006 by Gallery Books (first published 1998)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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Avid Series Reader
The Doublet Affair by Fiona Buckley is the second book of the Ursula Blanchard mystery series set in Elizabethan England. In 1561 Ursula Blanchard is still serving as lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, who forbids Ursula to leave with her daughter Meg and live with her husband Matthew in France. Before Elizabeth will grant permission, Ursula must complete another spying assignment. Ursula must return to Leonard and Ann Mason's home, this time as governess. She must investigate all who live ther ...more
Feb 26, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: detective
The problem with The Doublet Affair is that the man with whom the main character is in love is objectively terrible. He (a) is a kind of a traitor; (b) is utterly patronising; (c) forces her to marry him (!) in book one. He's clearly a hottie, but she spends an infuriating amount of time in this one mooning over him, despite him also being the definition of a bad idea.

The mystery also isn't as compelling as in book one, and I hope there are eventually going to be some villains in this series who
Nancy H
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an excellent second entry in the Ursula Blanchard series. Plots, counterplots, and dangers abound in this story, and Ursula has to try to figure out what is happening, despite the complications and confusions. Her life is in immminent and immediate danger before she manages to figure out what is happening and how to get help, but there are things she has to sacrifice even then. This is definitely a good read.
Linda Bridges
Oct 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-books
The second book in the Ursula Blanchard series has Ursula doing one more task for Queen Elizabeth. This time she is sent to Lockhill, the home of Ann and Leonard Mason, whom she had met in book 1. There is something fishy going on that may be related to bringing Mary Stuart to the throne. A man who had been investigating is already dead. Armed with lock picks and the instructions to notice anything out of the ordinary, Ursula travels to Lockhill, ostensibly to tutor the daughters of the house i ...more
Kate Quinn
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Book 2 in the Ursula Blanchard mysteries. Ursula's adventures as Elizabethan lady-in-waiting and part-time spy continue as she is recruited this time to spy on a Catholic household which might be hiding more than just Latin prayers. Ursula's loyalty to her queen is put to the test: she hates spying on a family she genuinely likes, and she wrestles with the more personal dilemma of whether to follow her beloved but estranged Catholic husband into exile in France. Ursula's two servants and partner ...more
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
There are many things to enjoy about these Ursula Blanchard books, but I want to like them more than I actually do. Mostly I regret that there are places where the labour of its plotting is visible through the surface of the tale.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Book two in the Ursula Blanchard series. I thought it was not quite as strong as book one - it just seemed a little less finished, kind of like a bowl made of roughly hewn wood whereas book one at least got a few rounds of sandpaper. The back and forth-ing about the supposed love story between Ursula and Matthew is starting to get old and I dearly hope it doesn’t drag out into book three. But the basic story and characters are there and solid, and I rather liked the quirky inventions of the flyi ...more
Nov 29, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was the second book of a cozy mystery series set in Queen Elizabeth I's court. The plot was interesting with a fair number of surprising turns, and the characters were drawn fairly well. Again, it was a much slower paced novel than I'm used to for cozy mysteries but perhaps it is more in line with the historical setting as a result. I like the series and will eventually read more of the novels, but I'm in no rush to find them.

Jennifer James
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book was a lot of fun. The main plot points are factual historical events during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, but the rest of it is just fun fiction including spying and being shot at by arrows. Ursula Blanchard, the protagonist, is smart and fun. The book is a quick and easy read, and highly enjoyable.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm giving this three stars because I do like the series but I had a hard time with this as an audiobook. NOT THE BOOK'S fault. My fault because I cannot let work go when I am driving.

I do think sometimes Ursula does some.....dumb things? I get the whole migraine thing, BELIEVE ME I do.

Still like Dale and Broccoli best. I'll continue with the series but need a little break.
A good tale to listen to while driving. I like the Ursula character very much -- intelligent, insightful, and womanly. I also like Brockly and Dale, and the way Matthew turns up. The plot of this novel, like the first in the series, is surprising and interesting.
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I am enjoying these books, the author includes enough history, with the fashion of the day, and the politics of the court of Elizabeth I. Along with that is the mysterious events which send Lady Blanchard into danger and often force difficult decisions on her.
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the second book of the Ursula Blanchard series, and it is much stronger than the later books. That doesn't mean it is perfect, but it does mean the characters and story are more engaging.
Jun 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A re-read for me but still just as solidly entertaining as ever.
Amy Lepore
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
Not bad...I enjoyed the story, and it was a quick read. A nice way to pass rainy days.
Jun 20, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tudor-fiction
Ursula. Ursula. Ursula. Some of the determination that made me start to love you in To Shield the Queen quickly disappeared with your next adventure. I still have every intention of continuing on with the series as I find you quite charming and intelligent but this "case" was not your best.

For the better part of this book all you did was pine after (view spoiler)
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
An historical mystery that tightly weaves the mystery into the history--well done.
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Ursula Blanchard is one of my favourite characters. As the queen's spy, she has an interesting job that, while she isn't always happy about it, she believes in it strongly. She also manages to feel that she has to complete her mission, not because she has some saviour complex that makes her think she's the only one who can do it, but because she was the one who was asked to, and she has a duty to do what she has said she will do.

The fact that she is a mother is diligently held up in her personal
Jan 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: home-2013
Usually I love books set in this time period, or that of Henry VIII but I could not get into this book. I was not aware until I was ready to read this that it was part of a mystery series, and that it was the second novel in the series. But I read it anyways because it has been on my bookshelf for a couple of years now and my goal is to read at least 20 of my own books after all. I'm glad to say that this has been read, and now sits in my to-sell bag.

Ursula has been sent to Lockhill to investig
Richard Stueber
Jun 08, 2015 rated it liked it
Ursula Blanchard, age 26, Lady of the Presence Chamber to Queen Elizabeth I of England really wants to depart for France to be with her husband Matthew de la Roche in France. Meanwhile Elizabeth's Secretary of State William Cecil gets Ursula to spy on the family of Leonard and Ann Mason. The Masons may be involved in a plot in favor of Mary Queen of Scots.
Soon quite a number of suspicious characters appear on the scene. The are involved with the Masons and others to some degree and eventually Ma
Sep 17, 2012 rated it liked it
The second book in the Ursula Blanchard series picks up not long after the first book. Ursula is still working for Sir William Cecil, and has picked up the skill of lock picking. While she attempts reconciliation with estranged husband and asks for release by the Queen, the Queen asks her to perform one more spying mission for her. She is sent back to the Masons home to help train the girls in the arts of needlework and other gentle arts while looking for a possible plot against the Queen. Along ...more
Jun 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
A solid 4 stars, this is book #2 in the series by Fiona Buckley. It gives us another look at life during the time of Queen Elizabeth I. Excellent descriptions of clothing worn, foods eaten, and the physical layouts of homes during the time period. Extensive gardens were a requirement in upper class homes of the time (along with stables and grooms) so just paying for all the servants must have been expensive! I've read a similar type of historical mystery series by local author, Karen Harper, and ...more
Sep 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
The second book in the Ursula Blanchard series continues to delight. This time Ursula is immersed in a Catholic household as a semi governess teaching spinet and embroidery lessons by day and ferreting out any plots against Queen Elizabeth by night. You will become an expert on picking locks in Elizabethan times, learn about the invention of the music box, attempt to create a flying machine from DaVinci's designs and how to make a poisoned draught from a topiary garden, plus a glimpse of economi ...more
Dec 06, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-suspense
This is the second book in the Ursula Blanchard series, set during the early reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Ursula is a lady-in-waiting to the queen, serving her as a spy to ensure the safety of the realm. The series is enjoyable, in part because Ursula is a strong character, and in part because the stories reflect well the history and social structure of the times. The author has taken great pains to be accurate with her details.
This is light reading, but does portray the dangerous and difficult
I was so happy that Buckley didn’t kill off any favorite characters, though there were some tense moments. A lot of the plot’s finer political details went right over my head, so the ending probably wasn’t as satisfying as it would have been had I known what was going on. Of course, I could say that about life in general. :o) The ending was a bit of a surprise; I didn’t know Ursula could be that calculating.
Jul 15, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical, mystery
Really not any worse than the 3 star first in the series, but I was hoping for a little more in the second, and it didn't deliver. Still mostly interesting, but an extra reliance on coincidence and the kind of ridiculous, out-of-character, frustrated passion of the main character for her enemy husband, soured me a bit. I'll probably try at least one more looking for improvement before giving up on the series. Not bad, but not sure it's worth my time.
Sara G
Aug 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-kindle
Not as good as the first one. In this book, Ursula does some more spying for William Cecil in a Catholic household that appears to be connected to a plot to install Mary Stuart on England's throne. Ursula isn't the strong queen's lady we saw in the first book. She's constantly sad and missing her daughter and her husband. The mystery was really interesting and enjoyable, but I didn't like Ursula so much. I will probably read the next one to see if she goes back to her feisty self.
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.
Aug 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is the second of the Ursula Blanchard series and I think it's better than the first. I especially liked the development of Ursula's, I guess you could say, inner life. The focus on her choices, on her conflicted loyalties, and her ambiguity about her independence, uniqueness, and unconventionality is very interesting and well done.
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.
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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)
  • 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)

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