Review: Murder at Hatfield House by Amanda Carmack

Description (from cover):

‘1558. Kate Haywood, a simple musician in the employ of a princess, will find herself involved in games of crowns as she sets out to solve the murder of the queen’s envoy…
England is in tumult under the rule of Queen Mary and her Spanish husband. Confined to house arrest at Hatfield House, young Princess Elizabeth is the country’s greatest hope. Far from court intrigues, Elizabeth finds solace in simple things: the quiet countryside and peaceful recreation, including the melodies of her chief musician and his daughter, Kate Haywood.
But Kate will prove herself most valuable when an envoy of the queen–sent to flush out heretics in the princess’ household–is found dead on the grounds of Hatfield. Acting as Elizabeth’s eyes and ears, Kate is sent out on the trail of a killer whose mission could destroy her family, friends–and the future of England.

My thoughts:

I have pretty much quit reading historical fiction novels about the Tudors as I am starting to get tired of them, but of course just when I say that, a book that catches my eye comes along and makes me change my mind. I am so glad that I picked this one despite featuring Elizabeth I as it was a fabulous mystery that kept me on my toes and intrigued me from the very first page. I was amazed by this author’s knack for historical detail and accuracy. I thoroughly enjoyed Kate Haywood’s character and loyalty to the Princess Elizabeth even in treacherous and dangerous times. Kate makes a great character and heroine and I am dying to get my hands on the next installment. 
Kate is the daughter of Princess Elizabeth’s musician, but she also finds herself to be a close companion and confidante to the somewhat exiled and shunned princess. When suspicious things start happening and then one of Queen Mary’s emissaries turns up dead, Kate can’t help but let her curiosity lead her into trouble. She feels that her loyalty must protect Elizabeth and she soon finds herself right in the middle of all the chaos of court politics and murder. Just how far will someone go to achieve their political ambitions? Will this change the course of English history for all times?
This book was a pleasure to read, but the ending was a little odd. It almost didn’t make sense and it felt rushed and not well plotted. It was a surprise, but the so-called motive was a little off and it kind of diminished the rest of the book for me. I most definitely will be continuing this series and cannot wait for the next one to be released. I think that this debut was a good one that needed a little bit of work, but still a fun read with great characters and spectacular attention to detail. This is a series that I am a little excited about!

Overall Rating: 4

Title:  Murder at Hatfield House
Author:  Amanda Carmack
Series:  Elizabethan Mystery #1
Publisher:  Signet
Publication Date:  October 1, 2013
Pages:  288
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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