It was not easy to search for a murderer when one was a queen’s lady

The Flower Reader is one of those books where the less you know about the story the better, so I’m keeping the plot description very brief and just will just tease instead with a few favorite quotes. Rinette Leslie of Granmuir is a very minor member of Mary of Guise’s household, and as such she’s the perfect choice when the dying regent needs someone to slip a casket of secret letters and other juicy stuff out of the castle and into its super-secret hiding place until it can be turned over to Scotland’s new queen, Mary Stuart.

No one paid any more attention to me. I walked out of the room with the silver casket and the masses of flowers in my arms.

Well, let’s just say things don’t exactly go according to Hoyle, and Rinette’s life is about to take some seriously unexpected twists and turns. Just about everyone is hot to get their hands on the casket and the secrets it contains (loved the Nostradamus twist!), and will go to any lengths to get their hands on them. No surprise, but Rinette finds herself right in the middle of it all dodging unknown assassins in darkened corridors.

You have made an enemy, Mistress Rinette.

The UK cover

And that is all I’m going to tell you – read it for yourself. I was hooked by the first chapter and loved every minute of it. I adored Rinette’s voice, especially her *asides* on the young queen and her court, and the mystery kept me guessing until the end (it will keep you turning the pages). The floromancy twist was unique and a lot of fun (especially the flower she thought of when looking at Darnley :D). I’m one reader who is about as tired of Mary Queen of Scots as I am of the Tudors, but this was a refreshing look at her, and set during her first years as queen before all that Darnley/Bothwell melodrama. My copy came with maps, genealogical charts and a cast of characters (very much appreciated). 5/5 stars. Run, don’t walk, to your nearest bookstore on April 3rd to get your hands on a copy.

Many thanks to the folks at NAL for an early copy, and a finished one at that. I love to quote so that was doubly appreciated.