Book Review: The Shattered Court by M.J. Scott
Entangled in a court ruled by tradition and intrigue, a young witch must come to terms with newfound power and desire—and a choice between loyalty and survival.…The royal witches of Anglion have bowed to tradition for centuries. If a woman of royal blood manifests powers, she is immediately bound by rites of marriage. She will serve her lord by practicing the tamer magics of the earth—ensuring good harvests and predicting the weather. Any magic more dangerous is forbidden.Lady Sophia Kendall, thirty-second in line to the throne, is only days away from finding out if she will be blessed—or perhaps cursed—with magic. When a vicious attack by Anglion’s ancient enemies leaves the kingdom in chaos, Sophia is forced to flee the court. Her protector by happenstance is Lieutenant Cameron Mackenzie, a member of the royal guard, raised all his life to be fiercely loyal to the Crown.Then Sophia’s powers manifest stronger than she ever imagined they would, and Cameron and she are inextricably linked in the process. As a witch unbound by marriage rites, Sophia is not only a threat to the established order of her country, but is also a weapon for those who seek to destroy it. Faced with old secrets and new truths, she must decide if she will fight for her country or succumb to the delicious temptation of power.…
I hope my future husband will be as skilled a lover as Cameron Mackenzie.
The Shattered Court's characters and politics bear a lot of similarities with Elizabethan court...
1. Sophia Kendall vs. Elizabeth Throckmorton - Sophia Kendall was the thirty-second in line to the throne and potential royal witch although her family was on the lowest rung of the nobility. She was lady-in-waiting to the Princess Eloisa and the princess's favorite.
Elizabeth Throckmorton was not in line for the throne and her father was a diplomat and politician. Lady-in-waiting and, according to some accounts, favored by the queen.
2. Cameron Mackenzie vs Sir Walter Raleigh/Robert Dudley - Cameron Mackenzie was part of the Red Guard and third son of the Erl of Inglewood, so there was no chance that he'd be wedded to the princess. He was her lover though.
Sir Walter Raleigh was not a lover of Queen Elizabeth but he was favored by the court. Robert Dudley, on the other hand, was a favorite, close friend and rumored to be the lover of the Virgin Queen.
3. The reason I mentioned Raleigh was because of the circumstances of his marriage to Elizabeth Throckmorton were somewhat similar to that of Sophie and Cameron. Raleigh and Throckmorton fell in love and married in secret. At that time, courtiers and nobles needed royal permission to marry. They did not. This made the queen angry and they were disfavored from the court for a long period. The couple remained devoted to each other.
Due to an *ahem* incident involving ley lines and passion, Sophie and Cameron were arranged to be married. It was not really as unexpected since even if they weren't married to each other, their marriages were still going to be arranged according to the whims of the monarch particularly with Sophie as she was a royal witch. They still were given the cold shoulder despite Eloisa, now queen, giving elaborate celebrations.
It is still not clear whether the connection between them was due to the amplification or something else. There was no doubt about the physical attraction though, thus my first sentence. Alas, no love yet.
...and that's where the similarities ended (or I read too much history/watch too much Elizabethan period films). Well, of course, there was also the politics, clothing, manners, dalliances, alliances but then the ones mentioned above were what stood out most to me.
And do not get me started with Anglion and Illvya, England and continental Europe, and Westeros and Essos.