Monday, October 7, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Murder at Hatfield House

Murder at Hatfield House (Elizabethan Mystery - Book 1) by Amanda Carmack

Publication Date: 10/01/2013
Publisher: Penguin Group
Imprint: Obsidian Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Pages: 288
ISBN-10: 0451415116
ISBN-13: 978-04151415110

(Received for an honest review from Obsidian Mystery)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Amanda Carmack (aka. Amanda McCabe) on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Excerpt from Murder at Hatfield House, courtesy of the author's website.


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’s 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.


Amanda Carmack brings readers the first in a new series, set in Elizabethan England. Murder at Hatfield House is a great example of history meeting mystery. Carmack uses historical characters to interact with her fictional characters and to create a top notch novel that both educates and entertains. The political climate of this book was ripe for a great murder mystery and using the future queen as a character was ingenious. Carmack is able to successfully allow the reader to feel the terror of Blood Mary's reign and the tenacious and savvy spirit of Elizabeth. Her ability to write about this time period realistically really stands out. A great new series!

Amanda Carmack takes on Elizabethan England in her new book, featuring the future's queen's musician, who becomes Elizabeth's eyes and ears. What a time period just full of mysteries waiting to happen. The reign of Queen Mary was known for it's intrigue and the many Protestants that were put to death. It was a very traumatic time and Carmack really conveys that to the reader. Mary may have been queen but she knew that Elizabeth would one day challenge her. She was a Catholic through and through and Elizabeth's Protestant beliefs were more than Mary could stand. She was constantly trying to find a way to prove that Elizabeth was plotting against her and there we the setting for Murder at Hatfield House.

Hatfield House was a real place. It was the place where Elizabeth was under virtual house arrest. She lived with her retinue in the country but they were often scrutinized by people sent from Mary's entourage. Carmack is able to show that Elizabeth wanted the peace and quiet of her country home and not the turmoil that Mary had in mind. It was a setting ripe for murder and Caramack really makes it seem plausible that this story went down exactly has she writes. Elizabeth no doubt had private musicians. She also no doubt had spies of her own. She was a daunting woman who was biding her time. And the reader will pick up on that immediately. She was content for a time, because England was not yet ready. As a reader you will sense that underlying current throughout the book.

Kate was a great heroine. She was very good at what she did, both playing an instrument and keeping an eye on things for the Elizabeth. When an envoy from Mary's court is killed at Hatfield House, Kate must help Elizabeth figure out whodunit. There was a sense of loyalty between Kate and Elizabeth that was endearing. Elizabeth is fiercely loyal to anyone who is loyal to her and Kate is such a person. I liked that Kate not only had Elizabeth's best interests at heart but also England's. She was a heroine that the reader gained sympathy for throughout the book.

The mystery aspect of the book was a little less daunting than the historical aspect, I would think. There were plenty of suspects and supporting characters that Carmack had to choose from. I had a good idea who the author intended to be the killer, I just wasn't totally sold on how this person was able to accomplish it. I thought it would all somehow be explained but I don't think the author quite sold it to me. 

Don't get me wrong. I loved the book, for all it's historical detail and for it's wonderful idea's about Elizabeth herself in those early years, and the mystery was good as well, but I did have a nagging thought or two that just wouldn't be put to rest. It is after all a mystery not historical fiction. That happens on occasion and it could be something that will be answered in the next book in the series. We'll just have to wait and see. For now... I liked this one!

Murder at Hatfield House is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

About the Author:

Amanda Carmack is a pseudonym for a multipublished author. Her books have been nominated for many awards, including the RITA Award, the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, the Booksellers Best, the National Readers Choice Award, and the Holt Medallion. She lives in Oklahoma. 

Giveaway Details:

The publisher is sponsoring a giveaway for one copy of Murder at Hatfield House by Amanda Carmack.

~ You must be an email subscriber to participate.
~ US Addresses only.
~ The deadline to enter this giveaway is Midnight EST, October 21st.

1. Please leave a comment describing your favorite Royal from history or from today.
2. Please fill out the FORM.


traveler said...

A Royal whose life has been devoted to causes and interesting is Queen Elizabeth 11. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Renee said...

I have always loved Elizabeth the first as she blazed a trail for the rest of queendom.

Rita said...

I love Prince William, I think he will be a wonderful, caring King.


justpeachy36 said...

I think we as Americans tend to have a fascination for the royal family because we don't one ourselves. I think one of my favorites would have to be Princess Grace of Monaco. What a happy ending! Grace Kelly was such a beautiful lady who actually married her prince charming.

Carol N Wong said...

Princess Diana because I liked her work in getting rid of land mines and charity work. Also found out that I distantly related to her.


bn100 said...

Don't have a favorite royal

Sue Farrell said...

Prince Charles has always interested me--he seems so loyal to the queen and just hides in the background most of the time.

cyn209 said...

my favorite royal??? permit me to be shallow!!
my favorite royal is Prince Harry!!!!
i've always known when he was a toddler that he would be sooooo handsome!!!! LOL!!!!

thank you for the giveaway!!!

Carol M said...

I really don't have a favorite royal.

Linda Rima said...

Favorite royal has to be Elizabeth I . Thanks for the giveaway chance for very interesting novel.

Anita Yancey said...

My favorite is Princess Diana. Thanks for having the giveaway.

Nancy Luebke said...

I really like Princess Diana's Sons, especially the one who married and now has a son.

Theresa N. said...

Princess Diana she seemed like a
genuinely nice person.
theresa n