Books

The Godmother’s Secret

If you knew the fate of the Princes in the Tower would you tell? Or forever keep the secret?
November, 1470: Westminster Abbey. Lady Elysabeth Scrope faces a perilous royal duty when ordered into sanctuary with Elizabeth Woodville–witness the birth of Edward IV’s Yorkist son. Margaret Beaufort, Elysabeth’s sister, is desperately seeking a pardon for her exiled son Henry Tudor. Strategically, she coerces Lancastrian Elysabeth to be appointed godmother to Prince Edward, embedding her in the heart of the Plantagenets and uniting them in a destiny of impossible choices and heartbreaking conflict.
Bound by blood and torn by honour, when the king dies and Elysabeth delivers her young godson into the Tower of London to prepare for his coronation, she is engulfed in political turmoil. Within months, the prince and his brother have disappeared, Richard III is declared king, and Margaret conspires with Henry Tudor to invade England and claim the throne. Desperate to protect her godson, Elysabeth battles the intrigue, betrayal and power of the last medieval court, defying her husband and her sister under her godmother’s sacred oath to keep Prince Edward safe.
Were the princes murdered by their uncle, Richard III? Was the rebel Duke of Buckingham to blame? Or did Margaret Beaufort mastermind their disappearance to usher in the Tudor dynasty? Of anyone at the royal court, Elysabeth has the most to lose–and the most to gain–by keeping secret the fate of the Princes in the Tower.
Inspired by England’s most enduring historical mystery, Elizabeth St.John, best-selling author of The Lydiard Chronicles, blends her own family history with known facts and centuries of speculation to create an intriguing story about what happened to the Princes in the Tower.
Bookshop: The Godmother’s Secret

The Lydiard Chronicles

Welcome to The Lydiard Chronicles, my series of British historical fiction novels set in seventeenth century England. The stories are true, discovered in a four-hundred-year-old diary written by my ancestress.

The Lady of the Tower

London, 1609. When Lucy St.John, a beautiful highborn orphan at the court of King James, is seduced by the Earl of Suffolk, she never imagines the powerful enemy she creates in his beloved sister, the Countess of Somerset. Or that her own sister Barbara would betray her and force Lucy to leave the court in disgrace. Spirited, educated, and skilled in medicinal remedies, Lucy fights her way back into society, and through an unexpected love match, becomes mistress of the Tower of London. Living inside the infamous prison, she defies plague, political intrigues and tragic executions to tend to aristocratic prisoners and criminals alike.
Now married into the immensely powerful Villiers family, Barbara unites with the king’s favorite, the Duke of Buckingham, to raise the fortunes of Lucy and her family to dizzying heights. But with great wealth comes treachery, leaving Lucy to fight for her survival—and her honor—in a world of deceit and debauchery.
Bookshop: The Lady of the Tower

By Love Divided

London, 1630. Widowed and penniless, Lucy St.John is fighting for her family’s survival and makes a terrible choice to secure a future for her children. Worse still, her daughter Luce rejects the royal court and wealthy marriage arranged by her aristocratic family and falls in love with a charismatic Parliamentarian. As England tumbles toward bloody civil war, Luce’s beloved brother Allen embraces the Royalist cause and chooses to fight for the king as a cavalier. Lucy is helpless to prevent her family being torn apart, and as war flares across England, Allen and Luce are swept up in bloody battles and brutal sieges as they fight for their opposing causes.
Along with thousands of others uprooted by the turmoil, Lucy, Allen, and Luce face a devastating challenge. Will war unite or divide them? And will they find love and a home to return to—if they survive the horror of civil war. In the dawn of England’s great rebellion, love is the final battleground.
Bookshop: By Love Divided

Written in their Stars

London, 1649. Horrified eyewitnesses to King Charles’s bloody execution, Royalists Nan Wilmot and Frances Apsley plot to return the king’s exiled son to England’s throne, while their radical cousin Luce, the wife of king-killer John Hutchinson, rejoices in the new republic’s triumph. Nan exploits her high-ranking position as Countess of Rochester to manipulate England’s great divide, flouting Cromwell and establishing a Royalist spy network; while Frances and her husband Allen join the destitute prince in Paris’s Louvre Palace to support his restoration.
As the women work from the shadows to topple Cromwell’s regime, their husbands fight openly for the throne on England’s bloody battlefields. But will the return of the king be a victory, or destroy them all? Separated by loyalty and bound by love, Luce, Nan and Frances hold the fate of England—and their family—in their hands.
Bookshop: Written in Their Stars

15 Comments

  1. I don’t believe Margaret Beaufort had anything to do with the prince’s disappeared. Everything dependent on that battle of Bosworth. She couldn’t be sure that her son was going to win. Even when her husband changed sides. History has taught us that the guilty needs motive, means and opportunities. So who do that point to ????

  2. I love reading the Godmother’s Secret. It was brilliant read. Loved the main character in the novel.😊

    1. Thank you so much! Elysabeth was challenging to find, but once we connected, she was a joy to write.

  3. Just finished The Godmother’s Secret, and although it had to end, it was sad to say goodbye to Elysabeth and her family. Also, there’s a Scrope in my own ancestral line leading back to Edward I which I will now pursue .Thank you for a great read!
    P.S. I also enjoed all the Lidiard Chronicles as another of my ancestors, William de Mandeville, was the first Constable of the Tower of London about 1100 AD.

    1. Thank you Suzanne, what kind words. I’m so glad you enjoyed meeting the fam! And good luck with your own ancestor-hunting. It sounds as though you have some intriguing branches in your tree.

  4. Absolutely love your books that I have read and didn’t want to leave the characters when I completed reading them. The Lydiard Chronicals and The Godmother’s Secret. Fabulous stories and so beautifully written. Thankyou.

  5. Hi Elizabeth, I have just finished reading your piece in the collection focused on the theme of exile. Even in its shortness, it’s another winner. You have captured the religious struggle of the mid-17th century in England very well. And you have discovered another of your namesakes in your family line. Will you write a full length novel on her story? That would mean researching a new venue. The interchange between Puritans and capitalist merchants is expertly outlined by David Brown in his Enterprise and Empire book. Ireland would have been another option for this family, as many of the English Protestants there were of the Puritan persuasion. You can read something about that in my own No Mere Irish: The Kennedys of Mount Kennedy, a 17th c. Irish Protestant family.

    1. Hi Therese, thanks for your kind words. I enjoyed spending time with Elizabeth, and it was fun to revisit that part of the family history and walk in her footsteps. I grew up not far from her home, and that part of England has always been close to my heart. Thanks for the further reading tips as I think about the potential of a novel…it is tempting, given her full story! Wishing you a very happy new year.

  6. After listening to the first two Lydiard Chronicles books, I devoured the rest of the series. When will they be available in audio? It’s been fascinating to read/listen to books by other authors set in the same period.

    1. Hi Cate
      Thanks for your lovely comment. I don’t have plans for any audio books right now, but maybe later in the year. If you enjoy audio books, you might like to try my latest novel, The Godmother’s Secret, which I narrated. With all good wishes!

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