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Tour: The Godmother's Secret by Elizabeth St.John

Book details:

Ebook& Paperback:

Book Title: The Godmother’s Secret

Author: Elizabeth St.John

Publication Date: 4th October, 2022 (print)

Publisher: Falcon Historical (print)

Page Length: 361 pages


Narrator: Elizabeth St.John

Publication Date: 27th June, 2023 (audio)

Publisher: Tantor Media (audio)

Audio Length: 11 hours 59 minutes

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If you knew the fate of the Princes in the Tower, would you tell? Or forever keep the secret?

May 1483: The Tower of London. When King Edward IV dies and Lady Elysabeth Scrope delivers her young godson, Edward V, 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 Elysabeth’s sister Margaret Beaufort conspires with her son 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 Yorkist husband and her Lancastrian sister under her godmother’s sacred oath to keep Prince Edward safe. Bound by blood and rent by honour, Elysabeth is torn between King Richard and Margaret Beaufort, knowing that if her loyalty is questioned, she is in peril of losing everything—including her life. Were the princes murdered by their uncle, Richard III? Did Margaret Beaufort mastermind their disappearance to usher in the Tudor dynasty? Or did the young boys vanish for their own safety? 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 blends her family history with known facts and centuries of speculation to create an intriguing story about what happened to the Princes in the Tower.

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Spring 1483 | The Palace of The Tower

Racing cloud shadows scamper across the hall as Ned is escorted into the royal apartments. Gloucester places a hand on my boy’s back, urging him forward. They vanish behind the great iron doors, Ned’s fair head gleaming golden in a final shaft of sunlight as he disappears.

I let out my breath with a shudder. My vow is fulfilled. I have done my duty. The succession is secured. I bid a silent farewell to my boy, not just from this journey, but to his youth and his unique time with me as his godmother. I swallow a lump in my throat, am determined to be brave. Margaret is the most devoted mother to her own child; she has navigated the roughest of waters for Henry, through war and treachery, long absences and sad farewells. Margaret knows how to prepare Ned for the throne.

After all, she once considered her own son a candidate.

I repeat my prayer to King Edward in heaven.

God rest your soul and know that your son is safely delivered. I have kept my vow and carried out your wish.

Doors slam shut. Bolts rattle into place.

And God protect my boy, give him strength to rule with honour, to take counsel from those whom he trusts and avoid those who might betray him.

My eyes snap open. What demon of doubt scribed that prayer?

A faint call from far above. There, at an upper gallery, Ned's pale face appears. He gestures for me to join him.

He needs me still. My heart lifts. I walk swiftly to the door, happiness springing in my heels. I'm coming, my darling.

The guards bar the way. Soldiers appear in each corner, at every door, double, triple deep. Their livery is a worryingly familiar black and red.

“I'm sorry, Lady Scrope. We have instructions not to let anyone through now.” The guard is apologetic, embarrassed even. He witnessed our triumphant arrival just minutes before.

“On whose orders?” Surely there is a mistake.

“The Duke of Buckingham.”

I stare up at Ned in the gallery. Harry looms at his side, steers him away from the rail. Ned clings to the edge for a moment, lifts his hand briefly, and then pulls a rueful face as he is led away.

“And so not even his godmother is allowed to enter?”

The guard shakes his head. “Best be going home, Lady Scrope.” He changes from kindly to distant. “Best leave.”

A flush of anger heats my cheeks. “As biddable as a bitch in whelp.”

Harry used me as a mounting block on his swift ride to power. I must share this truth with Margaret, warn her to be wary of his ambition. Tomorrow. When Margaret visits Le Ryall and we talk about Ned’s dreams for his future, the need to visit the queen in Sanctuary and reconcile the family.

Taking one last look at where Ned stood, I gather my skirts. Let Margaret deal with Harry tonight. I do not want to leave, but it is time to go home. Jack will be at Le Ryall shortly. I long to share my journey with him, talk with my beloved, who knows me better than any, who will put my scattered feelings into perspective.

The guards move forward, and I realise I am being escorted from the dais. Surely just a formality. I am spent, the emotion of the last week draining me.

Don’t falter, don’t fall.

My old creed from sanctuary bubbles up unbidden, and my footsteps echo through the cavernous hall as I leave my prince in the Tower.

Elizabeth St.John’s critically acclaimed historical fiction novels tell the stories of her ancestors: extraordinary women whose intriguing kinship with England's kings and queens brings an intimately unique perspective to Medieval, Tudor, and Stuart times.

Inspired by family archives and residences from Lydiard Park to the Tower of London, Elizabeth spends much of her time exploring ancestral portraits, diaries, and lost gardens. And encountering the occasional ghost. But that’s another story.

Living between California, England, and the past, Elizabeth is the International Ambassador for The Friends of Lydiard Park, an English charity dedicated to conserving and enhancing this beautiful centuries-old country house and park. As a curator for The Lydiard Archives, she is constantly looking for an undiscovered treasure to inspire her next novel.

Elizabeth's books include her trilogy, The Lydiard Chronicles, set in 17th Century England during the Civil War, and her newest release, The Godmother's Secret, which explores the medieval mystery of the missing Princes in the Tower of London.

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Tour hosted by: The Coffee Pot Book Club

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