Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Traitor's Daughter by Barbara Kyle

Released: September 29th, 2015
Publisher: Audible Studios
Written and Narrated by: Barbara Kyle
Length: 11 hours, 15 minutes

Series: The Thornleigh Saga, Book 7


In 1582, England is gripped by the fear of traitors. Kate Lyon, tainted by her exiled mother's past treason, has been disowned by her father, Baron Thornleigh. But in truth Kate and her husband, Owen, are only posing as Catholic sympathizers to gain information for Queen Elizabeth's spymaster.

Kate is an expert decoder. The deception pains her, but she takes heart in the return to England of her long-estranged brother, Robert. If only she could be sure where his loyalties lie....

Kate and Owen's spying yields valuable intelligence: English Catholics abroad are spearheading an invasion that would see Elizabeth deposed - or worse - in favor of Mary, Queen of Scots. Kate takes on the dangerous role of double agent, decoding and delivering letters the exiles send Mary. But when lives and fortunes hang by the thinnest threads, betrayal is only a whisper away....

A brilliant blend of Tudor history and lush storytelling, The Traitor's Daughter is a riveting, passionate novel of loyalty, heartbreak, and one woman's undaunted courage.


What Did I Think About the Story?

I absolutely love this book series! I actually began with the fifth book in the series (Blood Between Queens) and have since continued on, reading The Queen's Exiles before going back and starting at the beginning with The Queen's Lady. This is a must-read historical fiction series for those that love seeing the events of the Tudor era unfold through the eyes of fictional characters that are always very close to the danger and conspiracies surrounding the throne. The Traitor's Daughter, the newest installment, does not disappoint and continues the tradition of exhilarating storylines and captivating and multifaceted characters.

The Traitor's Daughter focuses the spotlight on Kate Lyon (nee Thornleigh). When we last saw Kate in The Queen's Exiles, her father, Baron Thornleigh, was rescuing her from her horrid Catholic mother's clutches while having to leave behind Kate's brother, Robert, during the rescue. A number of years have past while Kate grows up in England and, when the novel opens, she is meeting up with her husband, Owen, as he is released from prison. Her father has disowned her, believing Owen is a Catholic working against Queen Elizabeth's rule (which was actually quite upsetting to me after the lengths he went to to rescue Kate and bring her home). What Baron Thornleigh doesn't know is that Owen and Kate are actually double agents, pretending to be working with the Catholics in their cause to bring down Elizabeth and rescue and put on the throne the imprisoned Scottish Queen Mary, all while delivering this valuable information to Elizabeth's spymasters. This double dealing keeps the tension tight from the beginning of the novel until its tragic end and means that danger and heartache are never far behind these two.  This becomes even worse when Kate's long lost brother, Robert, is discovered in England and Kate has to wrestle with whether or not Robert is who he says he is. Is he really glad to be home in England and at service to its queen? Or did their Catholic mother and her traitorous comrades influence him to come to England and help bring down Elizabeth? This becomes the crux of the novel and I was completely transfixed watching the action unfold.

The author, Barbara Kyle, is the narrator of this audiobook and I have to say she is perfect at it. You can tell when listening to her spin the tale that her background is in acting as she knows exactly when and how to build drama and tension, draw the reader into the passions of the characters and even break their hearts a little when the characters' lives come crashing down around them. Every single man in Kate's life seemed to hurt her in one way or another and I especially felt drawn to Kate and Robert's storyline as I loved their connection and relationship in The Queen's Exiles. Somehow Barbara Kyle was able to make me feel that connection as well as the others, and I was taken aback at how emotional listening to the story became. I actually felt quite disappointed in some of their actions too, which usually doesn't happen to me unless I become as invested in the story as I did here.

Tudor history is well covered in novels and therefore can sometimes come across as same-old-same-old. When reading or listening to a Thornleigh saga story I never feel like that, always knowing I am in for an emotional treat that will give a new light to the history already well known. While anyone can pick up the story at any point in the series I do recommend starting at the beginning, and listening to the audiobooks if that's an option for you. In the author's deft hands you will surely have hours upon hours of worthy entertainment, and, for those not familiar with the drama surrounding the Tudors, maybe learn a little something at the same time.    

What Did I Think About the Cover?

I think it's perfect! For me it so well represents Kate and her time as a spy. The dark, deserted street, the cloak, the clothes...I love it!

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

*I received the Audible download of The Traitor's Daughter for free as a giveaway win from the author. This in no way influenced my opinions or my review*

About Barbara Kyle (via Goodreads) 


Here's a little about me. I grew up near Toronto and studied at the National Theater School of Canada in Montreal, then enjoyed a 20-year acting career in film, TV, and stage productions in Canada and the US. I loved being an actor.

It felt like a natural extension of my acting to create characters for fiction, and in 2008 Kensington Books published my first historical novel, The Queen's Lady. Set in the court of Henry VIII it features Honor Larke, a (fictional) ward of (the real) Sir Thomas More, Henry's chancellor.

Readers loved The Queen's Lady, so my publisher contracted me to write a sequel, The King's Daughter, and after that I went on with five more books in what became The Thornleigh Saga.

"Riveting Tudor drama in the bestselling vein of Philippa Gregory" - USA Today

"Kyle knows what historical fiction readers crave" - RT Book reviews

Here are the Thornleigh Saga books in order:

1 The Queen's Lady (2008)
2 The King's Daughter (2009)
3 The Queen's Captive (2010)
4 The Queen's Gamble (2011)
5 Blood Between Queens (2013)
6 The Queen's Exiles (2014)
7 The Traitor's Daughter (2015)


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