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The Reluctant Assassin (Ursula Blanchard #16)

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When Ursula’s young son is kidnapped, she is lured into an impossible dilemma. March, 1581. Queen Elizabeth is once again being urged to consider marriage to the Duke of Alençon, a French Catholic twenty years her junior. The prospect of the match is causing unrest throughout the kingdom. Ursula Blanchard however has more immediate matters to worry about when her 9-year-old When Ursula’s young son is kidnapped, she is lured into an impossible dilemma. March, 1581. Queen Elizabeth is once again being urged to consider marriage to the Duke of Alençon, a French Catholic twenty years her junior. The prospect of the match is causing unrest throughout the kingdom. Ursula Blanchard however has more immediate matters to worry about when her 9-year-old son is snatched away while out riding. If she is ever to see him again, Ursula must undertake an impossibly difficult and dangerous mission – and commit an act of high treason. Can she rely on her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth, for help?


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When Ursula’s young son is kidnapped, she is lured into an impossible dilemma. March, 1581. Queen Elizabeth is once again being urged to consider marriage to the Duke of Alençon, a French Catholic twenty years her junior. The prospect of the match is causing unrest throughout the kingdom. Ursula Blanchard however has more immediate matters to worry about when her 9-year-old When Ursula’s young son is kidnapped, she is lured into an impossible dilemma. March, 1581. Queen Elizabeth is once again being urged to consider marriage to the Duke of Alençon, a French Catholic twenty years her junior. The prospect of the match is causing unrest throughout the kingdom. Ursula Blanchard however has more immediate matters to worry about when her 9-year-old son is snatched away while out riding. If she is ever to see him again, Ursula must undertake an impossibly difficult and dangerous mission – and commit an act of high treason. Can she rely on her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth, for help?

30 review for The Reluctant Assassin (Ursula Blanchard #16)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I believe this is my second time reading a book in this series and I am not disappointed at all. Ursula Blanchard, now Stannard, is a middle-aged woman of means, half sister to Queen Elizabeth I, who occasionally becomes involved in various intrigues at court or elsewhere in the realm because of that relationship. At this point in the series, her life is fairly stable, with two good homes to her name, a young son, a staff of devoted men and women, many of whom are really friends. She continues g I believe this is my second time reading a book in this series and I am not disappointed at all. Ursula Blanchard, now Stannard, is a middle-aged woman of means, half sister to Queen Elizabeth I, who occasionally becomes involved in various intrigues at court or elsewhere in the realm because of that relationship. At this point in the series, her life is fairly stable, with two good homes to her name, a young son, a staff of devoted men and women, many of whom are really friends. She continues giving advice and support to the Queen. But some will try to disrupt her world by involving her in the years-long struggle between Queen Elizabeth and the imprisoned Queen Mary. There were so many plots during Elizabeth’s reign and Ursula had found herself in the middle of a few of them. Who can refuse a sovereign’s request? Now Ursula’s son is kidnapped and the ransom is not money but an act of violence, one she doesn’t know that she can commit, even for her son. And so the plot ensues. I will say that I found the historical details interesting and they appear realistic, but I will not guarantee full authenticity. I read more for semblance and not with a history text in hand. And I do recommend this book to those who enjoy historical fiction. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    eyes.2c

    Ursula is called on to dig deep! Ursula Blanchard's young son is kidnapped. The ransom is not money something more deadly. An act of regicide. A problem that only her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth, can help her with. It's 1581 and some in the kingdom are affronted by the possibility of Elizabeth marrying the Duke of Alençon, a French Catholic. The return of the harsh days of Queen Mary are still remembered. Ursula finds herself in an impossible and ever increasing dangerous situation. How to save h Ursula is called on to dig deep! Ursula Blanchard's young son is kidnapped. The ransom is not money something more deadly. An act of regicide. A problem that only her half-sister, Queen Elizabeth, can help her with. It's 1581 and some in the kingdom are affronted by the possibility of Elizabeth marrying the Duke of Alençon, a French Catholic. The return of the harsh days of Queen Mary are still remembered. Ursula finds herself in an impossible and ever increasing dangerous situation. How to save her son, whilst balancing calling off the search for him without arousing general suspicion. How to do the kidnapper's bidding as the Queen herself leans towards the kidnappers demands, solving other political problems? The faithful members of her household once again rally around, with the additional support of a surprising new member. The hints of Elizabeth torn between wanting love and rule is beautifully understated. Once again, a well written Ursula Blanchard mystery, with the turmoil embedded adding just the right amount of tension to make for a compelling read. A NetGalley ARC

  3. 4 out of 5

    Clare O'Beara

    When her young son is abducted, Mistress Blanchard has no choice but to agree to carry out an assassination attempt. The times being what they are, she first has to inform Queen Elizabeth Tudor and her spymaster Walsingham. The politics of the day mean that life is uncertain and loyalties even less so, while a death could perhaps be convenient for the queen. I enjoy how this series pays attention to horses, our heroine owning a stud farm for trotting horses, and the abilities of each individual When her young son is abducted, Mistress Blanchard has no choice but to agree to carry out an assassination attempt. The times being what they are, she first has to inform Queen Elizabeth Tudor and her spymaster Walsingham. The politics of the day mean that life is uncertain and loyalties even less so, while a death could perhaps be convenient for the queen. I enjoy how this series pays attention to horses, our heroine owning a stud farm for trotting horses, and the abilities of each individual mount are relevant in planning travels. Each book can be read as a standalone but they combine into a wonderful historical crime series. I downloaded an e-ARC through Fresh Fiction and Net Galley. This is an unbiased review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jane Irish Nelson

    Ursula Stannard has been married three times, and is now in her late forties. She is happy with her life — managing her two properties, her stud farm, and raising her young son. But she cannot escape the attentions of would-be suitors, either in the country or at court. Queen Elizabeth also has a marriage proposal, and can't make up her mind whether to accept it or not. Ursula (the queen's illegitimate half-sister) provides what advice she can, but knows Elizabeth must make her own decision what Ursula Stannard has been married three times, and is now in her late forties. She is happy with her life — managing her two properties, her stud farm, and raising her young son. But she cannot escape the attentions of would-be suitors, either in the country or at court. Queen Elizabeth also has a marriage proposal, and can't make up her mind whether to accept it or not. Ursula (the queen's illegitimate half-sister) provides what advice she can, but knows Elizabeth must make her own decision what would be best for the country, and avoid war with Spain. Returning home, Ursula hires a new head groom for the stud farm as well as a tutor for her son, Harry, who is now nine years old. Life settles down, until one day Harry goes for a ride and doesn't return. Despite a desperate search no trace of him is found. Neither does Ursula receive a ransom letter. So who took him and why? Only when the kidnappers also grab Ursula, does she learn just what they want. Will the price be too high, or must she somehow find a way to submit to their demands? A very quick read, that I found impossible to put down. Recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley. The Reluctant Assassin is the sixteenth installment in the historical mystery series featuring Ursula Blanchard, half sister to Queen Elizabeth. We find Ursula spending her days as usual being counselor to the queen on matters such as marriage and politics while dealing with suitors, when suddenly her world is shattered as her son is kidnapped. She then finds herself being held captive and told the terms of her son's release, w I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley. The Reluctant Assassin is the sixteenth installment in the historical mystery series featuring Ursula Blanchard, half sister to Queen Elizabeth. We find Ursula spending her days as usual being counselor to the queen on matters such as marriage and politics while dealing with suitors, when suddenly her world is shattered as her son is kidnapped. She then finds herself being held captive and told the terms of her son's release, which requires her to do the unthinkable and commit a murder or her son will be sold as a slave. There wasn't much of a mystery. Most of the book was spent with Ursula worrying about her son and debating with her conscience regarding the evil deed she's been asked to carry out. Also, I felt the author provided a bit too much description of the historical setting. It was a bit distracting from the overall plot. I found myself not enjoying this one as much as I had enjoyed the others in the series.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Gayle

    Ursula Blanchard is back for another mystery, but things are a bit more personal this time around. Her son is kidnapped and, after she, herself, is briefly kidnapped by the same people, she is set with a very difficult choice; arrange for the demise of a certain individual or her son will be sold to a slave ship. Can Ursula go against her principles and kill someone? Can she find her son before she actually needs to carry out the foul deed with which she is tasked? I have loved this series from t Ursula Blanchard is back for another mystery, but things are a bit more personal this time around. Her son is kidnapped and, after she, herself, is briefly kidnapped by the same people, she is set with a very difficult choice; arrange for the demise of a certain individual or her son will be sold to a slave ship. Can Ursula go against her principles and kill someone? Can she find her son before she actually needs to carry out the foul deed with which she is tasked? I have loved this series from the very beginning. The character development is very well constructed and the plots so believable. I will continue to read these as long as the author continues to write them. Thank you for another enjoyable installment in this series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ellie (crackthespine)

    Historical fiction mystery books are god's gift to humanity - and The Reluctant Assassin was no exception, With a funny cast of characters, a badass protagonist and a generally pretty interesting story, I ended up really enjoying this. However, maybe this is because it's the sixteenth book in a series, but I found it really hard to connect with these characters. Most of the time the author spent was in retelling events that had happened before - multiple times within the same chapter. But other Historical fiction mystery books are god's gift to humanity - and The Reluctant Assassin was no exception, With a funny cast of characters, a badass protagonist and a generally pretty interesting story, I ended up really enjoying this. However, maybe this is because it's the sixteenth book in a series, but I found it really hard to connect with these characters. Most of the time the author spent was in retelling events that had happened before - multiple times within the same chapter. But other than that, this was a solid read, and one that makes me want to read the rest of the books in this series!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lalla

    This book is a fine addition to this series. Readers will continue to enjoy the historical settings and the members of court at this time who make appearances throughout the story. The plot involving Ursula's son and kidnappers who have a desire to control the political climate of this period are like some the current happenings in our world today. Definitely a tribute to woman power and to the critical thinking skills of a young person.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I whizzed through this ( 16th) book in the “Ursula Blanchard” series. Though it’s a relatively short novel, a lot of it is comprised of Ursula hand-wringing over a ( not very genuine, IMO) crisis of conscience over a period of weeks, while her young son Harry is in the hands of abductors. A very dramatic and life-altering event in her life, that took place in the fifteenth novel, disappointingly doesn’t merit a mention here.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    1581 has arrived and Ursula Blanchard is on a mission. To save her son she must kill Mary, Queen of Scots who is held at Sheffield Castle. Not really much of a mystery, and the story just didn't catch my imagination. A pity as I like reading historical mysteries set in this time period. A NetGalley Book

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    I grabbed this at random off of the shelf. I thought it would be more interesting than it actually was. Well written with some good cliff hangers, but the narrative was boring to read. I like Ursula's morals about murder. Hopefully other people will enjoy The Reluctant Assassin more than I did.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Grace

  13. 4 out of 5

    Susan

  14. 5 out of 5

    Linda Jensen

  15. 4 out of 5

    mary kay frebis

  16. 4 out of 5

    Terre

  17. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Farabee

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  19. 5 out of 5

    Louise Duckworth

  20. 4 out of 5

    Linda Keeler

  21. 5 out of 5

    Diane Bowden

  22. 5 out of 5

    Doris Vandruff

    Ursula Blanchard is half sister to the Queen. There are times when she is asked to help solve matters happening. One day her son Henry is kidnapped. She has been instructed to kill Mary the Queen locked in the tower. This is the only way to be able to get her son back. Ursula's priority is to rescue her son. But she has to pretend that she is going through with killing the Queen. She will discover who can be trusted. There are those close to her that are not as loyal as they portray. She just do Ursula Blanchard is half sister to the Queen. There are times when she is asked to help solve matters happening. One day her son Henry is kidnapped. She has been instructed to kill Mary the Queen locked in the tower. This is the only way to be able to get her son back. Ursula's priority is to rescue her son. But she has to pretend that she is going through with killing the Queen. She will discover who can be trusted. There are those close to her that are not as loyal as they portray. She just doesn't know who they are. Enjoyable read. Great detail. 5 Stars

  23. 4 out of 5

    MARIANNE

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ginger Pollard

    I've read several books by this author and she never disappoints! My favorite place to be is the often dangerous Tudor Court! Wonderful characters, some based on fact, some fictional. This is a series of books, but they stand alone wonderfully. One of my favorite authors! I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. Thank you, Netgalley! All opinions are my own.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Robin

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sheila

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tparker

  28. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Hammel

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mrs Penelope A Cottell

    I have not read this author before and did not realise that it was the latest book in a series about Queen Elizabeth 1 half sister Ursula Blanchard but this did not matter as it was a stand alone story. Ursula,s son has been kidnapped and the ransom is that she assassinates Mary Queen of Scott’s. Although Ursula has run many dangerous missions for the Tudor court this is one that she feels uncomfortable to achieve even though it would put her son in great danger. This story is fast paced and pulls I have not read this author before and did not realise that it was the latest book in a series about Queen Elizabeth 1 half sister Ursula Blanchard but this did not matter as it was a stand alone story. Ursula,s son has been kidnapped and the ransom is that she assassinates Mary Queen of Scott’s. Although Ursula has run many dangerous missions for the Tudor court this is one that she feels uncomfortable to achieve even though it would put her son in great danger. This story is fast paced and pulls the reader in from the first page until the very last. I will look out for this author again.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Danielle Croft

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