I enjoyed catching up with these characters again, they had stayed in my mind after the first novel in the series, in particular Lucy and Goodluck, and I was curious and excited to revisit their world and discover what adventures they would be involved in next. I was also gripped and intrigued by how the author portrayed Elizabeth during these turbulent times in her reign; her hopes and her health as she gets older, her ongoing feelings for Leicester, whose 'marriage was still a wound in her side', the threats on her life from those intent on removing her and installing Mary, Queen of Scots on the throne and the resulting doubts as to who in her circle she can really trust. It's always interesting to see how an author depicts people from history when creating fiction, and I was intrigued by Victoria Lamb's take on Shakespeare, although how he behaves here might not leave you quite so fond of him!
I liked how the narrative moved between the different threads of the tale, focusing on the main characters Lucy, Goodluck, Shakespeare and the Queen; this added tension and kept me turning the pages to find out how each strand developed.
It's an imaginative, entertaining and dramatic tale read on its own. Having said that, I'd recommend reading The Queen's Secret first ideally, so that you can follow through the stories of each character more fully. I liked the author's notes at the end separating the fact from the fiction.