When Lady Katherine's father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn't the only secret he's been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father's mission, and to take it one step further--kill the queen herself.
Katherine's opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare's newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn't know is that the play is not just a play--it's a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.
The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play's leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on.
I once took a class entirely on Shakespeare’s work so I was excited to dive into this book where we would see him putting on one of his plays. I also really like historical settings in books and this was a time period with a focus on writing that I have never read before.
The book starts off in an exciting way with a girl named Katherine having to watch as her father is murdered for practicing a religion that is against the law. I really liked seeing how she handled this and what she choose to do because of it. I also liked the flip side of the novel where we see things from the perspective of Toby, who works/passes secrets on to the crown. It was set up to be this great espionage/assassin battle between the girl who wants to kill the Queen and the boy charged with protecting her.
After the exciting beginning I think this book really fell apart. The intrigue sort of slowly went away as the characters were just constantly looking for one another without realizing that the other worked for the enemy. There was a little romance but it seemed pretty awful when Toby realizes something about Katherine and I just did not feel like Toby would have been the type of person to fall for a girl in the first place. We are led to believe he is only gay and that is not really the way the story went. It felt confusing and not really important to the story.
Overall, the story was pretty bland. This is not a tale of love, life, assassination and death. This is a story about a far fetched play being put on and religious rights. I was quite let down because it started off so well and while I did like Katherine and Toby I just wasn’t in love with them or their story or the plot or Shakespeare in this book or… well you get the point.