I’m on a roll with brilliant books this week.
Lady Ela Dalvi knows the exact moment her life was forever changed—when her best friend, Poppy, betrayed her without qualm over a boy, the son of a duke. She was sent away in disgrace, her reputation ruined.
Nearly three years later, eighteen-year-old Ela is consumed with bitterness and a desire for . . . revenge. Her enemy is quickly joining the crème de la crème of high society while she withers away in the English countryside.
With an audacious plan to get even, Ela disguises herself as a mysterious heiress and infiltrates London’s elite. But when Ela reunites with the only boy she’s ever loved, she begins to question whether vengeance is still her greatest desire.
In this complicated game of real-life chess, Ela must choose her next move: Finally bring down the queen or capture the king’s heart?
Content Warning: loss of a parent, drug addiction
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As soon as I saw the comparison between Bridgerton and this book I knew I had to read it because I am enjoying the modern outlook that is injected into these Regency stories and I was hoping for some drama. Since this is a plot centred on revenge I was sure that there would be scandal and comeuppance, so I knew I was going to be hooked.
Queen Bee was actually so much better than I expected, yes there was scheming and flirtations and scandal, but it also went a bit deeper at points and Ela’s character evolution was superb. The book is told in the present in 1817 and from three years previously in 1814 and this works so well to tease out how Ela knows the people that she is targeting in the present, but also shows how far she has come.
I loved Ela’s machinations, everything she sets out to accomplish she does without being direct, and whilst she brings about situations that cause trouble for one particular character, she doesn’t really go down an outright nasty route which I appreciated. Also, my contempt for Poppy was palpable, I was so glad that she didn’t get any kind of redeeming feature because she didn’t deserve one but it made everything that happened feel that little bit sweeter.
There were a lot of interesting characters in this book Keston being one of them, the son of a duke torn between being his own person and his duty to his title, I liked seeing the more playful side in the younger version of him that turns into a charm that could turn any head. You could really feel the chemistry between him and Ela even though she was trying to fight it, and I very much enjoyed their banter especially when they both let down their guard a little. I loved Rosalin’s transformation into a much more confident version of herself and Zia was also a great character, I wish we had gotten to get to know them both even more.
Something that was unexpected but that I found fascinating was the author’s note at the end of the book, I don’t always read them but I’m glad I did in this case because I found out so much more about Regency England and it really showed how much the author had done to capture the spirit of the time even in a slightly more modern interpretation.
I loved getting totally engrossed in this book, full of drama and scandal and scheming but also about reclaiming your confidence in yourself and not letting the harmful actions of others take over, Queen Bee is a book I would highly recommend.
AMALIE HOWARD is a USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestselling novelist. Always Be My Duchess was one of Cosmopolitan’s 30 Best Romance Books of 2022 and The Beast of Beswick was one of Oprah Daily’s 24 Best Historical Romance Novels to Read. She is also the author of several award-winning young adult novels. A Caribbean-born AAPI writer, her books have been featured in The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly, and Seventeen Magazine. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found reading, being the president of her one-woman Harley Davidson motorcycle club, or power-napping. She lives in Colorado with her family.
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