Fiction Book Reviews

Historical Fiction | The Lady of the Ravens | Joanna Hickson

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I’m delighted to share with you today my thoughts about The Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson.

Book cover for Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson

The Lady of the Ravens by Joanna Hickson is published by Harper Collins and is available to purchase in digital, hardcover and audiobook formats.

Two women, two very different destinies, drawn together in the shadow of the Tower of London:

Elizabeth of York, her life already tainted by dishonour and tragedy, now queen to the first Tudor king, Henry the VII.

Joan Vaux, servant of the court, straining against marriage and motherhood and privy to the deepest and darkest secrets of her queen. Like the ravens, Joan must use her eyes and her senses, as conspiracy whispers through the dark corridors of the Tower.

Through Joan’s eyes, The Lady of the Ravens inhabits the squalid streets of Tudor London, the imposing walls of its most fearsome fortress and the glamorous court of a kingdom in crisis.


I enjoy historical fiction that weaves around facts and even more so when the story features a woman from history who had once been important but is now mostly forgotten.  Joanna Hickson brings not only this tumultuous time in history to life but she makes Joan very relatable in this first story of the Queens of the Tower series.

Joan (baptised Giovanna) Vaux held key positions in the Tudor court – lady-in-waiting to Elizabeth of York, Lady Governess to Princesses Margaret and Mary and wife to Sir Richard Guildford.  She is 21 when we meet her.  Something flashes her back to when she was 8 which links in to the ravens.  As the title suggests, ravens are important!  I enjoyed these scenes and found the information fascinating.  I think my favourite has to be Sim’s demonstration, probably because of how emotionally involved I was!  Joan would be very impressed with how the ravens in the Tower are cared for now!

Amidst the turmoil of the Flemish pretender and the rebellions from Cornwall, Joan’s life and relationships at court unfold.  I was so absorbed in every detail that it felt as if I was living this life.  And it’s the little things that are fascinating too.  I never knew that one of the occupations ever existed …  Conflict comes from not only court intrigue but an unexpected source which kept me wondering how this would impact on the story.  Society’s expectations we may worry about and fear today are also things that affected Joan.  It was easy to identify with her as a lover, a mother, a friend and confidante and protector.

The Lady of the Ravens was a page turner for me.   Highly recommended.

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Joanna Hickson spent twenty five years presenting and producing News and Arts programmes for the BBC. Her first published book was a children’s historical novel Rebellion at Orford Castle but she has turned to adult fiction, concentrating on bringing fifteenth century English history and some of its fascinating principal characters to life.  She is married with a large family and gets inspiration from her Wiltshire farmhouse home, which dates back to her chosen period.  Twitter:  @joannahickson Facebook: joannahickson

I've been blogging about my interests at Jera's Jamboree for 9+ years. My love of reading, crocheting, being out in nature and positive psychology are all things that help me unwind from my role as an Inclusion Lead in a primary school.

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