Blood Between Queens - Barbara Kyle Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!3.5 out of 5With Blood Between Queens, the fifth book in her Tudor-era series centered on the fictional Thornleigh family, Barbara Kyle again shows she is no newcomer to the historical fiction genre. Her grasp on the history, on the characters and historical figures involved and on plotting are top notch and ably showcase a well-developed and thought-out novel. Though it is far from the first in the popular and long-running Thornleigh series, Blood Between Queens works well as a standalone novel;one that readers who have not read the first four can still easily pick up and immerse themselves in. A strong novel, with an invented but intelligent main character, this latest Thornleigh adventure ties in action, pirates, secret love affairs, family feuds, treason and rebellion all neatly into a detailed plot that never really lets up.Justine Thornleigh, née Grenville, is young, smart, secretive and conflicted young noblewoman with a secret past she fears being revealed. Caught between her adopted family and the father who abandoned her eight years before, her life winds up being a key element in a far more dangerous struggle than the deadly family feud that has entrenched her birth family and her adoptive one since before her birth and later illicit adoption. Between two strong-willed cousins, who both happen to be Queens, Justine finds herself with an expected sympathy for the plight of the thrice married and twice widowed Queen of Scots. At odds with her upbringing and family belief in the rightful rule of Queen Elizabeth, Justine's actions complicate more than just her own life, but the fate of England itself. Deftly handled, the maneuvering and manipulation of Justine from several sides keeps tension high and the outcome, even for those familiar with the history, interesting.Barbara Kyle is also adept at intermixing fact with fiction, period details with key plot elements. The mixing of fictional and real, both characters and events, adds a fresh element to a story that has been told dozens of times before. Her ability to create a vibrant world, in which her characters operate, provides a well-realized and described version of the Tudor court. It, and these characters, may be well-trod territory, but Kyle keeps it interesting with new developments and some slight twists on the mythos of the Virgin Queen. Under this author's pen, the conflicts of Justine to find the right path, of Elizabeth to do right by her fellow monarch without sacrificing her sovereignty, of Mary to be treated as she wishes, are universally well-written and fresh, despite the familiar ground.There are several side plotlines that help to propel the novel - there's the missing seafarer Adam Thornleigh, the murder of a friend of Justine's - but the main focus of the novel is on Justine, as she is caught between her past and her future, her Queen and the woman she feels an unanticipated kinship for, her birth father and the man who raised her. A fast, adventure-filled read, with Blood Between Queens, Barbara Kyle will not disappoint longtime fans of her Thornleigh series, and managed to create a new one. The first four are also fairly cheap for ebook, so this is one series I will continue, due to how much I enjoyed the latest offering.