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The Stolen One

The Stolen One

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The Stolen One

ratings:
4/5 (15 ratings)
Length:
298 pages
4 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 30, 2009
ISBN:
9780061861611
Format:
Book

Description

No one wanted you. But I did.

Kat's true identity is a secret, even from her. All she has ever known are Grace and Anna and their small village. Kat wants more—more than hours spent embroidering finery for wealthy ladies and more than Christian, the gentle young farmer courting her.

But there are wolves outside, Grace warns. Waiting, with their eyes glowing in the dark . . . and Grace has given Kat safety and a home when no one else would.

Then a stranger appears in their cottage, bringing the mystery of Kat's birth with her. In one night, Kat's destiny finds her: She will leave. She will journey to London, and her skill with the needle will attract the notice of the magnificent Queen Elizabeth—and of the wolves of the court. She will discover what Grace would never tell her.

Everything will unravel.

Publisher:
Released:
Jun 30, 2009
ISBN:
9780061861611
Format:
Book

About the author

Suzanne Crowley is the author of two acclaimed novels for young readers, The Very Ordered Existence of Merilee Marvelous and The Stolen One. The author, who is also a miniaturist and dollhouse collector whose work has graced the covers of magazines worldwide, was born in a small town in Texas and lives in Southlake, Texas. suzaannecrowley.com    twitter:  suzannecrowley_writes Instagram:  @suzannecrowleyofficial facebook - suzannecrowley-author goodreads - Suzanne Crowley bookbub - Suzanne Crowley


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The Stolen One - Suzanne Crowley

her.

CHAPTER 1

The wolf is sitting on his haunches under our ancient chestnut tree, his eyes boring straight through me. Grace Bab always said he would come to Blackchurch Cottage, and I never believed her.

I never knew my mother, the mother that birthed me. Nor my father, for that matter. And it’s by God’s good sense, Grace says, I never knew him, for he was the greatest scoundrel the world has yet seen. Still, though, I inherited his high spirit, and my mother’s red hair, red as the good Queen Elizabeth’s, and if Grace didn’t lock the door at night, she fears I’d wander off in the darkness as I did as a child. Wolf’s bait, she calls it, my hair.

Grace has always feared the wolves of Humblebee Wood. They howled in the night like ghosts, making mischief under the cover of darkness. When a wolf appears at Blackchurch Cottage, we must prepare the winding sheets, for a death is near. Grace has always been full of dire predictions and tales of omens, loose of her senses some say.

But it was Anna, not Grace, who first sensed something was wrong. Anna who knew when a storm was to come hours before it actually arrived, or the exact hour a babe in the village was to be born, and Grace would appear before ever being summoned, another sign, the villagers said, of the evil doings of Blackchurch Cottage.

Our morning had started out as usual—a breakfast of pottage and crusty bread, then Grace and I washed our clothes in the creek, where I liked to run my fingers through the river stones pretending they were rich jewels, and then straight to our needlework—our livelihood. Grace left the door open, as it was an unusually cool day for the end of August, and the sweet smell of druid’s honeysuckle from nearby Cleeve Hill came to us on a light breeze.

God’s me, oh how I wanted to jump up and run. Although I love the needle (I’m told it’s in my blood, from my mother), I had a hard time sitting still. When I was a child, Grace had to tie me to a baby minder, for fear I’d fall into the fire. And even now she still threatened to tie me to my chair, for it’s my stitches and unusual designs that kept us alive. The most beautiful she has ever seen, and the merchant who Grace brought them to on market days at Stow-on-the-Wold agreed. He gave us measurements for customers in London, the rich and wealthy, and who knows, maybe a lofty lord or two.

We sat in our keeping room, which was where we spent our lives, stitching near the fire. I was working on a lady’s cloak of sky blue satin, tufted with silver spangles. Along the dark blue collar I’d stitched twining leaves, gillyflowers, and hummingbirds in gold and black. I ran my fingers tenderly over the creamy, soft fabric. I loved my embroidery, aye, I did. And I mourned my creations when they went off into the world. What I would do to own such a garment instead of my one dull-as-day woolen kirtle! But Grace made sure we didn’t linger over our finished pieces. They went straight to the wooden chest at the end of our bed. At least till it was market time again, and Grace would leave us for a few days and come back with a pocketful of coins and a not-often-seen serene smile upon her somber face.

But I knew where she kept the key. There are no secrets in a house of girls, Grace Bab said, although she was quite good at it herself. Sometimes when Grace went to the village, I’d wear the finery around the house and pretend I was a great lady, strumming the small prized lute Grace kept on a peg near the door, an elegant remnant from her London days that we were never allowed to touch. Anna would watch with worried eyes, fearful I’d be caught. She was too nervous to join in. I was always the naughty one—always.

I smell wolf’s juniper, Grace said suddenly, looking up from her needle. Do you smell it? She spoke of a rare, wild weed that was said to guard a wolf’s den. A weed she sometimes used to stop the bleeding when a babe came too early.

I could only smell the honeysuckle, which still lingered in the air, sweet and beckoning. Grace looked around, inhaling a bit more, like a rat in the larder. Then she shook her head and mumbled that she had imagined it.

I glanced at my sister Anna, who was twining the thread. She had missed the exchange. Sweet Anna—Deaf Anna, she’s known in the village, for Anna is nearly deaf and has been since she was born. Grace taught her to speak, only to you it might sound like a pond frog’s croak. Grace and I knew her speech very well—every inflection, every strain for the right pronunciation. No one else did, though. She was a mute to all others, for it was only us she trusted. She hardly ever left the cottage. She was quite content to never leave, you see. She said our valley was the last place God made and it was here she would die, while I plotted escapes of every kind each little minute of the day.

Oh, but she’s beautiful, Anna, so very beautiful, except for her ears, which she hides under her glorious yellow-golden hair, hair she inherited from Grace, whose own hair is as white as a Dunn’s Hill ghost now. Happened overnight, Grace claims. God took it from me for saving them. My cousin Christian and Uncle Godfrey from the plague, she means. Together Anna and I were known as the vexed twins, meaning we were to be pitied—me with my hair and Anna with her crippled ears. It was often said that neither of us, Anna and I, had a good future in hand, that an unlucky star shone upon us. But I always said fa, the future was ours for taking—I’d seize it for the both of us. Someday I’d leave this place, I knew it deep down in my soul. I’d leave.

Suddenly Anna got up and walked to the door, her eyes wide and wild. Her back stiffened strangely. When I saw the pale hair on her neck rise, I jumped up and joined her, my hand on her shoulder. At first I did not see him, as one does not see something that cannot be. I blinked. Yes, but he was there. A wolf sitting under our chestnut tree, strong limbed and fierce—a ghost in daylight. When a wolf appears at Blackchurch Cottage, we must prepare the winding sheets, for a death is near.

We seemed to lock eyes for a moment, the wolf and I, for we had known each other before, I think, and then he turned and trotted away. I watched him run along the hawthorn hedgerows that quilt the hills beyond our tiny village.

What is it? Grace called from behind us.

I gripped Anna’s shoulder and tilted her face to me. Just a little golden bird, I lied. We’d never hear the end of it, if she knew. And she’d tired so easily of late, her nerves raw. Must have come all the way from London. Anna dropped the black thread she still held, and it rolled across the floor. I slipped my arm around Anna and pulled her to me. She was shaking.

Come away from the doorway, girls, Grace said quietly as she continued to stitch. I slowly turned my head back to her as she muttered, Golden birds foretell an omen.

I tilted my head for Anna to sit back down, which she did. Did not Kat’s mother have a golden bird in a gilded cage, Mama? Anna said, her voice cracking more than usual. I smiled at her, thanking her for continuing the lie. I quickly turned to Grace, hoping beyond hope that she would answer.

But Grace gently raised her hand, admonishing Anna to hush, as she always did when my mother was mentioned. Come away from the door, Kat, she said quietly. She never looked up from her needle. She needn’t have. She knew what lay beneath my beating heart. And that’s why she worried about me so. And for a brief, fleeting moment, I thought I smelled wolf’s juniper too; it stung my nose like fire smoke before floating away from our cottage. I narrowed my eyes and looked out at the hills, but the wolf was gone.

Come back to your work, Wren, Grace murmured behind me. Grace called Anna this in her rare affectionate moments. And you too, Kat. Quit dawdling in the doorway.

Work, work, work, I mimicked, rolling my eyes as I stepped back from the threshold. Morning, day, and night—can we never be free of it?

Sit down, Kat, she said as she drew up another stitch and plunged the needle back down in her cloth. No more prattle from you.

I plopped back down on my stool and picked up the cloak and my needle. I looked out the window again and then narrowed my eyes at Grace. Why had our whole lives been tainted with fear and admonitions? And mysteries? Why should she always be so full of worry and short of temper like a stonemason hag? Still, though, I knew she loved me dearly. When she was close to falling asleep at night in her chair by the fire (I hardly ever saw her abed, so afraid of falling asleep was she), I’d try and thief answers from her.

Where do I come from? Why me? I’d asked her one cold winter night.

I’d do anything for you, my little Kat, she’d answered, her eyes fluttering shut. No one wanted you. But I did.

When I was a child, Grace hid my hair under a child’s coif, hoping by taming it, she’d tame me. Spirit she called me, for I was like the wild heather on Woeful Downs. I was only allowed to remove the linen when bathing at the creek. One morning someone saw my hair released from its binding, and soon it was known in the village that I had the hair of a she-demon. Who shall have you, girl? Grace had proclaimed then.

And even now, I must hide it under an ugly matron’s coif, although I am sixteen years and it is quite proper for a girl to wear her hair down. How else is the maid to catch a husband if he cannot see what he is to get, Frances Pea, who owns the Pea & Cock, asks when we come to town. And with that tongue of hers?

I am known for my outspokenness, and privately Grace sometimes pops my mouth when I prattle too long or say something too sharp. But Grace is also well served in talking out of both sides of her mouth. To Frances Pea, who is hard as a crumpet stone, and who was thrown by her first husband in Old Simon’s duck pond for her scolding and unquiet ways, she responds, Yes, perhaps she will, for a sweet maid who possesses both wit and sense will surprise her husband with daily miracles.

Which is very funny, for neither is the God’s truth (I have the sense of Perceval’s mare, Grace says, and am prone to rash impulses like my mother), and even more, there is no hope of finding a husband here in Winchcombe except for old Mr. Dar, who is nigh near forty and poxed, and the Widower Beachum, who has eight stout girls and only one cow amongst them.

There is Christian. Yes indeed, there is always Christian Dawe. Grace has been singing his high praises from noon to nightfall of late. But I have to laugh, for he is barely a boy, really, and like a brother to me. Ha! And when I remind Grace of her admonition to never buy a horse with a curly mane—for you see, Christian is possessed of the most unruly mess of locks—Grace tells me to shush.

But Grace says I will someday soon have to take a husband, before I lose the sweet blossom of youth that disguises one’s imperfections. And it must be someone who can bear me and my meager dowry, and take Anna, too—and for that we can’t be choosy. A woman must have a husband; this is her all-abiding goal in life—a husband good or bad. Without a husband, a woman is left to the mercies of this cruel world. Such is a poor woman’s lot, and such was mine. I didn’t like to think of husbands. And I would not, no matter how much Grace harangued me. I’d dreamed only of what lay beyond our lovely vale, past Postlip Hill, past Nutmeg Farm to the dusty roads that lead to better things.

But it consumed her, Grace, this hope of finding us settled. For some reason she thought God would take her soon, even though she was not of an age to expect it and was always of a strong constitution, just tired of life now, that’s all. She’d even escaped the sweating sickness the year before, when it hit nearby Corndean and Grace was called upon to help at Nutmeg Farm. Poor Christian’s mother, Agnes Dawe, was taken to the lord on the day of All Souls, only a few hours after falling sick.

Uncle Godfrey and Christian lay near death too, but God spared them, through Grace’s magical hands.

Grace did not catch their sickness, which was as virulent as a great flood. Nor did she bring it home to us. Grace is skilled of the hands, you see. Both of needle and healing. It’s one of my few early memories of her, those long, tender hands stroking my wolf’s bait hair at night and telling me all would be well as long as I stayed with her. They were her crowning glory, those hands.

Something troubled Grace. I’d spot it in her eyes, a devil worry, a worry of the heart. Once as we sat by the hearth fire, she said of a sudden, They will take my hands. Everyone knew of the old tale of the witch Comfort Woodhouse from Wolfhames Hill, whose hands were taken from her newly sown grave. Years later a one-eyed shepherd plucked a bony fingertip from the River Severn.

But Grace would not say what troubled her or why she might meet an early grave. She told me once when I was very young—too young to know—that she would never lie to me, but she could not tell me the truth. Not yet. Someday. She would know when. Was someday soon, I wondered? What secrets did she keep from me?

We had another visitor that morning. Christian came at noon with a bundle of bane pears, smiling at me as he laid the basket on the end of our trestle table. It was our signal, you see, to meet later at the barrow of Belas Knap. If he had placed the pears in the middle, we would meet at the ruins of Puck’s Well. I looked up slyly at him as I worked on a pair of gloves fit for royalty—of soft green kid, with pansies and swans in gold, and glass pearls ruched along the ruffled edge. I tried one on and admired its beauty, then pulled it off before Grace could see.

Christian said hello to her, and she nodded back from the other end of our keeping room. She was making us a crusty tartlet. Those will do nicely, she said, nodding at his bundle. Even though we seemed to eat pears noon and night, I never tired of them, so delicious were they. Uncle Godfrey had expanded the pear grove, and the pears always sold well at market. According to Grace, Christian was very lucky that he would someday inherit such a good farm. And a year or two before, an old shepherd had left Christian seven little lambs, which he adored and coddled over day and night. And this showed he was an enterprising young man, an additional feather in his cap. But I was irritated by those flea-bitten beasts, who loved to nip at my bottom whenever I visited.

I picked up my needle again. Anna, suddenly clumsy, dropped her spool and it rolled across Christian’s foot. He leaned down and handed it back to her, chivalrously, like a knight giving a wildflower to a maiden. Anna, her face aflame, fled from the cottage.

Why, what’s wrong with her? I asked, taking the spool from Christian’s outstretched hand as I watched Anna run across the meadow. I laughed. Something indeed is in the air.

Grace frowned at me. And how find you your father today, Christian?

His back is laying him low, Aunt, from the picking, he said, winking at me, his head turned from Grace. Four o’clock, he was telling me. He wants to know if you can come later, he continued.

Of course, Grace said. I’ll come soon. He’ll be right and ready for some ale at the revel tonight.

Everyone looked forward to the revel, where there was much merriment and jollity, a little taste of heaven, you see.

CHAPTER 2

Nobody comes out to Belas Knap, which means beautiful hill, anymore since old mumblecrust Bella Wilde told everyone she had seen a row of hooded, wailing monks walking across its summit at midnight. Crying for ole King Henry they were, she said, referring to the villain who’d pulled down nearby Hailles Abbey. It’s actually the ancients, the old ones, who are buried in the barrow of Belas Knap, and why would they have any reason to bother anyone now?

The talk of fairy folk and little beasties that nip at your feet and pull you underneath with the bones of old is not enough to deter me. This is my favorite place in the whole world. I come here as often as I can, and sketch things from nature—the centers of wildflowers, the veins on leaves, the markings of a leopard moth, or the feathers of a golden-crested wren. Later my sketches would find their way into my designs, which Anna would carefully prick onto the fabric with a needle and transferring powder.

After Grace left for Uncle Godfrey’s, leaving strict instructions for completing the velvet cloak, I raced through Humblebee Wood, throwing off my cap and letting my hair flow free in the wind. Anna had come back from the meadow after Christian left, pouting, but would not tell me what troubled her when I prodded. She had simply plopped down on our bed to take her daily nap. Unlike Grace, who is afraid to sleep, Anna embraces it like a newborn babe, succumbing to a blissful world where she has no pain. For sometimes her ears plague her mercilessly, a low, dull pain that brings with it strange noises that echo in her head.

Finally I reached the grasslands that converge with the huge, low hill—the barrow. Christian was not yet there, so I climbed the mound and sat in my favorite spot to wait. I had an unobstructed view of Sudeley Castle, the sun making it glow like the golden palace in a tale of King Arthur, the spires and trestles pointing toward the sky. It’s here that Grace would find me as a child sitting, watching, still as a ghost. But I have no memories of those night wanderings. Very few memories, really, of my very early years.

A real queen lived at Sudeley before I was born and before Grace tried her luck at a better life in London—Queen Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII, who was smart enough to outlive him. After he died, she married her true love, a handsome lord. But she died in childbirth, and her baby not long after. Poorly served, she was, they say in the village. If her ladies had taken better care of Queen Katherine, perhaps she wouldn’t have died. If you had been there, I said to Grace one time, as I watched her prepare a healing potion, perhaps she would have lived. And Grace had slapped me, and for the entire night I smelled jasmine on my cheek, and wondered why I provoked her so. Bumble bug, Grace sometimes called me, referring to the bedbugs that bite in the night just because they can.

Why do you always watch it?

I startled. It was Christian. He plopped down next to me and rested his head in my lap. I continued to stare.

I don’t know, I said. It calls to me, I suppose.

He laughed. You’re a dreamer. He tried to tickle my neck with a blade of grass and I ignored him.

And why can’t I dream of better things? Why must we be poor fools with miserable lives?

You best be content with what you have, he said, frowning. It did not sound like him.

God’s me, what have they said now? I asked, looking down into his honey brown eyes.

He closed them a moment, sighing. Why do you have to curse? And always talk so? Father Bigg says you will have to do penance for twenty-score years if you don’t learn to control your tongue.

I don’t care a farthing for what Father Bigg says. Christian winced. And since when do you listen to that beetle brain? I do my own penance. I had plenty of time to say my Hail Marys while I stitched the hours away. Stitching and stitching, that’s all I seemed to do, yet I loved it with all my soul. Grace said that sometimes the things we love the most were our greatest crosses to bear.

How could you now, Christian continued, when Grace has not taken you and Anna to mass in over a year? Why, I think it’s been since my mother died.

You should talk. You are always with your sweet little lambs now, aren’t you?

When I meet my maker, I’ll wear a tuft of wool on my shirt, the shepherd’s mark, and I’ll be forgiven. What shall you wear? And then he blushed deep, and I knew it was because Grace used to say I had so little sense of decorum, I’d probably forget my own clothes when I met my maker.

Grace says we have our own church in our cottage. I laughed. Our stone cottage was built by a monk who had been thrown out of his order for a sin no one now remembers. We spent Sundays learning to read from the Bible, Grace having been taught when she was young by her gentle-born mother, Jane. Jane had defied her parents and married for love.

Christian rolled his eyes and sat up, turning away from me. Some say Grace is a witch and that she played with the devil when she was gone. Before Anna and I were born, Grace had disappeared from Winchcombe. Several years later she returned, widowed apparently, with a young one set on each hip and an old, toothless milch cow following her. Hedge-born, they whisper behind our backs, meaning we are

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What people think about The Stolen One

4.1
15 ratings / 12 Reviews
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  • (3/5)
    Always a dependable genre -- feisty and independent orphan girl from the country finds herself as a lady-in-waiting to one of the Tudors, in this case, Elizabeth. In addition to being fascinated by life at court, especially the fashions and the intrigue, Kat is also trying to find answers about her mysterious past. That part is based on Thomas Seymour and Catherine Parr.This is one of those extremely solid three star books. It was an enjoyable read while it was happening, but after the fact I have some quibbles. Several of the plot points fizzle out, and I was looking forward to seeing how they would be resolved (I really felt that this might have been better served with a more traditional adult historical fiction treatment, so we could get long, rambling, and gratifying wrap-ups for all the minor characters). The big reveal for the man with the dramatic dark secret was a "wait, what? that's the secret? it's not even a mystery, let alone satisfying." moment. Not a quibble, but more of an amuse-bouche, was the parade of charming, romantic and beautiful men who throw themselves at Kat, only to be quickly dispatched in various ways all in a rush at the end to free her up for True Love.Grade: B-Recommended: to fans of YA Tudor court storiesI should also note that I somehow got the impression from reviews that this book was in the style that takes this genre one better -- faerie Tudor court stories -- however, there are just a few ethereal moments, but it's not like Perilous Gard or anything like that. It's always funny when a misunderstanding like that happens, because I end up waiting for it for almost the entire book
  • (4/5)
    Set in the early years of Elizabeth's reign, The Stolen One is the story of a young girl - Kat (or Katherine) Bab. She had grown up in a small village just under the looming Sudeley castle, earning money with her needle and dreaming of her real parents who she had never met.When Grace that had been a mother for Kat dies, Kat decides that she had had enough from the small village and her boring life and that she will go to London, dragging her sister with her (Grace's daughter - who as it turns out has a few secrets on her own). But when they reach London, it is not the dream city they always thought it to be - London is ugly and dirty and dangerous. But this is also the city where the two girls find some unexpected friends and Kat manages to get invited to the court of the queen - and to the Wardrobe and the people behind it. And the dream for both girls begin... except is it really a dream?The parts of the book in Elizabeth's court are deliciously written and even if there are enough fiction elements in it, it sounds almost authentic. As does the portrayal of the people in that court. One of the strongest part of the book is that it plays on one of the historical mysteries of the period - it never contradicts any of the historical facts (except Kat's appearance in the court but that's needed for the story) -- it just builds a story that can easily fill one of the cracks of history.A few issue with the book: 1. The end - not the way the story ended but the way the author decided to confirm the whole heritage story. By the time Mrs Eglionby showed up, everything was clear; a one page letter from her would have been much better way to finish that part of the story (if the author really wanted it there - it was unneeded...) -- instead it dragged through what amounted to a summary of half of one of the story-lines in the book. On the other hand the actual end of Kat's story is amusing (and borderline hilarious at some parts if you consider everything that happened before)2. Rafael's explanations the last time he talked with Kat - something just does not add up if you consider when Elizabeth had become a queen, his own answer to his mother about the reason not to return earlier and when he had left home. My first thought was "It is the wrong queen, this had happened under Mary, not Elizabeth". So why he is back is never answered... but it is not that important anyway3. Every time when Kat was faced with a hard decision or needed to actually live with the consequences of her own actions, someone either died or she got a letter or something like that happened that pretty much forced her hand and made her decision for her. Even the last one was forced by what happened to her.A side note: If you do the math and know enough about the Tudors, you should be able to decipher within the first few pages who the father of Kat most likely is. It does not matter for the understanding of the novel though.It's an enjoyable novel -- not too serious (but you cannot expect that from an young adult novel) but at the same time managing to tell a coherent and quite lively story. 4 stars for the novel and honestly if the author had decided to handle the while confirmation part at the end differently, it would have added half a star.
  • (4/5)
    I was extremely nervous to read this. I get a bit squeamish about historical fiction, and I usually try to avoid it because I always lose interest so quickly. I’m very pleased to say that was definitely not the case with The Stolen One.It was kind of hard to get a grip on it at first, simply because the dialogue and slang fits so perfectly with that era. But once you get used to it, deciphering it was really easy and only added to how genuine this story was.Suzanne Crowley wrote this story very beautifully, and she created characters who do nothing but constantly pull you in. Kat, the bold and outspoken lead character, was very enjoyable to read. She went against normalcy in this book, and those are my favorite kinds of characters. I was also entertained by the sheer scandal that surrounded Queen Elizabeth and her court, Kat included. Any preconceived notion I had about this being even the slightest bit boring went right out the window.I wish I could elaborate, but in the end, everything ties together and will make you gasp really loudly. I read the ending in a car and my poor mother nearly drove off of the road because of my reaction. There’s so much to talk about wit these characters, but I know I’d end up spoiling it, so take my word for it!If you’re iffy about novels like this, I recommend taking this one off of that list and picking it up! It was so entertaining and enthralling, you’ll have a hard time putting it down!
  • (4/5)
    The Stolen One was one of the best young adult historical novels I've read in a long time The main character. Katherine is a wonderfully developed character - she seemed so real I could almost feel her thoughts and emotions as I was immeshed in her worlds at court as well as on the farm, sometimes I would even become frustrated at her actions! The author did a wonderful job at bringing to life the setting of Elizabethan England, and the very different ways of life in the countryside, the city, and at court. Although this book is written for teen readers, I think adults who love historical fiction will enjoy it is as well - it is a wonderful blend of history, romance, and the classic story of a young woman's search for her identity and where she belongs in the world
  • (5/5)
    It is sixteenth-century England. Henry and his tyrannical ways have been disposed of, and a new queen, Elizabeth, sits on the throne. Meanwhile, in the countryside, a redheaded teenage girl named Kat Bab dreams of life beyond her simple country lifestyle. When her adoptive mother, Grace, dies, Kat considers it her opportunity to go to London and discover the identities of her biological parents.Along with her half-deaf sister, Anna, Kat enters the queen’s court and soon becomes Elizabeth’s favorite. Jealous rumors arise, whispers that say that Kat is actually Elizabeth’s daughter. Kat, on the other hand, thinks that she was born for life in the court. Surrounded by riches and attractive men vying for her attention, however, Kat can’t help but occasionally think of the young farmer boy at home who is perhaps still waiting for her.Will Kat learn the truth about her history, and how will she define her own future? I haven’t read such a delightful historical fiction read since probably Libba Bray’s Gemma Doyle trilogy. The sixteenth-century England that Suzanne Crowley writes is colorful, alluring (like how Kat is often described by others), and not at all stilted. It’s easy to get lost in either the rowdy, rudimentary backcountry or the deceptive yet attractive London court.I enjoyed how the chapters with Kat’s first-person narration were divided by snippets of Grace’s old diary entries. This added even more mystery and urgency to Kat’s quest, as we readers begin to piece together what Kat herself does not yet know.Above all, Kat’s character really made THE STOLEN ONE come alive for me. She works for me as the protagonist because of the subtle yet completely justified way she changes from countryside to courtside. She is not afraid to speak her mind, which makes for interesting conversations between headstrong or ambitious characters. I found her attractive yet normal, aspiring yet innocent.I couldn’t get as much into the romance(s) of the story, however, partially because most of the tête-à-têtes occurred almost randomly and inexplicably. It’s okay when the main character attracts attention because of her allure; when the attraction seems ambitious and is left unexplained, however, I get worried. I also have mixed feelings about the ending of this book. Perhaps, after reading so much about Kat speaking her mind and not simply going along with what everyone expects of her, I was disappointed in her decision.Even so, THE STOLEN ONE is a strong book with a marvelous protagonist. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction with a splash of magic and romance should read this book: it’s made for you.
  • (4/5)
    I love historical fiction, and The Stolen One did not disappoint. Kat was a lively and engaging character was was very likable, despite being far from perfect. Her search for the truth about her mother was fascinating, and though the mystery was easy to figure out from the diary entries that prefaced each chapter, I still loved reading as Kat put it together piece by piece for herself. This book is pretty light on the romance- though it does have a sweet ending- rather it is a glimpse into the life of those who revolve around a queen, and all the uncertainties that came with it. The beginning moves a bit slowly, but once the setting is moved to London, The Stolen One becomes impossible to put down. It would be a great book for teens interested in this time period, but I know several adults who would love it just as much.
  • (4/5)
    I didn't read up on this at all before my copy came from the Library, I saw it was getting good reviews but I went to start it I realized I had no idea what it was about, with a cover and title like that I was thinking I might have grabbed me a Fairy Changeling story, but what I had was more of a true changeling story (a what if this happened in history...) which is my favorite kind of historical fiction, the type that takes a historical mystery (in this case, what did happen to Mary, infant child of the late queen Katherine Parr) and reimagines history to fit with the author's what if... I'm between marking this as 4 or 5 stars, it wasn't my favorite book in the world and the 5 stars is usually reserved for that, but the quality of characterization and historical details in this book were amazing. It was a bright, almost dizzying read when Kat gets to court and she has to try and decide who people really are under their court faces. The romance in the story was both sweet and dangerous, with court members sneaking off with one another (or with kitchen boys) right and left. Kat's own romances seemed to be the part that fell short, people were there and then suddenly she was kissing them, and it didn't seem to be too much about emotion with her, more like she was trying the court life, and the dangerous court maiden out for size, not sure if she really wanted to commit to the role...which actually fits in with Kat's character, and her major conflict well, but didn't help make that part of the story as juicy as it could have been.I seriously want a pear now
  • (3/5)
    I actually really liked this book, but I'm not sure I know why so my review is kind of not very articulate. In the beginning I was afraid it would be full of back stabbing and cruelty but while it is a sad story in many ways it isn't all because of the things people do to each other, a lot of it is just brought on by situations and people's stations in life.

    Kat has no idea who she is. All she knows is that Grace has raised her along with her own daughter Anna. When Grace dies Kat leaves everything behind and goes to London to try and find out her past. It's an interesting take on what could have happened to Katherine Parr's daughter.

    The author beautifully captures just how both the low born and the high born have very little say in their lives. It's interesting to see how Kat's life, which changes when she becomes one of Elizabeth's ladies in waiting, doesn't really chane at all in certain ways. She still has no say in who she marries, she still must do as she is told.

    I really wish we had found out what Rafael came home for and whether he really wanted Kat or not, or whether his desires were more sinister then that.

    The discriptions of clothing are gorgeous and I can imagine the beautiful embroidery that Kat does.
  • (4/5)
    The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley tells the story of a young girl in sixteenth century England. Adopted as a small child, Katherine’s mother always tells her “No one wanted you. But I did.” After a series of tragic events befall her, Katherine takes her stepsister and heads to London to find out where she came from. As she attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding her birth she comes across secrets that she could never have imagined. Based on both legend and fact Crowley has created a story full of mystery and intrigue. Through the progression of the story and by mixing in sections from Katherine’s mother’s diary the author gives the reader pieces to the puzzle she has created. The Stolen One is both interesting and entertaining as Crowley mixes details of life in 16th century England with her version of the legends told from a young girl’s perspective.
  • (3/5)
    The Stolen One was intended to be a cure for my Tudor England Historical Fiction withdrawal, one of my favorite genres (started by Carlyn Meyers Young Royals series in middle school), but it disappointed me. I had expected more drama, more intrigue, more romance, more than there was in this book. The first third is devoted to her life in the country with Grace, the woman who's always taken care of her, and Anna, who's deaf but like a sister. I found that to be boring.The rest is about her time in Queen Elizabeth's court, where she tries to unravel the mystery of her birth and who she really is. It was dramatic and intriguing, but I wanted more. There were quite a few instances where characters were introduced and then...nothing. They didn't have a role, or if they did it was small. Or she would build something up and then nothing would come of it. It was frustrating.I didn't like Kat much either. I guess it's because she is so much different from myself. Instead of staying in her nice little country house she runs away to London and brings poor Anna with her, and when she's there she doesn't do what Grace told her, she does whatever she likes. It frustrated me, the way she wouldn't listen. The historical facts in this novel were very interesting though. She must have done quite a bit of research to get the gown's and the hair and the jewelry correct.It wasn't a terrible book, just not as good as I expected.
  • (5/5)
    Title: The Stolen One Author: Suzanne Crowley Publisher: Harper Teen Number Of Pages: 412 Publication Date: June 30th, 2009Synopsis from back of book: No one wanted you. But I did.When her adoptive mother dies, Katherine Bab takes the chance she has been waiting for her whole life: she flees from her country village to London, to uncover the secret of who she really is. Before long, Kat has become the favorite of Queen Elizabeth herself, and rumors are swirling—could fiery-haired Kat be the secret daughter of the Virgin Queen? Kat’s got plenty of other things to figure put, as well…such as how to choose between her childhood love and the two handsome men at court vying for her affections.This sensual novel drips with intrigue, period detail, and drama, and it will resonate with anyone who has ever longed to find his or her place in the world.Review: Honestly I didn’t know what to expect from The Stolen One. I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it or not. When I started reading it, it was interesting and different. As it progressed I was shocked at how fantastic it was. At the end of this great novel, I was so sad that it ended and didn’t want it to end. I loved all the characters, and thought they all fit into the story well. The plot was also great, the whole idea worked very well. I cannot stress enough how much I enjoyed this.Even for people who don’t usually like historical fiction, I would definitely recommend you check this out. Again, I cannot express how deeply I enjoyed this book. Overall, I highly recommend this book. (To anyone!)I recommend this book if you like romance, historical fiction, and young adult novels.
  • (4/5)
    (from my goodreads review):This book was a bit slow at first, but was well worth it. The characters, set in England at the English Court (during the reign of Elizabeth I) were well evolved, and believable. The author had great skill to immerse me in the smells, sights, and sounds of 16th century England. You can imagine yourself in Katherine's shoes, and the agonising choices she has to make, and that universal need to know who and what you are, that wanting to belong. Reminiscent of Neal Stephenson, and his Baroque Cycle(by immersing the fate of the common people with those of history), Ms. Crowley has shown us the human side of Queen Elizabeth I(though she is but a somewhat minor character, though her influence on Katherine is major), and her court, and even the life of the common person, and to see that they were once alive, with love and dreams, and passions. That Elizabeth I was more than those cold lifeless form that is portrayed in so many portraits, and gives a picture, vivid and vibrant to those whose lives are not often recorded in the dusty pages of history. If you like the show"The Tudors"(now on BBC America) and/or books by Mary Stewart, you will love this book.