Mary Shelton is Queen Elizabeth's young cousin and ward, but it treated like her child. Desiring a good match for her "Fawn", Elizabeth chooses one of her most powerful lords, the Earl of Oxford. But Mary knows he is no good and finds herself falling in love with the Catholic knight and widower, Sir John Skydemore. When they marry without Elizabeth's permission, the couple find themselves in danger.
This is one of several recent books about Elizabeth's wards marrying without her permission. It was epidemic. However, this one does show a softer side of Queen Elizabeth. She seems to genuinely care for her "Fawn", even almost seeing Robert Dudley as her surrogate father. I also like how the book compared the two couples, showing how Robert and Elizabeth fought. It was a pretty good book.