The Godmother’s Secret: Coffee Pot Book Club Blog Tour.

“An extremely well-written book with depth and complexity to the main characters. The author says she wanted to write a book about family love and tolerance, and a woman’s loyalty and courage. She has done so. This is the best book I’ve read in ages!”

The Ricardian Bulletin, Richard III Society

“The authenticity and historical research displayed within this story is immense and exquisite. Ms. St. John is sure to be a newfound favorite for fans of not only this fractious time in English history, but of all historical fans who adore rich, immersive prose.”
Historical Fiction Company 2022 Book of the Year

“A very enjoyable read. The historical veracity is impeccable, and Elysabeth is a likeable, admirable character who faces interesting dilemmas with love and courage.”
Historical Novel Society

If you knew the fate of the Princes in the Tower, would you tell? Or forever keep the secret?

May 1483: The Tower of London. When King Edward IV dies and Lady Elysabeth Scrope delivers her young godson, Edward V, into the Tower of London to prepare for his coronation, she is engulfed in political turmoil. Within months, the prince and his brother have disappeared, Richard III is declared king, and Elysabeth’s sister Margaret Beaufort conspires with her son Henry Tudor to invade England and claim the throne.

Desperate to protect her godson, Elysabeth battles the intrigue, betrayal, and power of the last medieval court, defying her Yorkist husband and her Lancastrian sister under her godmother’s sacred oath to keep Prince Edward safe. Bound by blood and rent by honour, Elysabeth is torn between King Richard and Margaret Beaufort, knowing that if her loyalty is questioned, she is in peril of losing everything—including her life.

Were the princes murdered by their uncle, Richard III? Did Margaret Beaufort mastermind their disappearance to usher in the Tudor dynasty? Or did the young boys vanish for their own safety? Of anyone at the royal court, Elysabeth has the most to lose–and the most to gain–by keeping secret the fate of the Princes in the Tower.

Inspired by England’s most enduring historical mystery, Elizabeth St.John blends her family history with known facts and centuries of speculation to create an intriguing story about what happened to the Princes in the Tower.

Snippet 6:

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Summer 1483 | The Tower of London

At the wharf, we disembark with those who have permission to visit the Tower; some to serve in the bakehouses and kitchens, others arriving to work at the mint or the armory. I pull out the passes and grip them tightly. As we inch towards the Byward Gate, we follow behind a crowd of country women carrying baskets of berries and produce. Even in times of crisis, the Tower must still eat.

I dip into my purse, pull out a handful of coin. One is the newly minted angel with Ned’s likeness on it. “For luck,” I whisper to myself, “for luck.”

“Here.” I thrust the money at the woman standing next to me holding a panier of fragrant wild strawberries nesting in hay. “I’ll take your berries. For this.”

She gawps at me, and I know I am overpaying. But at what cost comes access?

“Give them to me,” I command. 

The woman shuts her mouth and hands me her basket. We are at the Byward Gate. I take Meg’s arm. 

“Your business?” The guard is taller than me by a foot, with shoulders as wide as the gate, it seems.

“We are taking a gift of berries to the princes,” I say, my throat dry. 

“From who?” The guard demands. “And where are your passes?”

“From their uncle, the Duke of Gloucester.” I thrust the papers at him, hold the basket close.

“They ain’t allowed visitors.”

“We are not visitors,” I snap back. “We are family.”

The guard snatches the paper, mouths each word carefully. “Godmother, eh?”

“Godmother,” I reply firmly.

He eyes us both. Meg smiles winningly. I grip the panier so tightly my knuckles turn white, and I have to loosen my fingers. If I don’t see Ned now, I don’t know when I will get this close to him again.

We are holding up the crowd behind us, and I am teetering in the yes-or-no balance of the guard’s thinking. 

Let. Me. Pass.

“Go on.”

We are through. We walk under the portcullis, and a bubble of glee rises in my chest and threatens to burst from my mouth in laughter. I swallow it back. I also remember another time I entered through this gate, parading on horseback with Harry and Ned as I triumphantly delivered my godson into the Tower to prepare for his coronation. Pride before a fall, I tell myself. Pride before a fall.

“This way,” I say to Meg. We trudge up the cobblestoned slope to the entry by the Garden Tower, and there are more guards, yet we are not stopped. If we were allowed through the Byward Gate, we must have permission to have come this far. It is an advantage to be a woman. For we are not questioned when we are serving such a menial purpose as bringing food to prisoners. Or perhaps there is no more need to guard a bastard king without prospects or throne. 

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Elizabeth St.John’s critically acclaimed historical fiction novels tell the stories of her ancestors: extraordinary women whose intriguing kinship with England’s kings and queens brings an intimately unique perspective to Medieval, Tudor, and Stuart times.

Inspired by family archives and residences from Lydiard Park to the Tower of London, Elizabeth spends much of her time exploring ancestral portraits, diaries, and lost gardens. And encountering the occasional ghost. But that’s another story.

Living between California, England, and the past, Elizabeth is the International Ambassador for The Friends of Lydiard Park, an English charity dedicated to conserving and enhancing this beautiful centuries-old country house and park. As a curator for The Lydiard Archives, she is constantly looking for an undiscovered treasure to inspire her next novel.

Elizabeth’s books include her trilogy, The Lydiard Chronicles, set in 17th Century England during the Civil War, and her newest release, The Godmother’s Secret, which explores the medieval mystery of the missing Princes in the Tower of London.

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