The Queen's Almoner by Tonya Ulynn Brown
Book Review - Blog Tour

Publication Date: June 30, 2020
Publisher: Late November Literary
Print Length: 320 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction


Sometimes loyalty to the queen comes at a cost.

Thomas Broune is a Reformer and childhood friend of the young queen, Mary Stuart. When Mary embarks on a new life in her estranged homeland of Scotland, Thomas is there to greet her and offer his renewed friendship. But the long-time friends grow closer, and Thomas realizes his innocent friendship has grown into something more. Yet he is a man of the cloth. Mary is the queen of the Scots. Both of them have obligations of an overwhelming magnitude: he to his conscience and she to her throne. 

When he must choose between loyalty to his queen or his quiet life away from her court, he finds that the choice comes at a high price. Driven by a sense of obligation to protect those he loves, and crippled by his inability to do so, Thomas must come to terms with the choices he has made and find a peace that will finally lay his failures to rest.

My Thoughts

When eighteen year old Mary returns to Scotland to claim her throne, Thomas Broune, her childhood playmate and self-proclaimed protector, is there on the beach to greet her. Throughout her absence from Scotland the two have corresponded regularly, but are unprepared for the depth of feeling they still share after more than ten years apart. Although Mary has grown into an elegant young woman and Thomas, at twenty-four, is a well-respected Protestant clergyman, their childhood affinity still endures.

As Mary endeavours to take charge of her country and prove she is an able ruler, she faces the dilemma of knowing whom to trust. Thomas is the one person she values above all others for his honesty and guidance. Needing him by her side, Mary appoints him as her almoner, taking him away from his quiet ecclesiastical life in Glasgow to the turbulence of the court in Edinburgh.

The more time Thomas spends at court, the more enamoured of Mary he becomes and his thoughts turn in a dangerous direction. Being an honourable man and knowing that his dreams of a life with Mary can never be, he removes himself from her sphere, only to be pulled back again at a time when his support should be elsewhere. His loyalty to Mary never wanes, but it is his inability to protect her from the consequences of her decisions and the machinations of the power hungry lords around her that brings heartache and a sense of failure that is only resolved at the time of her death.

The story of Mary, Queen of Scots, is widely known, but having it told from the perspective of Thomas Broune, who loves her for herself, knowing that nothing can come of it, adds poignancy to an already tragic tale. I loved the blend of fact and fiction that took me into the lives of Mary and Thomas, and their world of 16th century Scotland. There are many heart-tugging moments in this novel, but one of my favourites is the cameo appearance of Queen Elizabeth I and her comments regarding Mary.

The Queen's Almoner is a fast paced read that kept me enthralled from start to finish despite knowing the outcome. It is a wonderful, emotional read that I'm very happy to recommend.

Where to Purchase

The Queen's Almoner is available from Amazon UKAmazon USBarnes and Noble

Meet the Author

Tonya Ulynn Brown was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, USA, but now calls southeastern Ohio home. She spent her younger years right out of college, living in Europe and teaching English as a second language. She attributes her time in Eastern Europe as being one of great personal growth, where her love for history, the classics, and all things European was born. Tonya holds a Master’s degree in Teaching and is now an elementary school teacher where she uses her love of history and reading to try to inspire younger generations to learn, explore and grow. Along with all the historical characters that she entertains in her head, she lives with her husband, two sons and a very naughty Springer Spaniel. Her mother has also joined their home, making for a cozy and complete little family.

Connect with Tonya: WebsiteTwitterInstagram FacebookGoodreads.

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  1. This is such a great review! Thank you for hosting today's blog tour stop!

    1. Thank you, Mary Anne! It's a pleasure to be involved.