The Lost Duchess

Jenny Barden

Ever since Sir Walter Raleigh’s settlement in Virginia was abandoned in 1587 its fate has remained a mystery; The Lost Duchess explores what might have happened to the ill-starred ‘Lost Colony’ of Roanoke and the first attempt to found a permanent English colony in America.

In the court of Queen Elizabeth, all a lady has is her reputation and Emme Fifield has fallen about as far as a gentlewoman can.  So Emme leaves for Virginia with a rag-tag band of idealists, desperados and misfits led by Kit Doonan, a mariner who has spent years imprisoned by the Spanish or living as an outlaw with escaped slaves.  This journey was never going to be easy…

First published by Ebury (Random House, UK) in 2014


Selected by the Editorial Experts‘ at Love Reading and one of Love Reading’s featured books in June 2014. (“Barden expertly weaves intricate historical detail around her love story” – Love Reading)

“A cracking read!” – Hazel Gaynor, author of The Girl Who Came Home

“In my almost five years of reviewing… there have been a few times, and only a few, when I have been completely and totally blown away by a book that I’ve read. This usually happens when there is a happy confluence of subject matter, writing prowess, research skill and character development, wrapped up in a believable, action filled story. If you haven’t already guessed, The Lost Duchess, by Jenny Barden, is one of those books… The last few chapters are suspenseful, dramatic, and satisfying in their resolution. It’s at this point that the pages practically turned by themselves. Revelations come fast and furious; love and life are affirmed between father and son, friends, and lovers. I did not want it to end.”
Debra Ross – Bookishly Attentive

“The Lost Duchess is an exciting, exotic and tantalising tale… establishes this dedicated history lover as an author with her eye on the passion, the plot and the past.”
Pam Norfolk – Lancashire Evening Post

“An epic adventure… I was there with the colony; I felt their fears as they struggled to make a success of their venture, and rooted for them as the natives begun to turn against them with increasing violence. The romance that blossoms from the pages was, for me, the heart of the book. I enjoyed the to and fro between Emme and Kit as they each dealt with their own baggage from the past, along with their newly found troubles in this new wild world they inhabit… The Lost Duchess is a truly fascinating read.”
Charlotte Foreman –

“I was particularly drawn in by the detail and historical accuracy and found myself staying up later and later each evening to finish it… This is a first rate novel… different to any other Tudor history I have read.”
Julie Ryan – AllThingsBooks

“Compelling Storytelling” – Book Preview

“A well written and beautifully researched novel… The story zings along at a cracking pace, there is danger, excitement, romance and deep emotion… I have no hesitation in recommending this book to lovers of historical fiction.”
Jo Barton – Jaffareadstoo

“Jenny Barden has taken a familiar historical period, the age of the first Queen Elizabeth, and imbued it with a sense of fun and adventure that is quite unusual – terrific characterisation, excellent dialogue, a brilliant read.”
Paul Norman – Books Monthly – in ‘The very best adult fiction for Christmas’ 2013

“A wonderfully complex story of intrigue, mystery, hardship, and betrayal.”
Mirella Patzer – Historical Novel Review (blogspot Canada)

“An excellent work of historical fiction” – Historical Fiction Obsession

“Jenny’s attention to historical detail and her knack of writing a riveting and page-turning tale – essentially a love story – makes The Lost Duchess a must-have purchase. It will enthral any lover of history and romantic literature.”
Amanda Thomas – Harpendia

“The Lost Duchess is an excellent read, informative and imaginative, beautifully written and brimming with characters whose destiny we care about. I not only enjoyed a thoroughly researched work of historical fiction and an engaging, well-written tale, but understood yet again that whilst power can be manipulative, human nature can rise above it even in the face of desperation and adversity. Highly recommended.”
Carol McGrath – The Review

“A brilliantly evocative reimagining of one of Colonial America’s most enigmatic and enduring mysteries.”
Erin Davies – Flashlight Commentary

“A tale of wondrous excitement, adventure and emotion…”
Sharon Cook – Builth Wells Reading Group

“Emme and Kit make for good companions on this exciting journey to the New World.”
Sarah Johnson – Reading the Past

“A beautiful story” – Gold Coast Libraries

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