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The Godmother’s Secret Audiobook

Elizabeth St.John narrates her latest novel with skill and passion

The Godmother’s Secret, Read by the Author

Author Elizabeth St.John’s newest novel, The Godmother’s Secret, creates an exhilarating twist on an enduring medieval mystery: whatever happened to the princes in the tower? I loved reading this exquisitely written, ingenious novel, and listening to Elizabeth St.John read it aloud in the audiobook version was a wonderful treat. It turns out the author’s considerable storytelling gifts include dramatic narration—and her passion for this story of her ancestress, Elysabeth Scrope, shines throughout the entire audiobook.

What I love about audiobooks is the flexibility. I don’t have to sit and read; I can do errands, drive, walk the dog, get a dozen things done all while listening to a book. Sometimes I find it difficult, though, to stay connected to the storyline through myriad small interruptions. Other times, I don’t enjoy the narrator’s voice. With The Godmother’s Secret, though, my attention never flagged. In fact, I was on tenterhooks from the rising tension and drama, even though I’d already read the book and knew how it ended.

Elizabeth St.John has a rich, melodious voice with a lovely English accent, and she is skilled at creating voices and accents for the various characters in the story. From the very first moments of the narration, I felt transported back in time to medieval England. Whenever life intervened and I had to take a break, I couldn’t wait to get back to the immersive world of the audiobook. It was a pleasure from beginning to end, and I hope the author narrates more of her work in the future.

Read on to learn more and listen to a snippet of the audiobook.

“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.

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About the Author:

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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Listen to an audio snippet of the excerpt below:

Autumn 1470 | Westminster Sanctuary

As a toll marks the end of mass, Meg returns, and the midwife arrives in a swirl of fog and wood smoke with her bag of scissors and linens and vials of mugwort and pennyroyal electuaries, a rabbit’s foot, and St. Margaret’s birthing girdle to ensure an easy labour. The crone smells strongly of her workroom spirits, but her hands appear steady.

The relentless abbey bells mark the longest hours. The room is so dark night loiters within. The scent of purifying lavender oil mingles with stinking melting tallow and smoke from the damp logs. The hours pass with no sign of the child, and then creeps over us a sharp odour of fear-sour sweat, drenching the queen’s moans.

“This is not like the others,” she pants, her stomach mounded over her long slender legs. “There is something wrong.”

The midwife leans over her, casting a humpbacked shadow on the wall. “Hush, my lady,” she says. “Your child is just slow to arrive. Bite down on this kerchief, and do not push further, for just a moment.”

The queen cries, her body rigid. Meg bathes her forehead with a damp cloth. I beckon the midwife to the fireside. The crone’s lined face gleams with perspiration, and the smell of fear is strongest from her.

“What is happening?” I demand. “The queen employed you because she trusts you. This birth is going on for too long.”

The midwife wipes her mouth with the back of her hand. “The queen is narrow,” she says. “And the baby is large. That is all.” She turns away from me, hunches over her bag, and rummages for another curative. This time she places a dried toad upon the queen’s stomach, arranging it this way and that with deliberate care, chanting an unintelligible rhyme as she does so.

I turn my back on the woman, shaking my head. I do not put much store in these witching tokens, but if the queen does, then it is her decision.

“Belle-Maman!” Meg hisses. “Look!”

The midwife is tipping a stone bottle into her mouth and drinking the contents. She sees me looking at her and quickly drops it back into the bag.

“What are you doing?” I cry. “Are you drunk, woman?”

The midwife laughs and pulls the bottle forth. “Want some? Prepare yourself, Lady Scrope.”

“Get away from me.” I smack her hand.

The crone sneers. “And you think you can do more? From what I’ve felt, the cord is wrapped around the child. If it is not freed, the queen will kill it. And likely herself too.”

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  1. Cathie Dunn says:

    Thanks so much for hosting Elizabeth St.John today, with such an enticing audio clip & snippet from The Godmother’s Secret.

    Cathie xo
    The Coffee Pot Book Club

    1. Amy Maroney says:

      Always a pleasure!

  2. Elizabeth St.John says:

    Thanks for the lovely review and hosting me Reading Out Loud, Amy! I’m so glad you enjoyed spending those hours with me – and my ancestors! It was quite an experience to write about and then narrate them.

    1. Amy Maroney says:

      I loved the book and was so impressed with your narration skills! Can’t wait to hear what you do next with audio.

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