I was so glad to receive In Defense of the Queen ARC that I couldn’t wait to read it. And given how disappointing the books I’ve recently read have been, I could not have come up with a better book to read. I’ve read pretty much read all the books by Michelle Diener and I love her work. This series in particular is one I really enjoy so I was thrilled to see this one on Netgalley and even happier when my request was accepted. I won’t go into the plot because it is connected to the past 2 books and explaining all that would take too much time. The basic gist of In Defense of the Queen is that Susanna gets a message from her father asking her to take a message to the Queen. But delivering that message would also make her a traitor to the King. To make matters worse someone is trying to assassinate her and her brother. In addition, as always, there is more than one plot afoot and this time Susanna seems to be caught in the middle. The reason I love Diener’s books so much is because of the fast-paced narrative. She doesn’t waste time with unimportant details and characters that add nothing to the main story. And the plot in her books is always very tight well thought-out. But at the same time, her stories are also layered, so if you’re not reading carefully or thinking you can get away with skipping a few lines, think again. Once I started reading this book, I found it impossible to put it down and I read it in one go. And the climax doesn’t disappoint in the least. The other great thing about her books is that they are also historically very rich. She weaves in historical figures and events very seamlessly into the story and that just makes reading them more interesting. And since History was one of my favourite subjects when I was studying, its an additional treat.One of the things I love most about this series is the relationship between Parker and Susanna. I am so glad they are mature enough to not fall prey petty and silly misunderstandings. You have no idea what a pleasant change that is from the usual drama that stands for romance in most books these days. It is also refreshing to see them have complete trust in each other. Yet, the romance aspect doesn’t impede the narrative flow in the least. I don’t like books where the love story puts the main narrative on hold. I almost always end up skipping those bits because most times they add nothing of value to the story. And the most awesome thing: there was no blasted love triangle!!! Its disturbing how relieved I was about that. Susanna was likable from the very beginning when she refused to get intimated by Parker and I’m glad that she remains a strong character. She is intelligent and fiercely independent and we don’t see that in most period/historical heroines. Parker is also one of the few love interests that I actually like. He’s straightforward and can be ruthless and yet he’s not cold and inhuman. He genuinely loves Susanna. And he seems to have become somewhat gentler since he met her. And while he does want to protect her, he doesn’t suffocate her under that pretence nor does he manipulate her into doing what he wants. He treats her as his equal.Diener doesn’t assault us with too many characters, just enough to keep us attentive. We finally met Lucas (Susanna’s brother) this time and I can’t honestly say that I like him, He seemed too full of himself and self-entitled. Plus he got Susanna into shit loads of trouble. I hope he doesn’t take her job from her. Besides, something tells me Henry won’t like him much either (just a gut feeling I have)Henry was mercurial as always, one minute the most charming man you’ve met and threatening you the next. As for antagonists, Wolsey and Norfolk are as nauseating as always. And the fact that they don’t give up just makes them more annoying. But seeing that Parker and Susanna keep thwarting their schemes, I have a feeling; they will keep trying to stir up trouble for both of them. But I’m not too worried; Parker and Susanna always figure a way out. In Defense of the Queen was an absolute treat to read and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book by Diener and, then of course, the next Susanna and Parker book. I hope I don’t have to wait too long. If you like historicals and fast-paced stories, you will not be disappointed in the least.