I read this book for an English lit course on the rise of the historical novel. Once I got past the *glaring* historical inaccuracies, I found it fairly entertaining.
The titular Recess is the hiding place for the twin illegitimate daughters of Mary, Queen of Scots. The first-person narrator, Matilda, is writing a letter to her friend, Adelaide, talking about her adventures in the recess and at court ... including her marriage to Robert Dudley, Lord Leicester.
This is one of the earliest historical/gothic novels, and its prose is a little on the florid side for a modern readership. However, the author brings us into her tale of intrigue at Elizabeth I's court in a lively and entertaining fashion.