Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Review: Secrets of the Tudor Court, Between Two Queens by Kate Emerson

Synopsis: (From the Publisher)
"Pretty, flirtatious, and ambitious. Nan Bassett hopes that an appointment at the court of King Henry VIII will bring her a grand marriage. But soon after she becomes a maid of honor to Queen Jane, the queen dies in childbirth. As the court plunges into mourning, Nan sets her sights on the greatest match in the land...for the king has noticed her. After all, it wouldn't be the first time King Henry has chosen to wed a maid of honor. And in newly Protestant England, where plots to restore the old religion abound, Nan may be the only one who can reassure a suspicious king of her family's loyalty. But the favor of a king can be dangerous and chancy, not just for Nan, but for her family as well...and passionate Nan is guarding a secret, one that could put her future — and her life — in grave jeopardy should anyone discover the truth.
Based on the life of the real Anne Bassett and her family, and drawing extensively from letters and diaries of the time, Between Two Queens is an enthralling picture of the dangers and delights of England's most passionate era."

My Review:

Nan Bassett is a woman who knows what she wants. Full of high ambitions and unwavering determination, Nan is sent to court in hopes of securing a position as a maid of honor to the new Queen Jane. To Nan's great surprise she not only obtains the desired placement within Queen Jane's house but also attracts the attention of King Henry VIII. Before Nan can put any plan that might increase her own importance at court into action, Queen Jane tragically dies in childbirth and her household is dispersed. Time passes slowly for Cat and she soon begins to find other means of entertainment, in particular a dallying and secret romance with Ned Corbett. Unfortunately, Ned is a man with no title or wealth, so when the King requests Nan to return to court, her ambition to raise her status prevails over a peaceful and quiet life in the country.

Nan quickly focuses on how to win the love of King Henry VIII; after all he is in need of a new wife and he has chosen a woman of lower rank before, so why not her? As Nan embarks on her new goal she soon finds that she is not the only one with secrets and high ambitions and she soon she finds herself at the mercy of those powerful enough to destroy herself and everyone she loves....

The passing years only bring more danger and uncertainty for Nan but through all the tragedy that befalls her, an new chance for love and happiness emerges. At the same time, the King grows more volatile and begins to set his sights on Nan for his sixth wife. Will Nan chose love over the ultimate goal she had been striving for and if so, is she cunning enough to escape the King's fatal grasp?...

It is always refreshing to read a book set during the Tudor court without it being directly about one of King Henry VIII's Queens. Secrets of the Tudor Court, Between Two Queens focused more on the time in between the queens of England, hence the title. The author did a great job of portraying the vast personality differences with each queen. Nan was a very unlikable and most of her suffering she brought on herself, but I was still able to sympathize with her sometimes because at least she did not try to blame her problems on someone else. It is a very hard thing to be able to write a unlikable character but still make them likable; Kate Emerson did a wonderful job of this. The only issue I had was how many times the plot branched off with other characters. In the beginning, it left the reader wondering "ok what does that have to do with anything?" but towards the end all the pieces started to come together and it all made sense. Overall I found this book to be quite enjoyable and will be looking forward to Kate's next novel.

A Little Extra:
In this book there were many characters and it was great to be able to read a mini-biography about them in the back of the book. Kate Emerson has even more mini-biographies of those who lived at the Tudor Court on her website at: kateemersonhistoricals.com.

If you have an ebook reader you are even more in luck! Kate has just announced that she has released A Who's Who of Tudor Women that holds 622 entries of mini-biographies and it is now available in ebook format! A Who's Who of Tudor Women is the most recent and accurate version of Kate's mini-biographies. This wonderful ebook is available exclusively from awriterswork.com.

Copyright © 2010 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.


Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Great review!! I have the first one in this series, I need to start reading!! I love the cover of this one though :)

Stephanie Thornton said...

I like the idea of a story of Henry VIII's court that doesn't actually focus on one of his wives. I feel like that's been seen from every angle possible. I might have to check this one out.

Darlene said...

Great review. I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one. I have it on my eReader. I just need to find some time to read it.

Staci said...

I loved your thoughts on this one. I so love this time period and the cover is gorgeous and I'm definitely intrigued!

Michelle Stockard Miller said...

Great review! This sounds like a good read. I'm adding it to my list.

Thanks for the info on the ebook. I have a Sony Reader so I'm going to go download it!

Blodeuedd said...

Nice interview :)
I actually went and googled her

Unknown said...

I love historical books, I've had my eyes on this one. Thanks for the review sounds like a great read!