Today I am delighted to host the lovely Kate Emerson, author of the newly released At the King's Pleasure. Thank you, Kate, for honoring The Muse in the Fog Book Review with your presence once again!
What Does “At the King’s Pleasure” Really Mean?
"Finding the right title for a novel isn’t always easy. My original title for AT THE KING’S PLEASURE, in stores January 3, 2012, was NO GAME FOR TUDORS, which comes from a statement allegedly made by the 3rd Duke of Buckingham when he discovered his sister, Lady Anne Stafford, in a compromising situation with William Compton, Henry VIII’s boon companion, and leapt to the conclusion that Lady Anne was dallying with both Compton and the king. According to a letter written by the Spanish ambassador, Buckingham declared that “women of the Stafford family are no game for Comptons, no, nor for Tudors, either.”
Although my editor liked this title, there was a problem. The overall title of the series of books I was writing about various alleged mistresses of Henry VIII was “Secrets of the Tudor Court” and she thought it would be better if we did not repeat the word Tudor. By an ironic twist of fate, it was decided this past August to bring AT THE KING’S PLEASURE out without the series title on the cover. Now it is simply identified as “a novel” with “author of the Secrets of the Tudor Court series above my name.
But I digress. I was talking about coming up with the current title. With my first choice off the table, I considered a number of possibilities. Some I discarded because other people had used them recently. To tell the truth, I debated about AT THE KING’S PLEASURE because there is an older novel called THE KING’S PLEASURE (about Catherine of Aragon) that is still in print. But as any reader knows, the same or similar titles often crop up on more than one book, sometimes even on books published at around the same time. No doubt it’s something in the ozone. What sounds like a great title to one publisher also strikes another (or several others) as a terrific title, too. Anyway, I ended up decided that adding AT to THE KING’S PLEASURE changed the meaning sufficiently.
Indeed, that one word IS significant. You see, in Henry VIII’s day, courtiers served “at the king’s pleasure,” something the characters in my novel know all too well. But serving at someone’s pleasure isn’t as antiquated an idea as you might think. Deputy sheriffs in rural American counties, for example, still serve “at the will and pleasure” of the local sheriff. Strictly speaking, they can be fired for displeasing him, just as any courtier could be dismissed from court for upsetting Henry Tudor.
In AT THE KING’S PLEASURE, when the Duke of Buckingham removes Lady Anne from court as punishment for her alleged “sins,” the king banishes him and his other sister, Lady Elizabeth. For interfering IN the king’s pleasure, they are sent away AT the king’s pleasure. That theme that is repeated throughout the novel and allowed me, in developing the plot, to present Lady Anne with many challenges. That she survives in the intrigue-filled hotbed of life at court is a tribute to her strong, resilient character."
In stores now!
At the King's Pleasure by Kate Emerson
Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Married to one man. Desiring another. Beautiful Lady Anne Stafford, ladyin- waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon, is torn between her love for her husband, George, Lord Hastings . . . and the king’s boon companion, the attentive Sir William Compton. But when King Henry VIII, amorous as always, joins the men clustering around her, Anne realizes she has become perilously enmeshed in the intrigues of the court. Will she be forced to decide between the two men she desires—and the one she doesn’t?Kate Emerson charms again with a heroine who steps out of the pages of history to win our hearts in this sumptuous novel of Tudor scandal and intrigue."
Come back for my review this weekend!
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