Saturday, September 17, 2011

Review: The Queen's Lady by Barbara Kyle

First line: She would remember this forever after as the night she watched two men die, one at peace and one in terror.

From the back cover: London, 1527. Marry or serve: for Honor Larke, the choice is clear. Unwilling to perish of boredom as an obedient wife, she leaves the home of her ward, the brilliant Sir Thomas More, to attend Her Majesty, Queen Catherine of Aragon. But life at Henry VIII's court holds more than artifice for an intelligent observer, and Honor knows how to watch - and when to act...

Angered by the humiliation heaped upon her mistress as Henry cavorts with Anne Boleyn and presses Rome for a divorce, Honor volunteers to carry letters to the Queen's allies. It's a risky game, but Honor is sure she's playing it well - until she's proven wrong. Richard Thornleigh may cut a dashing figure at court, but Honor isn't taken in by his reckless charm. Only later does Honor realize that Richard has awakened something within her - and that he, too, has something to hide...

For the King's actions are merely one knot in a twisted web that stretches across Europe, ensnaring everyone from the lowliest of peasants to the most powerful of nobles. Swept away in a tide of intrigue and danger, the Queen's lady is about to learn everything: about pride, passion, and greed - and the conscience of the king...

My thoughts: I have had this book and the next two in the series sitting on my shelf for a while now. I've been meaning to read them and just never got around to them. When I saw that Barbara Kyle was going on tour with the fourth in this series, The Queen's Gamble (click on title to see review), I jumped at the opportunity to be part of it. Of course, me being the stickler I am with reading series in order, I had to start with book one.

In this first book of the Thornleigh series, we meet Honor Larkin. A ward of Sir Thomas Moore, Honor joins the court of Henry VIII as a lady-in-waiting to Queen Catherine of Aragon, who the king has put aside in his bid to demand Rome grant him a divorce so he can marry Anne Boleyn. It is during this time that Honor discovers the deception going on as well as the religious persecution that is happening to Protestants. And then the burning of her beloved servant for heresy sends her off on a quest to destroy the man behind the witchhunt - and to save any more innocents from being burned for their beliefs.  She convinces Richard Thornleigh to allow her to use his ships to help transport the "heretics" to Europe, a dangerous task that could end up with both being burned at the stake. And of course, to add to this danger, their plans become further complicated when Honor falls in love with Thornleigh, who happens to be married.
 
The Queen's Lady is  an intriguing venture into the dark days of the church during the reign of Henry VIII and into the heart of the religious turmoil going on. Following the fictitious characters of Honor and Thornleigh, we are able to see beyond the famous figures of the time to the people who were simply trying to live their lives in the shadow of the king's destructive behavior.

(I purchased this book.)
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