Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review: The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson

First line: I was a child of eight in April of the year of our Lord fourteen hundred and ninety-eight.

From the back cover: Beautiful. Seductive. Innocent. Jane Popyncourt was brought to the court as a child to be ward of the king and a companion to his daughters - the princesses Margaret and Mary. With no money of her own, Jane could not hope for a powerful marriage, or perhaps even marriage at all. But as she grows into a lovely young woman, she still receives flattering attention from the virile young men flocking to serve the handsome new king, Henry VIII, who has recently married Catherine of Aragon. Then a dashing French prisoner of war, cousin to the king of France, is brought to London, and Jane finds she cannot help giving some of her heart - and more - to a man she can never marry. But the Tudor court is filled with dangers as well as seductions, and there are mysteries surrounding Jane's birth that have made her deadly enemies. Can she cultivate her beauty and her amorous wiles to guide her along a perilous path and bring her at last to happiness?

Basing her gripping tale on the life of the real Jane Popyncourt, gifted author Kate Emerson brings the Tudor monarchs, their family, and their courtiers to brilliant life in this vibrant new novel.

My thoughts: This is the first in Kate Emerson's Secrets of the Tudor Court series and I really enjoyed it. I absolutely love reading about the Tudor period and what I like about this series is that the main focus is not on the Tudors themselves, but the other people at court during the Tudor reign. Yes, we still get to see the Tudors, but they are not at the forefront of the story.

The Pleasure Palace is based upon Jane Popyncourt, a member of the Tudor Court and of whom very little is known, giving the author more leeway to craft her tale. The novel is full of historical tidbits as far as how the courtiers dressed, their jewels, the pageants and parties, and the card games they played; just enough information to not sound like non-fiction but more to give us a sense of being right there in Jane's presence. It is a novel full of romance, mystery and intrigue. I really liked the fact that Kate Emerson gives you the family trees of the English and French Nobility of the period, along with a who's who in the back of the book. I've read quite a few books set during the Tudor period, but I still get confused as to who is who. 

I found this to be an engrossing read and I can't wait to pick up the next in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series: Between Two Queens.

(I purchased this book.)

1 comment

  1. I love reading books set in the Tudor period.
    The Tudors fascinate me. I'm putting this one on my wish list. Thanks for the review.


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