In the fifth novel in Kate Emerson's highly acclaimed Secrets of the Tudor Court series, a young gentlewoman catches King Henry the Eighth's roving eye. In 1533 and again in 1534, Henry the Eighth reportedly kept a mistress while he was married to Anne Boleyn. Now, that mistress comes to vivid life in Kate Emerson's The King's Damsel. A real-life letter from Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys, written on September 27, 1534, reported that the king had renewed and increased the love he formerly bore to another very handsome young lady of the Court and that the queen had tried to dismiss the damsel from her service. Other letters reveal that the mystery woman was a true friend of the Princess (later Queen) Mary, Henry's daughter by Catherine of Aragon. Though no one knows who the king's damsel really was, here Kate Emerson presents her as young gentlewoman Thomasine Lodge, a lady-in-waiting to King Henry's daughter, Princess Mary. Thomasine becomes the Princess's confidante, especially as Henry's marriage to Catherine dissolves and tensions run high.
In 1525, heiress Thomasine Lodge,13, loses control of her money, property, and person when her guardianship is purchased from King Henry VIII by Sir Lionel Daggett. Thomasine is sent to attend Henry's daughter, the young Princess Mary, and ordered to use her wiles to become the king's mistress and advance Sir Lionel's political career. She defies him, but years later her unswerving loyalty to the politically declining Mary leads her to the court of Anne Boleyn as a spy, where Thomasine learns there are many advantages to warming Henry's bed after all. Sparked by an actual letter written by a Spanish ambassador in 1534, Emerson (At the King's Pleasure) creates a believable scenario rich in accurate detail where her fictional Thomasine strolls comfortably next to real-life figures. Historical fiction fans will enjoy the political manipulations and court intrigues, but romance fans will be disappointed by perfunctory sexual tension, scant romance, and a happy ending that feels like an afterthought. Agent: Meg Ruley, the Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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August 07, 2012
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