The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

⭐️⭐️⭐️THE KING'S DAMSEL (Secrets of the Tudor Court #5) By Kate Emerson

Publisher:  Gallery Books
Pages:  368
Release Date:  2012
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Format:  Paperback

Book Description:  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 from Eustace 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. When the king procures a divorce in order to marry Anne Boleyn, who is suspicious and distrustful of Mary, Mary has Thomasine placed in Anne's service to be her eyes and ears. And that's when she gets the attention of the king...
Rich in historical detail and featuring a wealth of bonus material, The King's Damsel is sure to keep readers coming back for more in the exciting series!

Wanda's Thoughts: 
Thomasine (Tamsin) Lodge, a young heiress, becomes a maid of honor to Princess Mary Tudor. She was overcome by homesickness, missing her stepmother, Blanche, and all her many privileges she had as a child. She had never been a servant. If she did not make herself pleasing to Princess Mary’s Court, and those she met there, there would be consequences. By the time the first year had ended, Tamsin had adjusted and became a part of her new family. Soon she was providing entertainment for the household by telling stories to the princess and her court. The character of Tamsin is strong, yet sensitive, and vulnerable.

Sir Lionel Daggett became Tamsin’s guardian, and she had an intense dislike for him from the beginning. He was a wicked man who controlled her inheritance. Daggett commanded Tamsin to impress the king by using her charms to become his damsel. If she didn’t obey, she would be married off to any man who offered him a large enough bribe. This was all to his advantage, that he might prosper – she was to become his advocate.

And the story unfolds with the account of Anne Boleyn’s life and how she played the “game of love” to win over Henry VIII, and later becoming Queen Anne. Henry VIII, King of England, had his marriage to Catherine of Aragon annulled because of his love for Anne Boleyn.

The research behind this story brings credibility to The King’s Damsel. I must admit I had a desire to see how the character interactions would play out. It is rich with description – the setting is vividly depicted – and the historical aspect is so very well written.

But I did struggle with this book. The pacing drags in the beginning, but finally picks up about mid-way through. There are many historical references throughout, and the story blends both fact and fiction into what should’ve been a compelling tale. Unfortunately I found it to be just lukewarm. The book had an interesting premise, but it just failed to deliver. My rating is 3 stars.

About the Author:  Kate Emerson is a pseudonym used by Kathy Lynn Emerson, author of the Face Down Mysteries featuring Susanna Appleton, 16th century gentlewoman, herbalist, and sleuth, the award-winning How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries, and a wide assortment of other books.

She was born in Liberty, New York and recieved an A.B. from Bates College and an MA from Old Dominion University. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and other professional organizations. She currently lives in rural Western Maine with her husband and three cats.

"Kate Emerson" is her pseudonym to distinguish her historical novels set in the Tudor era (England 1485-1603) that feature real but little known historical figures as the protagonists.