Thursday, August 09, 2012
The King's Damsel by Kate Emerson - Book Review
About the Book:
Handmaid. Spy. Mistress. Anxious to secure his own success at the glittering court of Henry VIII, heiress Tamsin Lodge’s ambitious guardian obtains her a position as maid of honor to young Princess Mary Tudor. Tamsin soon comes to love the neglected child, but in the Tudor court, not even a princess is secure. Mary’s father is besotted with the lovely Anne Boleyn, and the girl’s future has grown perilous. Plotting to be Mary’s eyes and ears, Tamsin joins Anne’s service, but the handsome silk worker who is her co-conspirator may be her undoing. While marriage with a merchant is unthinkable, she cannot resist Rafe Pinckney’s embraces. When Tamsin also attracts the lusty Henry, she must choose between loyalty and desire. . . . With Anne’s jealousy growing dangerous, can Tamsin survive the schemes and seductions that surround her?
About the Author:
An expert in all things Tudor, Kate Emerson is the author of the Secrets of the Tudor Court series: The Pleasure Palace and Between Two Queens. She lives in Wilton, Maine.
I have not had the opportunity to read any of Ms. Emerson's previous Secrets of the Tudor Court series but from what I can glean she like to present the familiar of Tudor life with fictional characters tied to real life actions. There is certainly a library full of Tudor reading out there right now so trying to find a way to differentiate is, I'm sure, challenging. In the case of The King's Damsel a letter written by a Spanish envoy about Henry VIII's interest in one of Queen Anne Boleyn's ladies provides the impetus for intrigue and romance.
Young Thomasine (Tamsin) Lodge finds herself an heiress after the untimely deaths of her father and brother. She soon finds that her guardianship has been purchased by a rather unpleasant Lord (Lionel) who is looking to use her to gain favor at court. He has her placed as a lady in waiting to young Princess Mary where Tamsin forms a strong bond of loyalty to the princess that she will honor with her life and whatever else might be necessary.
Along the way she meets a brash and handsome apprentice to a silkwoman - Rafe Pinckney - who becomes the object of her dreams and thoughts even though he is not of her class. Soon Anne Boleyn is moving into Henry VIII's orbit and trying to push Mary away from her father. It is determined that Tamsin could help the princess by becoming a spy in the Queen to be's household. How far will she go to help her true mistress?
Well, we all know Henry VIII and his proclivities by now and how hard it would have been to say no to the man who held the power of life and "off with her head" over one's erm, head. So we know exactly how far Tamsin goes. It's where it leads that provides her biggest problems.
This was a quick and light historical read. It provided a different look at well trod material by taking the reader into Princess Mary's entourage rather than into Anne Bolelyn's. The characterization of Anne will not sit well with those that feel she did not receive a fair shake from history - it is very one dimensional. Many of the characters lacked a lot of depth but this is not meant to be a deep, historical study.
Tamsin is a likable girl with lots of what we call moxie today. She knows how to think for herself and works towards an end. Even when faced with the worst, she deals. Rafe is a good foil for her even though he makes limited appearances in the book. My biggest complaint is the ending. It was short, quite abrupt and wrapped far too much up within a single paragraph.
You can purchase The King's Damsel at Amazon.com
Disclosure: I received a copy of The King's Damsel from the publisher. Any opinions expressed are my honest opinions and were not impacted by my receipt of the free book. I received no monetary compensation for this post.