Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Queen's Lady- Barbara Kyle

The Queen's Lady
Barbara Kyle
Kensington, Jul 2008, $15.00
ISBN: 9780758225443

In 1527 London, women have few choices they can make. To Honor Larke she can select between a marriage that sounds like incarceration or serving Her Majesty, Queen Catherine of Aragon. She chooses the latter as the court will be exciting while marriage will be boring; in either case she knows she must obey.

After informing her guardian, Sir Thomas More, Honor joins the court of Henry VIII. However, she quickly is appalled at how poorly the monarch and his supplicants scorn the queen while kissing the king’s butt. Honor becomes outraged when the King humiliates his wife by demanding Rome grant him a divorce while he plays around with Anne Boleyn. Loyal to her Queen and her friend, Honor carries letters to her Majesty’s Queen's allies that if caught will behead her for seditious acts. All is well until that foppish cavalier whom she desires, Richard Thornleigh, catches her.

Intrigue, betrayal and avarice are the fuels of King Henry’s court as THE QUEEN’S LADY quickly learns. Honor lives up to her name as she feels a strong loyalty to the tossed aside Queen and acts on her fidelity at the risk to her life. Thornleigh is actually a more interesting character than the title protagonist as the audience is not sure whether he is an early sixteenth century Pimpernel, a genuine fop, a traitor or a “secret agent”. Fans of historical fiction with a romantic subplot enhancing the era will enjoy Barbara Kyle’s deep look at King Henry’s first marriage that had ramifications across Europe.

Harriet Klausner

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