Monday, February 9, 2009

Secrets Of The Tudor Court: The Pleasure Palace- Kate Emerson

Secrets Of The Tudor Court: The Pleasure Palace
Kate Emerson
Pocket, Mar 2009, $16.00
ISBN: 1416583203

In 1498, six months after the death of papa when his ship sunk at sea, eight years old Jane Poyancourt and her widowed mother Jeanne flee France following the passing away of King Charles. King Henry VII makes the grieving Jane his ward and employs the child who is the age of his daughters as their French tutor by simply speaking to them. Soon after reaching England, Jane’s Uncle Sir Rowland Velville informs his young niece that her mamam died from a sudden fever.

A few years later, Jane is beautiful and remains at the court though a new handsome Henry sits on the throne now. Several members of the court want to court the displaced Frenchwoman, but she shows no interest in any of them. That changes when prisoner of war Duc de Longueville Louis D'Orleans is sent to the Tower awaiting ransom payment. She is attracted to him and is considering becoming his mistress. Meanwhile her childhood friend Guy Dunois comes to the English court and wants to become Jane’s lover. Jane also investigates her mother’s sudden untimely death, which leads to her spying for her royal guardian.

This interesting early sixteenth century tale lives up to its title as the audience sees another side to the Tudor courts of Henry VII and more so his son Henry VIII. The story line provides the reader with a sense of time and place especially the intrigue that engulfs the reign of Henry VIII, but does so through the amorous adventures of Jane. Fans of the era will relish Kate Emerson’s fine historical biographical fiction of an actual member of the Tudor court supported by real people.

Harriet Klausner

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