Secrets of the Tudor court. By royal decree / Kate Emerson

Emerson’s third in her series (after Between Two Queens) explores the tempestuous world of the Tudor court in the sunset of Henry VIII’s reign. Married to his sixth wife, Kathryn Parr, many years his junior, Henry still has an eye for Elizabeth Brooke, but luckily for her, only briefly, since Elizabeth’s in love with Parr’s brother, Will, who loves her but already has a wife. Henry deems divorce acceptable for himself but is loathe to grant it for others. After Henry dies, his heir, Edward, allows the couple to marry. Happy for a while, Will and Elizabeth are upended by the unexpected death of the young king and the political turmoil that follows. As Catholic Mary’s rule tears them apart, they must decide how much they are willing to risk for love and country. Parr is a drab hero, but Elizabeth’s fierce loyalty to him, against all odds, makes the story appealing. The supporting characters are not given enough play, especially the colorful Tom Seymour and Thomas Wyatt. While not Emerson’s best, this is a solid historical with a refreshingly willful, sexually liberated heroine .

Adult Summer Reading: HISTORY • FACT & FICTION

 

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