Saturday, December 31, 2011

Review: The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson

The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson

Summary: Beautiful. Seductive. Innocent. Jane Popyncourt was brought to the court as a child to be ward of the king and a companion to his daughters -- the princesses Margaret and Mary. With no money of her own, Jane could not hope for a powerful marriage, or perhaps even marriage at all. But as she grows into a lovely young woman, she still receives flattering attention from the virile young men flocking to serve the handsome new king, Henry VIII, who has recently married Catherine of Aragon. Then a dashing French prisoner of war, cousin to the king of France, is brought to London, and Jane finds she cannot help giving some of her heart -- and more -- to a man she can never marry. But the Tudor court is filled with dangers as well as seductions, and there are mysteries surrounding Jane's birth that have made her deadly enemies. Can she cultivate her beauty and her amorous wiles to guide her along a perilous path and bring her at last to happiness?

Basing her gripping tale on the life of the real Jane Popyncourt, gifted author Kate Emerson brings the Tudor monarchs, their family, and their courtiers to brilliant life in this vibrant new novel.

Review: I'm a sucker for all things Tudor so I decided to read this book because it involves the Tudors. The book deals with Jane Popyncourt who not much is known about so the author takes some creative license, which I don't mind since she explains what is known about Jane in a note after the story.
It's a bit silly, but I found it annoying that the woman on the cover has blonde hair while Jane in the story is described as having brown hair. I also don't think the outfit on the front may not be totally accurate since all parts of a dress had to be tied together. 
There was a good deal of intrigue in this book. It was very interesting and fascinating and somewhat scary to see how kings behaved and what they thought they could get away with because they are kings. Very few rich and/or noble women could live for themselves and Jane was little better than a pawn. I'm glad she got a happy ending, but I can't help but wonder how the real Jane wound up. 
The book moved at a fast clip for the first half of the novel. There was plenty going on with the politics of the king and the court. The pace got a bit slow in the second half of the novel after Jane was no longer part of Mary's household. I was glad that Jane was finally able to find out what happened to her mother and why they fled to France, but she was quite pushy when trying to find out the truth.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to fans of the Tudors, historical fiction involving England and France, the 16th century, royalty, and for people who really love historical fiction. Somewhat who is not an avid fan of historical might find this book a bit boring.

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