Title: The Pleasure Palace
Author: Kate Emerson
Series: Secrets of the Tudor Court
Date Started: March 21
Date Finished: March 25
Format: Paperback from library co-op
I really hate the Goodreads recommended section. I can never go into that section without adding to my reading list. This time was no exception. After reading The Boleyn Inheritance, Goodreads came up in my feed and said, ‘Hey, because you read this book, maybe you want to try this one?’ I read the summary and was kind of curious and I’m still not sure if that curiosity paid off…
Before you jump to conclusions, this is not really about the Tudor court, or at least not the usual suspects of the Tudor court. The Pleasure Palace follows the tale of Jane (real name Jeane) Popyncourt as she flees from France and comes to England with her mother. They are offered places in the Henry VII’s court, her mother with the Queen and Jane with the royal charges. She grows up with Henry VIII, Mary and Margaret and time seems to fly by. No, really, within three chapters you’ve already bypassed Henry VII’s reign, Henry VIII’s coronation and marriage, and the pregnancy of the first son who died within days of his birth. If you’ve read The Constant Princess, you don’t really mind the speed through of events. Especially because it gets to the juicy parts faster.
Queen Catherine and Henry go to war with France and during the war Henry captures Louis and holds him for ransom. Jane meets him and his half bastard brother Guy – who she grew up with back in Brittany – and instantly falls in lust with the Duke. In fact, he becomes her first lover, and when the king comes back from the battlefield, instead of having Jane’s head for treasonous behavior, he asks her to continue being the duke’s bedfellow so that way she can learn what he has planned. But while she’s learning secrets (and other things) from the duke, she also finds out that her mother’s death years earlier wasn’t at all what it appeared to be.
So the one thing that The Pleasure Palace has going for it is the fast pace. You don’t have to repeat events that you’ve already read about, and this time around instead of flash forwarding through Henry’s wives, you get to stick around with Catherine as Jane works her way through the politics of court. I have to admit when she took the duke as her lover I was kind of disappointed. The guy sounded like such a tool. What do you expect though from a married emissary of France? However, the duke’s brother prevented more appealing love interest for Jane.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. I liked this take on the Tudor court. It wasn’t about Henry and his lusty ways – well, not really – and was more about his friend trying to figure out why she came to England after living in France. The reasoning was sort of odd considering everything I’ve read about Henry VII he wasn’t anything like his son. Intrigued to read the next book.
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