Title: Between Two Queens
Author: Kate Emerson
Series: Secrets of the Tudor Court
Previous Book in the Series:
1. The Pleasure Palace
Date Started: May 6
Date Finished: May 8
Format: Paperback from my local library co-op
So, remember how in my review for The Boleyn Inheritance, I had a few questions about Henry’s sixth wife? Well, I sort of got my answers with Between Two Queens. Emerson continues her Secrets series with an interesting installment. We’re introduced quickly to Anne Bassett who is desperately looking to become a maid of honor in Queen Jane’s household. Compared to her sister Cat, Nan believes that she is prettier and should receive the position with ease. And she does, especially because the king himself is there during her interview with the queen. What follows is a lengthy tale of court politics and romance that ranges from Queen Jane’s reign all the way through King Henry’s death.
I barely remember Nan from The Boleyn Inheritance and I wonder if that was because Queen Anne of Cleves and Queen Catherine Howard didn’t really pay much attention to her. Anyway, I kind of wished that they had. At the beginning of this book, I couldn’t stand Nan. She’s very power hungry and is only looking for a marriage that will grant her money and power. Yet, she does fall in love with her stepfather’s man – Ned Corbett – who also is into the power game. In fact, the only reason he even flirted with Nan was to have her lose her virginity to him and – if he was lucky – get her pregnant so that way she had to marry him. The poor boy though doesn’t realize that a determined woman won’t fall for his plans, and she is determined. She does get pregnant, but because she’s spending time with her cousin’s family she’s able to hide it and when she gives birth she already has a family lined up to adopt the baby. But that doesn’t stop her from falling for Ned who has also fallen for her too.
After her pregnancy, she joins Queen Anna of Cleves (what’s with the spelling change?) household and the whole cycle kind of starts again. Only this time Nan is aiming high. It is well known that King Henry doesn’t like Anna and is already looking for his fifth wife and why couldn’t it be Nan? He’s already taken an interest in her and it wouldn’t be the first time the king chose his next wife from his current queen’s group of ladies. I will say this though about her, after her pregnancy she isn’t the same annoying girl that she was. Yes, she’s trying to aim high – but even after that fails it doesn’t bother her all that much, at this point she just wants to make sure that her position within court is assured. Especially when her step-father, mother, sisters and Ned are imprisoned for treason. She really grew when she got Ned out of the Tower at her own expense. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was who Nan eventually ended up with. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I liked the guy – it was nice that she got everything she wanted AND love – but there wasn’t any courting. She noticed him, he’d been in love with her for ages, but…nothing. The last few chapters mostly centered around Nan trying not to have the king propose to her and then the epilogue jumped forward to her wedding day. Okay?
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A real intriguing look at court life during the end of Queen Jane’s reign, during Queen Anna’s reign, Queen Catherine’s reign and brief reign of Queen Kathryn. Some of my answers about Henry’s sixth wife were answered with this book and it was nice to see the king and queen from a perspective other than a noble lady of court.
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