Title: By Royal Decree
Author: Kate Emerson
Series: Secrets of the Tudor Court
Previous Books in the Series:
1. The Pleasure Palace
2. Between Two Queens
Date Started: May 13
Date Finished: May 15
Format: Paperback from my local library
For the first time in this series, we have a book that doesn’t focus all that much on a woman trying to become the king’s mistress for personal gain. Elizabeth (Bess) Brooke is brought to court to try and become the next Queen of England by Henry VIII, but he doesn’t pick her. Instead, Bess catches the attention of William Parr by accidentally running into him and her cousin Dorothy Bray having an intimate moment in a darkened alcove. It’s love at first sight, except for the fact that Dorothy wants Bess’s head for even looking at him and he’s already married. As things do in books like these, time passes rather quickly and Bess is still at court – this time a maid of honor to Queen Kathryn – when William returns from abroad and tells her directly that he wants her and has wanted her since they first met. Although she knows that he is married, she can’t help but fall for him, but their romance must remain a secret until Will can petition the king for a divorce from his wife.
Unfortunately for them, they cannot wait that long and wed in secret. But no perfect time arises to ask the king for the divorce and before too long he dies and his son takes the throne. Edward is a little bit more pliable to their cause and grants the divorce, making their marriage legal. However, Edward doesn’t stay alive long and the next in line to the throne won’t recognize their marriage at all. So Will and Bess try to find a way around the line of succession, which is treasonous if they get caught…
By Royal Decree pretty much had everything. A game of thrones, love, betrayal, and sadness. I have to give credit to Bess for staying so strong when the odds seemed stacked against her and Will. Although there were moments when I wanted to slap her too. Why is it with every Tudor Court book that I read the lady is always so impatient to be wed, even though they know the consequences of what will happen if they aren’t patient? I mean, hello? I especially liked the fact that this book really focused on Queen Kathryn’s reign and how she was almost arrested by Henry, a few items that other books from this time period don’t really focus all that much on. My huge complaint? Near the end, when Bess and Will are certain that Edward is going to die and they have to put someone other than Mary on the throne, there were a lot of names and titles getting thrown around that it was hard to keep track of who was who.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. A rather enjoyable read that wasn’t entirely focused on the monarchy but instead of the love story of two people within the court. Wished there wasn’t so many names (although the guide at the back of the book helped immensely).
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