The King's Damsel
By Kate Emerson
Release Date: August 7, 2012In the fifth novel in Kate Emerson's highly acclaimed Secrets of the Tudor Court series, a young gentlewoman catches King Henry the Eighth's roving eye.In 1533 and again in 1534, Henry the Eighth reportedly kept a mistress while he was married to Anne Boleyn. Now, that mistress comes to vivid life in Kate Emerson's The King's Damsel.
A real-life letter from Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys, written on September 27, 1534, reported that the king had "renewed and increased the love he formerly bore to another very handsome young lady of the Court" and that the queen had tried "to dismiss the damsel from her service." Other letters from Eustace reveal that the mystery woman was a "true friend" of the Princess (later Queen) Mary, Henry's daughter by Catherine of Aragon. Though no one knows who "the king's damsel" really was, here Kate Emerson presents her as young gentlewoman Thomasine Lodge, a lady-in-waiting to King Henry's daughter, Princess Mary. Thomasine becomes the Princess's confidante, especially as Henry's marriage to Catherine dissolves and tensions run high. When the king procures a divorce in order to marry Anne Boleyn, who is suspicious and distrustful of Mary, Mary has Thomasine placed in Anne's service to be her eyes and ears. And that's when she gets the attention of the king...
Rich in historical detail and featuring a wealth of bonus material, The King's Damsel is sure to keep readers coming back for more in the exciting series!
Review: I absolutely love anything during the Tudor era, especially the juicy Showtime show The Tudors. So when I heard that this book was about a young girl who finds herself immersed in the Tudor world as Princess Mary Tudor's maid of honor, I knew I was going to enjoy it.
The book starts out when Tamsin is 13 years old and, after her father dies, is forced by her new guardian, an extremely gross man, to leave her home and everything she loves to serve as Princess Mary's maid of honor. At first Tamsin is not sure how she will fair, but once she shares her storytelling ability with the young princess, Tamsin earns a special place in the Princess's eyes. Tamsin quickly finds a home serving young Mary, but we must not forget this is the time of Henry Tudor's reign, a time of scandal, shock, and secrets. At the age of 19, Tamsin soon finds herself serving none other than Anne Boleyn after many years of loyalty to Mary and her mother, Catherine. Surrounded by scandal and the undivided attention from the king himself, Tamsin is left to decide where her loyalties really lie and what she really wants out of her life.
So much goes on in this book and I just couldn't get enough of it! There were many overlaps between the events of this book and the first season of The Tudors, and I loved seeing everything from a maid's point of view, especially when Henry came into the picture. The caring, handsome silk worker Rafe is also an element to love about this story. Rafe appears sporadically throughout Tamsin's time as a maid and each moment is as unforgettable as the last. But the whole business of marriage, money, and lands makes it difficult for Tamsin to make any real decisions. Such is life during that era I guess!
As you can see, I just can't stop talking about this book! I became so immersed in the time period and life of Tamsin that I read the entire last half in one night. If you love historical romances, then this one is definitely the book for you! Not only do you get romance, but you get the entire context and magic of the time period as well. There is nothing more I could have asked for from a historical novel. I'm definitely checking out the author's other books in this series. And you all should too! Seriously, you're missing out on a phenomenal historical romance series!