Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Book Review: BY ROYAL DECREE by Kate Emerson

Fresh onto book shelf’s everywhere “By Royal Decree” is the third installment in Emerson’s series “The Secrets of the Tudor Court”. I love this series it is one of the few that I stand firmly by and continue to be awe stuck by each and every book. My favorite aspect of the series is they all focus on all the side playing courtiers. In Tudor times the courtiers would rise as fast as they would fall and Emerson seems to focus on all the people I have been curious about but never had the option to explore more until now. Emerson changes the view of the Tudors making it fresh and new all over again because it is always from a point of view I never saw before.

Elizabeth Brooke also known as Bess grew up in a large family in a nice castle her father was Lord George Brooke, 9th Baron Cobham of Kent. He served under King Henry VIII and Henry was fresh back on the market for a new queen. Henry called upon all the nobility to send their pretty eligible women to court to have a banquet with him. Basically Henry wanted it easy and he rounded up all the pretty girls of town and made them eat dinner with him. Henry scoured the women for his sixth and final wife. Bess had been brought to court just for the banquet and she narrowly dodged Henry and her curiosity got the better of her and she stumbled upon her hating nasty aunt Dorothy making out with an abruptly handsome man. The handsome man would turn out to be not just any man but Lord William Parr. His sister would become lucky number six for King Henry which would put the family name Parr in high favor. I have to admit that I always have been curious about the brother of the famous final wife of Henry’s. I now understand that with William and the constant shifting of England current religious grounds he was forced into constantly being judged and re-judged again depending on who reigned as the current monarch. It is no easy task getting and holding a royal decree because it can be over turned just as easily as it was given.

Before Bess came into the picture William Parr was married at a young age and spent one night with his wife before returning to court. Shortly after that his wife ran off with a man of the church and had a whole hoard of illegitimate brats. William was allowed by Henry VIII to keep his wife’s title and was technically divorced. The catch with the decree was that he was not allowed to remarry until his first wife died. This would officially put the handsome William Parr completely off limits to the beautiful fresh to court Bess. But how can we tell the heart who it loves? Bess asked the same question and try as she might she could not replace him with one of the Dudley boys. Bess knew she needed real love, passionate love, the kind of love that only William Parr could give her in this life. The only problem in their way was that everyone around them kept on dying and nothing in England in the 16th century stayed the same for too long. The petition to win the Royal Decree would work with Henry but what did the future hold with a boy king and more turbulent times ahead?

4.5/5 Another beautifully written Tudor secret love that before I never even knew existed. It was everything I could have hoped it to be and more. This one was unique from the previous novel because it went past Henry VIII into Edward, Jane Grey, Mary and Elizabeth. The series had never done that before and I felt it was a natural progression in the series. Some of you might know I love Robert Dudley he is one of my favorites and this book is filled with the Dudley’s. It really opened my eyes to their lives and their family situation. I enjoyed that this book focused more on the older brothers that were infatuated with Bess. I cannot wait for the next one on the Duke of Buckingham sister titled “At The Kings Pleasure” which is slated for release in 2012

FTC- Sent by the author
PG-13 Sexual Reference

Secrets of the Tudor Court: The Pleasure PalaceSecrets of the Tudor Court: Between Two QueensSecrets of the Tudor Court: By Royal Decree
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  1. Great review! An interesting take on the Tudor period, with William and Bess in the spotlight. I too love to read about courtiers, it's a nice change from the royals who have been written page up and page down on already.

  2. I like that she writes about people that are less well known. I didn't care for her last book too much, but will probably give this one a try.

  3. I like the new look.
    These look like very intriguing reads. If only one's reading budget were equal to one's reading desires.

  4. Malena, I love Emerson's books because all of them seem to be interesting takes on the courtiers of Tudor times. You are right in my mind the courtiers are a whole new spin on Tudors. I am tired of reading about the same people over and over but it is completely different with the Kate's choice of main protagonists.

    Daphne, really I loved the second one the story for me was full of dark secrets. Nan from the second on is in this one too briefly. I know Catherine had a brother but what I did not know was what happened to him after she died. After reading this it spins my brain to think that what he went through in Henry's court was just the tip of the Tudor ice berg for him.

  5. Ha missed you Pricilla but I got you now. I know I want all the books every single one of them in the world, I have labeled myself as "book greedy". I can not help it, it is like a sickness once it happens it can not stop. I know that Target has picked up Emerson's novels and that is actually how I got hooked into her. I ran across a copy at Target of the first book in the series, Target carries some HF and it is usually marked below the cover cost. If you get a chance check out there sometime. I get a lot of books from there like the new re-prints of Jena Plaidy and Philippa Gregory.

  6. Pricilla I forgot to say thank you I am glad you like the new look. It was time for the 2011 overhaul.

  7. So glad you enjoyed this book! I will be reading it shortly and am really looking forward to it.

    I know I mentioned it before, but I must say once again: I absolutely love what you have done with your blog layout :)

  8. This is a nice change and a new angle to the period. thanks and I am so glad I can get into your site from another computer.

  9. Heard nothing but great things about this series. Great review and thanks for the recommendation :)

  10. Svea, you will enjoy it, I love that it was a new story to me that was still set in the Tudor court. Kate always amazes me with her picks of characters. Thank you, it was hard going to the new editor but I did it and I am really happy with it this time around.

    Mystica, finally you came back YAY!!!! I knew the blog renovation would work. You were my main motivation for the site over haul. I am so glad to see you can finally get my page to load. Hopefully there will be no more problems like that in the future.

    Jenny Girl, I can not stomach too many Tudor as of late this is really about the only way I can manage it anymore. Kate give such a different prospective it is not like reading about the same people over and over.


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