Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Sapere Books
Pub date: 24 June 2022
Will Thomasin choose duty – or love…?
At seventeen, Thomasin Marwood is plunged into court society when a husband is found for her elder sister, Cecilia.
But the mood at court is tense. It is split between the conservative Catholics, loyal to Queen Catherine of Aragon, and the fashionable Francophiles, enthralled by King Henry’s mistress, Anne Boleyn.
While her parents sympathise with the old queen and her faith, Thomasin can not help but be drawn to the glamour and vitality Anne represents.
And her head is soon turned by the tall, dark and handsome Rafe Danvers who seems equally entranced with her.
But as a ward of Anne’s father, Sir Thomas Boleyn, Rafe represents the “other” side, of which Thomasin’s parents are unlikely to approve. And they have already lined up their own candidate for Thomasin’s hand, Sir Giles Waterson, who comes from wealth and good standing.
Thomasin finds herself torn between duty and the desire Rafe has aroused in her. But when she is drawn into a dark plot concerning Queen Catherine, she realises the court is far more dangerous than it appears…
Which path, and with whom, will she choose?
I’m a huge fan of Amy Licence’s nonfiction works so was very intrigued to read a fiction book. The cover for this is beautiful, which is what caught my eye initially.
It comes as no surprise that the details of the Tudor world from the court, clothes and pastimes are exquisite, clearly Amy had used her knowledge to create a story where you can picture the beautiful dresses, gardens and dancing.
Descriptives aside, the story of Thomasin delves into the events and what life at court may have been like, especially for someone who had not been brought up there. The story is set at a time when loyalties were split between Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn which meant Thomasin walking on eggshells and being completely naive about others intentions.
There’s definitely a twist in this book which I won’t spoil for anyone but it was a surprise and works brilliantly.
There’s some fabulous fictional characters featuring alongside individuals such as Henry VIII and the Boleyns. Cecilia is a character that I couldn’t decide if I liked or not, whilst Thomasin and her father are likeable from the beginning. I also really liked the portrayal of Queen Catherine and was very happy with the ending of the story.
Rafe is the character I was wary of from the beginning but I did like Sir Giles who becomes a central figure in the story and I’m interested to see if he appears again in the future, I do hope so.
I eagerly look forward to more from Thomasin and her family and friends with the second book Troubled Queen due to be released in December 2022.
Amy does explain who is fictional in the story which may help those unfamiliar with the Tudor court but even if you are this is an enthralling story that I thoroughly enjoyed.
Thank you to Sapere Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.