Tag Archive | Henry VIII

In A Treacherous Court by Michelle Diener

In A Treacherous Court

Publisher’s Blurb:

An unconventional woman. A deadly enemy. A clash of intrigue, deception, and desire. . . . 1525: Artist Susanna Horenbout is sent from Belgium to be Henry VIII’s personal illuminator inside the royal palace. But her new homeland greets her with an attempt on her life, and the King’s most lethal courtier, John Parker, is charged with keeping her safe. As further attacks are made, Susanna and Parker realize that she unknowingly carries the key to a bloody plot against the throne. For while Richard de la Pole amasses troops in France for a Yorkist invasion, a traitor prepares to trample the kingdom from within.Who is the mastermind? Why are men vying to kill the woman Parker protects with his life? With a motley gang of urchins, Susanna’s wits, and Parker’s fierce instincts, honed on the streets and in palace chambers, the two slash through deadly layers of deceit in a race against time. For in the court of Henry VIII, secrets are the last to die. . . .Brilliantly revealing a little-known historical figure who lived among the Tudors, Michelle Diener makes a smashing historical fiction debut.

RHLR Classifications:

Time Frame:  Tudor Court

Heat Level:  2

Review Rating:  4 Stars

Review by Susan

A letter written by Henry VIII when he was a teenager touting his worship of the majestic warrior Cesare Borgia ignites a scandal and a plot to replace the reigning Tudor Court with the Yorkist heir Richard de la Pole as the English Sovereign in Michelle Diener’s historical romance In a Treacherous Court from Gallery Books.  A tale which involves a slew of assassins and spymasters, Diener’s book is fast paced seamlessly connecting the rapidly evolving stages and having the entire story transpire within a few days, a quality which her story shares with Dan Brown’s novels.

The sequences move along a linear course but never fall flat or skimp on details.  Diener’s characters show depth as well as a likeness to people who are indicative of sixteenth century England.  The dialogue has a natural flow and the expressive mannerisms of both the main and peripheral characters exhibit a human essence that readers can envision.  Diener shows an appreciation and a visceral pathos for Henry VIII the man, as the leading characters defend the king and work to unveil the conspiracies whirling around London and endangering the political and economic stability of England.

When a cloth merchant escapes France on board a ship sailing for Dover, England, his injuries are life threatening forcing him to confide his findings of a conspiracy against King Henry to a fellow passenger, Susanna Horenbout, a Flemish artist who by request of the king is traveling to England to be his illuminator.  Henry sends his courtier John Parker, the King’s Keeper of the Palace of Westminster, to escort the cloth merchant to Bridewell Palace, but when the merchant dies during the Channel crossing, Parker becomes Horenbout’s escort to the king instead.   The pair becomes inseparable as several attempts are made on Susanna’s life causing them to investigate the information provided to her by the cloth merchant.

Block by block, Diener builds a credible tale enmeshing staggering fight scenes with clever schemes orchestrated by shrewd strategists who threaten Henry VIII’s court.  Though In a Treacherous Court is deemed a work of fiction, it reads like a documented account taken from a biopic on Henry VIII, clad in the duality of heedless deception and fierce loyalty which the king had been known for inspiring in his subjects.

Lady in Deed by Ann Montclair

 Lady in Deed

Published: December 7, 2012

Publisher’s Blurb:

November 1533

Piety or passion… What’s a lady to do?

Lady Mary Rutherford believed she would live her entire life as a nun. But when King Henry VIII’s reformist movement makes practicing religion a dangerous proposition, Mary is forced to begin a new life with a family she doesn’t know. Worse, she must become lady of the manor, a role for which she feels sorely unprepared.

After a decade of service to his king, Lord Trenton Stanley returns home to find his estate in ruins, his fortune depleted, and his doddering father drooling over Mary—a woman Trent fears has been installed to replace his mother. Trent strives to rebuild his life, but his desire for Mary becomes a serious distraction he can’t seem to ignore.

Though Mary is anxious to prove she’s a worthy lady, she’s tempted by the rakish Trent into deeds most unladylike…

Tags: Romance, Historical, Scotland, Highlander

Time Frame: England 1533, Tudor England

Heat Level: 1.5

REVIEW RATING : 3.5 stars


Tudor England is one of the most fascinating times in English history to me. Henry VIII absolutely fascinates me. All the decisions he made for his own benefit and the consequences of those actions shaped a nation. Whether those consequences made England better or worse, we’ll never know as we can’t go back in time to explore another option.

Lady in Deed is set in Tudor England. Henry VIII has separated from the Holy Roman Church. Ann Boleyn is sitting on the throne. Catholics are being persecuted. It’s not safe to be a practicing Catholic. Men and women have died over it.

Lady Mary Rutherford has been cloistered in a nunnery since she was 10 years old. She had every intention of becoming a nun. With the dangers of being Catholic, the Abbey is closing it’s doors and Mary is forced to flee the Abbey. Her guardian has sent a carriage for her. On the way to her guardian’s manor, she and the coach driver come across Lord Stanley, her guardian. Lord Stanley mistakes Mary for a lady of ill repute and treats her as such. Poor Mary. She’s never been kissed, never held hands and most certainly never been touched that way! Thus begins the relationship between Mary and Trenton, Lord Stanley.

Lord Stanley and Lady Mary form a tenuous friendship that soon blossoms into more. However, Lord Stanley keeps putting the halt on things while Lady Mary keeps pressing forward. I found this paradox interesting. Even though she had been cloistered in a nunnery, she was very open about her feelings and what she wanted. I actually liked that about her. It was refreshing. One would expect she would be repressed from living in the nunnery, but she wasn’t. I also liked that it was Lord Stanley that was busy putting the brakes on things. Oh, don’t worry, he has a good reason!

The conflicts between Lady Mary and Lord Stanley were realistic and added to the story. I liked that they didn’t continue to hold a grudge against the other person. Although when Lady Mary finally had enough and read him the riot act, I was cheering her on!

I was so excited about this book. Tudor England, a great premise, I was so excited. Part of that story lived up to my expectations and yet I still found myself wanting a bit more. I wanted a bit more conflict and angst. This was a very straightforward love story. There were several opportunities to provide more conflict and drama to the story, but instead it was very mild.

The love scenes in this story were sweet. They definitely added to the story of Lady Mary and Lord Stanley. They helped carry the story forward and provided some of the conflict they had to overcome. However, most of it was written in flowery prose. I’m not a huge fan of flowery prose and I found myself wanting something less poetic. I think some of the wording was meant as a metaphor for Lady Mary having been cloistered in a nunnery and her life changing. While I can appreciate that on an intellectual level, on an emotional level I didn’t care for it.

This was definitely worth reading. I recommend it for anyone who likes Tudor England and wants a pretty straightforward historical romance.

**At the time of the review, this book was available from Amazon for $4.99**


I am a happily married mother of three very busy children.  Most of my time is spent chauffeuring my kids to their various activities. I cram reading into any spare moment I have. Some days I can have an hour or two and others I’m sneaking in quick reads while waiting on the kids to finish their soccer or gymnastics practice. I like to read a wide variety of genres but I definitely prefer romance. I can’t really pinpoint a favorite author as it changes on a regular basis. I absolutely love finding new authors and giving their stories a chance to be heard. We all have a voice in our heads writing stories and those voices should be given a chance to be heard.