In 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.
Historical (Biographical) Romance
Tudor England (1533)
Heat Rating: 1.5
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Review by Lizzie English
Normally Kate Emerson’s books are highly enjoyable to me. They take on a little known view in the Tudor court, something that’s just mentioned in passing and brought together in a wonderful novel. This one, was lacking the wonderfulness. This time Emerson takes the small fact that King Henry VIII took a mistress in the years of 1533 and again in 1534 in the beginning years of his marriage to Anne Boleyn. She is never named, and in this novel Emerson gives her a name: Thomasine Lodge .
After her brother and father die at a young age she is bought and her new guardian ships her off to be a lady in waiting to the young Mary Tudor. Tamsin has reservations because Mary is younger than her, she was forced into the job and what would she have in common with a princess? That changes quickly which blossoms into love for her mistress. Tamsin is one of her most loyal and fiercest champions and forgets her initial task of trying to raise her guardian in the Royal house, but instead raises herself without knowing it. It is through luck and sheer wit that she is able to swindle a job with the rising Anne Boleyn while still remaining loyal to her original mistress.
It is through that that she gains the attention of King Henry and the story becomes just like any other Tudor novel. All about the lying and the backstabbing and being loyal to yourself. Tamsin was a decent narrator but she didn’t have many views and would often bring up the same view that she had a few years previous. Which shows to the reader that she didn’t really grow as a person or a narrator through the novel. Her character didn’t seem too flushed out and was rather annoying and naive through the novel.
The history is there, sorda, nothing is too concrete and a few things seem to be missing that should define a solid moment in time. If there was more history here, more description and not over 200 pages of the same things over, it would’ve been a bit more enjoyable. This was all about Tamsin’s time at court, but it was highly more interesting to see what would’ve happened to her afterward and with that we get only a paragraph. And no mention of what happens to her friendship with Mary, with whom she was most loyal.