Mary Tudor, the headstrong younger sister of the ruthless King Henry VIII, has always been her brother’s favorite-but now she is also an important political bargaining chip. When she is promised to the elderly, ailing King Louis of France, a heartbroken Mary accepts her fate, but not before extracting a promise from her brother: When the old king dies, her next marriage shall be solely of her choosing. For Mary has a forbidden passion, and is determined, through her own cunning, courage, and boldness, to forge her own destiny. The Secret Bride is the triumphant tale of one extraordinary woman who meant to stay true to her heart and live her life just as her royal brother did- by her own rules…
Excerpt from The Secret Bride:
“Mary was upstairs, and what he did next would affect not only his own life, but perhaps history. She might be meant to marry another king… beget a great dynasty… he could be taking a destiny from her greater than giving her a common life with him. Charles missed Anne so keenly just then, the trusted counsel of a sister, her honesty with him, and her humor. At this moment, he even missed Henry whose raw clarity in things never wavered. If he could see the king’s face, as he always had—read his expression—he would know far better what to do.
As the French king advised, he had written to Wolsey and explained the situation, but of course the letter could not possibly arrive in London in time. The sound of Mary’s weeping still echoed through his mind, haunting him with thoughts of all he stood to lose. If I should wait… and lose her love because of it…if she should be married off to another because I paused for too long… He closed his eyes. Heavenly Father, I am at a crossroads, I know not want to do… She is my love, my heart… but he is my king… I cannot think how I am to honor one and betray the other.
When he went to her chamber a quarter of an hour later, he knew what scrutiny he would face from the French ladies there. There would be no turning back from the gossip it would cause. Whatever they decided to do, soon the world would know their secret and the cocoon of secrecy in which they had always lived would be gone forever. But he realized, only by seeing her one more time would be know the right path to take. He owed them both that. When he could put it off no longer, he rose, made the sign of the cross, and began the long walk to where Mary, and destiny waited.”
Diane Haeger, who also writes as Anne Girard, is the author of 15 historical novels, most of them based on true stories from history. Her stories are drawn from a range of countries and eras including the French Renaissance, Georgian England, the American Civil War, to a series called In The Court of Henry VIII. Her most recent novel, Madame Picasso, details an early love affair in Paris between the famous artist and his muse. Her next novel, to be published later this year, is Platinum Doll, about 1930’s movie star Jean Harlow. Haeger holds a bachelor’s degree in English literature and a master’s degree in clinical psychology. She lives in California with her husband and children.