Alice Petherton is well practiced at using her beauty and wits to survive in the Court of King Henry VIII. As the King’s favorite, she enjoys his protection, but after seeing the downfall of three of his wives, she’s determined to avoid the same fate. Alice must walk a fine line between mistress and wife.
She finds a powerful protector in Thomas Cromwell, and Alice has every reason to believe that she will continue to enjoy a life of wealth and comfort at Court…until she puts everything at risk by falling in love with a Frenchman, Nicholas Bourbon.
When Cromwell is executed, Alice loses her only ally and flees to France. There she hopes to live in peace with Nicholas. But Alice is lured into a perilous game of treason, and peace doesn’t last long. Will Alice get back the life and love she’s fought for? Or will she lose herself to the whims of a capricious monarch?
First, I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing a copy of this book. What first captured my attention was the title. I thought, how unusual and I liked it. Though with my busy schedule I read this novel in four days. I did NOT want to put it down. This is the first book I have read of Martin Lake and I am now a fan!
I love his portrayal of Cromwell! I actually like the man in this story. If you know the history, you know his demise and how Martin portrayed that was very powerful and believable. So many great men lost under Henry’s rule.
As I was reading the story I couldn’t help keep thinking that I am so glad I wasn’t alive or one of the members during King Henry VIII court. Yikes! The man’s moods were so up and down and vicious! As his health and eating habits became worse, the more suspicious and paranoid he became. What a miserable existence. One never knows what he will do to you if you made him mad!
I love Alice, though I would have liked to shake her sometimes! She couldn’t help but get herself in sticky situations! But she is a true testament of a survivor and wins the heart of many. I would like to read more about her.
There were several notable characters and locations in the story I enjoyed reading about. Nonsuch Palace, Dover Castle and the French Castles comes to mind and then there was Ralph Sadler, Suffolk. Cranmer, Norfolk-archival to Thomas Cromwell, Master Hans Holbein, Marillac, Katheryn Howard- to name a few…Brilliant character development there.
There is so much to this novel. I am adding this among my favorite Tudor stories. Truly a gem and so well written. I will be on the lookout for more books by Martin Lake!
I rated this book four stars.
Stephanie M. Hopkins