In this return to the reimagined Tudor court of Henry IX, it is fascinating to be a part of Andersen’s world — watching, listening and taking in what readers know as historical fact and what the author has built on the premise that Anne Boleyn gave birth to a living son. The intrigues and dangers of the court are there, the political battles and religious turmoil are there and the key characters (Mary and Elizabeth) are in place — and the reader constantly wonders if history will repeat itself. Andersen keeps readers captive with her keen sense of storytelling, clever plotting and realistic characters. This is a wonderful “what if.”

Henry IX, better known as William, has finally come into his own. But it is a world torn apart by religious strife, rumors of war and intrigues at court. William only trusts three people: his sister Elizabeth, his best friend Dominic and his mother’s ward and Elizabeth’s friend, Minuette. As political pressure grows, William agrees to wed the Catholic French princess, Mary, to prevent a war, though he secretly hopes to marry the woman he loves, Minuette. In turn, Minuette loves Dominic and walks the finest line between her head and her heart. William is caught in plots on his life and a romantic triangle that threatens the kingdom. (BALLANTINE, Nov. 416 pp., $15.00)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin