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AT THE KING'S PLEASURE
Genre: Historical Romance, England, Tudor Period
Emerson has built her series on the lives and loves of the many women who surrounded Henry VIII. She has chosen the Stafford family whose loyalties are tested and whose daughter Anne is the centerpiece for this fictionalized biography. Anne is not as powerful or intriguing a woman as those previously chosen by Emerson. There is a blandness surrounding her even though Emerson provides interesting historical details. Only true Tudorphiles will savor this novel.
After her husband’s death Lady Anne Stafford returns to her brother’s household until he can arrange another marriage. With one brother in the Tower and the other domineering and impossible to live with, Anne is pleased to wed George, Baron Hastings and become one of Catherine of Aragon’s ladies-in-waiting. A year after her wedding Anne becomes the center of a scandal after being caught with Sir William Compton (the king’s man) in her chambers. Anne is swiftly taken to a convent and then to her husband’s home. Rumors fly that William is her lover or perhaps Henry VIII’s procurer leading Anne to become Henry’s next mistress. Still a strong bond exists between Anne and William; one of courtly love, not physical passion. Anne lives quietly with her husband until each is called back to court even as Anne’s brother is executed for treason. (GALLERY, Sep., 350 pp., $16.00)
Reviewed By: Kathe Robin
Published: September 2011