Category Archives: Kate Emerson

The King’s Damsel (Secrets of the Tudor Court #5) by Kate Emerson

The King's Damsel
Another fabulous Tudor novel to stay up late with!

The King’s Damsel (Secrets of the Tudor Court #5) by Kate Emerson
Simon and Schuster, August 2012
Paperback 384 pages
Review copy provided by the author, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:AWESOME, and Highly Recommended

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.
A real-life letter from Spanish Ambassador Eustace Chapuys, written on September 27, 1534, reported that the king had “renewed and increased the love he formerly bore to another very handsome young lady of the Court” and that the queen had tried “to dismiss the damsel from her service.” Other letters from Eustace reveal that the mystery woman was a “true friend” of the Princess (later Queen) Mary, Henry’s daughter by Catherine of Aragon. Though no one knows who “the king’s damsel” really was, here Kate Emerson presents her as young gentlewoman Thomasine Lodge, a lady-in-waiting to King Henry’s daughter, Princess Mary. Thomasine becomes the Princess’s confidante, especially as Henry’s marriage to Catherine dissolves and tensions run high. When the king procures a divorce in order to marry Anne Boleyn, who is suspicious and distrustful of Mary, Mary has Thomasine placed in Anne’s service to be her eyes and ears. And that’s when she gets the attention of the king…

Rich in historical detail and featuring a w
ealth of bonus material, The King’s Damsel is sure to keep readers coming back for more in the exciting series!

Read my reviews of the previous books in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series:
The Pleasure Palace (Book 1)
Between Two Queens (Book 2)
By Royal Decree (Book 3)
At The King’s Pleasure (Book 4)

I love love love love love Kate Emerson! That’s five loves for each of her books in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series that I’ve read. This fifth one is much like the others with lesser known Tudor characters, and these are all stand alone novels which makes it easy to pick this one up if you haven’t read the others.

The King’s Damsel alludes to the possible dalliance between King Henry and another mistress, but do not get discouraged if you think you’ve heard this story before. Since this time our main protagonist is the entirely fictional Thomasine Lodge the author is able to spin a new story for us that is set against the backdrop of the always scandalized Tudor courts. Thomasine is sent to King Henry’s daughter’s household, to be a maid of honor to the Princess Mary. We get to learn a lot of the details and the important figures of the period and the setting of Princess Mary’s household which has not really been delved into before. Princess Mary is aged nine when Thomasine enters her household, and Anne Boleyn is just becoming the apple of King Henry’s eye. Where we would normally think of the moniker Bloody Mary, we instead are privy to the younger mind of the Princess, and can feel sympathy for her as her world is torn apart when King Henry divorces her mother and chooses Anne Boleyn.

With all this going on, we also are treated to Thomasine’s story. She is an orphan and not at an age where she can legally inherit what will be hers, and Lionel Daggett is appointed her guardian over her vast estate. He is an ominous character who only seeks wealth and status, and he is in complete control of Thomasine’s inheritance. We eagerly await the time when Thomasine can kick out the odious man, but that proves difficult. Thomasine is an enjoyable character who was easily likable, and the characterizations of the main Tudor historical figures are portrayed well. Anne Boleyn was haughty, Princess Mary was naive but shrewd, King Henry was pretty much his usual mix of an enigma of King and Man, and Catherine of Aragon was an afterthought. The entourage of the maids of honor and the servants provided a believable network creating the Tudor environment that the reader can sink their teeth into. The side note of the almost-romance provides a bit of a fun dalliance, but is never taken seriously throughout the novel, and provides an all too tidy ending.

I noticed this time around with the supporting Tudor figures, the titles and names were not overly explained, so that newcomers to the Tudor era may find themselves a little confused as to who was who (not knowing their historical significance). Obviously not a problem for me since I’ve read quite a few Tudor books, but I wanted to give fair warning for possible confusion. Also, as expected in some Tudor novels, there were quite a few convenient moments where Thomasine was able to eavesdrop on private conversations, but since she was spying for both Anne and Princess Mary this was shrugged off. I am happy to say there were no spying through the actual keyhole moments, but there were cleverly placed window alcoves and curtains.

There are times when I hear of yet another Tudor novel coming out and I want to scream, but I always look forward to Kate Emerson’s work. With Kate Emerson’s writing, you know what you are going to get. Her Secrets of the Tudor Court series are always cleverly descriptive and her passion for the Tudor era is evident. She skillfully weaves her stories blending fiction and fact to bring us the intriguing slice of life scenes set against a favorite period, and the novels are always page-turners. The King’s Damsel is no different, and I highly recommend it to historical fiction fans and especially Tudor fiction fans.

Book six, Royal Inheritance, will be out in 2013:
The protagonist of Royal Inheritance is Audrey Malte, allegedly the illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII. Audrey was raised as the “bastard daughter” of John Malte, the king’s tailor.



Filed under 2012 Releases, 2012 Review, Bloody Mary, Kate Emerson, Tudor

Review: At The King’s Pleasure (Secrets of the Tudor Court Book 4) by Kate Emerson


The cover that would match the rest of the series, but not the cover that they stayed with 😦

At The King’s Pleasure (Secrets of the Tudor Court Book 4) by Kate Emerson
Gallery Books, January 3, 2012
Paperback 384 pages
Review copy provided by the author, thank you!
Burton Book Review Rating:4 stars

Having read all of the author’s previous Secrets of the Tudor Court books, I had anticipated this installment since day one. I was disappointed with the publisher’s choice to change the publication date from August to January (and disappointed with the cover change), but good things come to those who wait. Emerson writes of the Tudor period with ease and eloquence, including many historical details but without over burdening the novel with facts. Although this Tudor series is focused during the popular reign of Henry VIII or his father, Emerson writes of the lesser known characters, and includes some fictional characters as well. This fourth installment, which can be read as a stand-alone, focuses on Lady Anne Stafford, daughter of Henry Stafford and Katherine Woodville, during the earlier days of Henry VIII’s reign. The story was less focused on the courts and the politics and read much more like Anne’s personal story which was a refreshing change of pace for a Tudor novel. Making it even more enjoyable was the clarity the author gives to these lesser known figures of the Tudor era, which always sparks off even more of an obsessive interest in the Tudor courts.

We are introduced to Anne as a young widow at her haughty brother Edward’s disposal. Her other brother is temporarily in the Tower, so it is Edward who always pulls the strings of the Stafford family. Soon enough Lady Anne marries George Hastings, an amiable and likable young man. He isn’t Will Compton, though, and Lady Anne has caught his eye as well as the young King Henry’s. When Edward sees Compton with Anne, Edward hastily sends Anne away to a nunnery (telling her husband to bring her there) and Anne vows revenge: “And if she ever had the opportunity to pay him back in kind and soil his reputation as he’d soiled hers, she would seize upon it without hesitation.”

Anne has a time of it to attempt to rebuild her reputation, as behind the scenes the Cardinal enjoys taunting her with his power over the king and the court. Above all, she wishes for her husband George to realize the truth of the matter, yet she lets things spiral out of control. She does get a bit of revenge on her meddlesome brother, although she didn’t expect it the way it played out. The character development of Lady Anne is well portrayed while Anne copes with the turmoils of her heart. The relationship with her brother Edward Stafford is much at the forefront, and his own realtionships with his mistress and wife play a part as well. Edward starts to believe he is destined to rule England someday, but it is because of a prophecy that he holds on to this dream. Those well-versed in history will know what becomes of Edward Stafford and his dreams..

I have always enjoyed Emerson’s style of writing for its quickness of plot while still inserting many historical details into the storyline. The secondary characters of the Tudor court are always made much more intriguing with Emerson’s pen, and I would recommend this novel of Anne Stafford to anyone interested in the Duke of Buckingham and his family. I was pleasantly surprised that the King himself wasn’t more featured here, as the story really did revolve around Lady Anne and her relationships. As with most Tudor fiction, the author felt obligated to insert facts and names/titles into conversations which seemed out of place at times, but was done in order to better acclimate the reader to the many courtiers involved during the storyline. Aside from a few of these awkward moments, I enjoyed yet another of Emerson’s Secrets of The Tudor Court novels. Emerson has also compiled a long list of notables of the Tudor times with her Who’s Who of Tudor Women database which can be found online or as a download from
Kate Emerson will visit HF-Connection on her release day of At The King’s Pleasure on 1/3/2012, be sure to check for that.. and if you want to peruse my recent posts and reviews of the author’s work, visit this link at the Burton Book Review.


Filed under 16th Century, 2011 Reviews, 2012 Releases, Bess Blount, Kate Emerson, Tudor

>Book Review: Secrets of the Tudor Court: By Royal Decree by Kate Emerson


Secrets of the Tudor Court: By Royal Decree by Kate Emerson
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Gallery (December 14, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-1439177815
Review copy provided by the author, thanks so very much!
The Burton Review Rating: Great Tudor Fiction

Charming. Desirable. Forbidden. Brought to court with other eligible young noblewomen by the decree of King Henry VIII, lovely Elizabeth “Bess” Brooke realizes for the first time that beauty can be hazardous. Although Bess has no desire to wed the aging king, she and her family would have little choice if Henry’s eye were to fall on her. And other dangers exist as well, for Bess has caught the interest of dashing courtier Will Parr. Bess finds Will’s kisses as sweet as honey, but marriage between them may be impossible. Will is a divorced man, and remarriage is still prohibited. Bess and Will must hope that the king can be persuaded to issue a royal decree allowing Will to marry again . . . but to achieve their goal, the lovers will need royal favor. Amid the swirling alliances of royalty and nobles, Bess and Will perform a dangerous dance of palace intrigue and pulse-pounding passions.

Brought to glowing life by the talented Kate Emerson, and seen through the eyes of a beautiful young noblewoman, By Royal Decree illuminates the lives of beautiful young courtiers in and out of the rich and compelling drama of the Tudor court.

I really enjoyed Kate Emerson’s previous two novels in her Secrets of the Tudor Court series (reviews here), and Kate has an awesome Who’s Who in the Tudor Courts E-book that is really fun to peruse. She included a mini Who’s Who in the end of her latest novel By Royal Decree, as well as maps in the beginning of the book. Instead of another novel focused on the specific royal Tudors, Emerson writes about the Tudor courts from a bystander’s point of view, or another lesser known member of the peerage. In her last novel, she wrote of Nan Bassett, who made an appearance in Royal Decree as well. Royal Decree follows the life of Elizabeth Brooke, who is called Bess. The elder Elizabeth Brooke was Bess’ grandmother who was shunned by her husband Thomas Wyatt. The novel begins as Bess is just getting the opportunity to be a lady in waiting and to be a part of the royal courts in that type of capacity.

She falls in love with Queen Kathryn’s brother, Will Parr, but he is not available. The story then evolves around the political moves of the courts as King Henry is dying, and factions are developing. The different factions have different opinions as to how Will Parr’s previous marriage should be handled, and Will and Bess are forced to wait out the royal courts as they wish for a positive outcome. Bess and Will become foolish, and take matters into their own hands. but how will the Privy Council react? How will Bess’ family react when Bess refuses to listen to reason? The romance of the couple depends on who wins the political race towards the crown, and one never knows who is spying on whom for whom. I found Bess to be impetuous, but likable, but not incredibly rounded as far as characteristics. Will Parr seemed to be the epitome of the knight in shining armor, and they seemed well suited.

What I love about Kate Emerson’s writing style is that she imparts special little details such as the food of the times, the dress, the mannerisms, but she doesn’t lay it on too thick to be a history lesson. Tudor fanatics will also enjoy the familiar faces that are mentioned, from Norfolk wasting in the tower, to the impressionable young Elizabeth who later becomes the formidable Queen. Tom Seymour the ladies’ man is back, and causes a stir with his hatred for his brother Edward Seymour the Lord Protector; and the conniving wife of his Anne is someone you will love to hate. I kept my ears perked for the Dudley brothers as well who came and went from the story as did several other highly placed names. All in all, another intelligent but passionate installment of the Secrets of Tudor Courts series from Kate Emerson that I recommend to those who are interested in the lives of those who both watched the intrigue from the sidelines and created some of their own.


Filed under 16th Century, 2010 Releases, 2010 Review, Kate Emerson, Tudor

>New Tudor Book Alert!

>Hot off the presses via Simon Schuster Alert in my E-mailbox this morning:

The third installment in Kate Emerson’s Tudor series:

Secrets of the Tudor Court: By Royal Decree will be released on December 14, 2010 in Trade Paperback!!! I cannot WAIT to see this cover.. Emerson’s previous books have been blessed with some very pretty embossed covers.

I found Emerson’s books to be a refreshing look at the intrigues of the Tudor courts through fictionalized characters that Emerson brings to life:

See my review of Secrets of the Tudor Court: The Pleasure Palace, released February 2009.
See my review of Secrets of The Tudor Court: Between Two Queens released January 2010.

See all of my other previous Kate Emerson posts, which includes a fascinating guest post from the author.

Remember, don’t confuse this series with the new book coming out by D.L. Bogdan, titled Secrets of The Tudor Court, which is releasing April 27, 2010. Confused yet?

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Filed under 2010 Releases, Kate Emerson

>Teaser Tuesday~ Between Two Queens by Kate Emerson


TEASER TUESDAYS is hosted by ShouldBeReading and asks you to:
♠Grab your current read.
♠Let the book fall open to a random page.
♠Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page.
♠You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

“It was a pity that her opportunity had been lost, but she was no worse off than she had been and she’d been spared the onerous task of pretending, night after night, perhaps for years, that the king was a wonderful lover. Perhaps she’d had a lucky escape.”~p. 190


Filed under Kate Emerson, Meme, Teaser Tuesdays, Tudor

>Book Review: The Secrets of The Tudor Court: Between Two Queens by Kate Emerson


Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket (January 5, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-1416583271
Review copy provided by the author
The Burton Review Rating:Four Stars

Product Description:

Pretty, flirtatious, and ambitious. Nan Bassett hopes that an appointment at the court of King Henry VIII will bring her a grand marriage. But soon after she becomes a maid of honor to Queen Jane, the queen dies in childbirth. As the court plunges into mourning, Nan sets her sights on the greatest match in the land…for the king has noticed her. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time King Henry has chosen to wed a maid of honor. And in newly Protestant England, where plots to restore the old religion abound, Nan may be the only one who can reassure a suspicious king of her family’s loyalty. But the favor of a king can be dangerous and chancy, not just for Nan, but for her family as well…and passionate Nan is guarding a secret, one that could put her future — and her life — in grave jeopardy should anyone discover the truth.

Based on the life of the real Anne Bassett and her family, and drawing extensively from letters and diaries of the time, Between Two Queens is an enthralling picture of the dangers and delights of England’s most passionate era.

In Kate Emerson’s second installment in the Secrets of The Tudor Court series, Emerson brings to life the character she imagines as Nan Bassett. Called ‘Nan’ by her friends, there is not a lot known about Anne Bassett, this mistress of Henry VIII, except that he had courted her briefly. How far that went is unknown, but Henry seemed to be fond of her. The author takes this a bit further, and has Nan in the midst of Tudor court intrigues, as a maid of honor to Jane Seymour, albeit quite briefly due to Queen Jane’s death; and then as a maid of honor to Anne of Cleves, and eventually to Queen Mary Tudor.

But we are treated to more than just the coquettish ways of the courtiers: the author cleverly inserts facts of the times such as habits and foods, and the politics of the factions within the court as well. The writing style is adept at inserting these facts without turning it into a history lesson, and those readers who would truly like to learn more about the customs and traditions of Tudor England will appreciate the references the author relays. Along with the many details offered, there is a wide cast of characters within the novel, from Nan’s large family to the courtiers and the movers and shakers of the time. The author supplies a genealogical chart, and an informative Who’s Who section as well.

Since Nan spent time in Calais, then still an English possession, we are also privy to the unrest in Calais. Nan’s stepfather, to whom the author portrays as being close to Nan, was Lord Lisle, Deputy of Calais, otherwise known as Arthur Plantagenet. He was the illegitimate son of Edward IV, and Henry VIII’s uncle. Lord Lisle becomes implicated in a treasonous plot, along with some of the family members, while Nan needs to find ways to help her family without implicating herself in the process. Thomas Cromwell figures heavily here as well, as Cromwell dislikes Lord Lisle and believes he is incompetent in Calais. When Lord Lisle was arrested in 1540, the letters that were seized during this arrest were preserved, which in turn did historians a great service.

Nan’s mother is also featured, who was Honor Grenville, and in her second marriage to Lord Lisle had found herself in a higher standing than she had enjoyed with her previous husband; whom she had her children by. Emerson doesn’t go into great detail regarding the personal lives of the many siblings of Nan; they are seen more in the background and perhaps as a bit less than supporting characters. Their mentions are more along the lines of who and when they are going to marry.

Nan would like to have an advantageous marriage herself, and this is the characteristic that we are heavily introduced to in the beginning of Emerson’s novel, which did not endear me to her right away. But, as the novel progressed, Nan’s better side began to show through as if she had matured as we read on, and she was more careful than I expected her to be. Such as when the author takes liberties and invents an affair with one of her father’s men, Ned Corbett, and they have a child together. It was an intriguing storyline that could have ended badly as far as plot and predictability, but the storyline was played out well which was surprising. The author inserted this fictitious affair into the story, but it created an interesting plot and served the story well.

The novel weaves its way through the everyday court life, with comings and goings as we learn more about how life was during the period. There are not a lot of dramatics, but as a reader I came to also hope for Nan’s ultimate goal of securing a stable future for herself. She wisely conducted herself when she was with the king and did not flaunt whatever relationship she and others perceived her to have with him. When Catherine Howard comes into the picture, Nan doesn’t fight for a place as Henry’s mistress, as we would expect her to do, and I found this refreshing. It seems that Nan did ultimately but briefly achieve a sense of happiness, but her life also could be seen as one that was full of hardship and sacrifice.

I was intrigued by the way that Emerson portrayed Catherine Howard, which was more as shrewd young woman rather than the naive twit that we are used to. I enjoyed the name dropping the author deftly employed as I enjoy trying to place who was where, when and why; although those newer to the time period may find the multitude of names confusing and unwarranted. Emerson seems to take great care to provide her readers with a full sense of the Tudor times, with all of the main characters present.

The use of the title Between Two Queens made me think… as the book was not necessarily about two queens. But the fact that Nan was ‘stuck’ between two queens could be cause for discussion. Nan’s only source of income and status was as a maid of honor, and she was briefly one for Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Mary Tudor. Much of the focus is within the time period that Henry was looking for a wife, and Henry was without one when Jane had died after childbirth. There was a time when Christina of Milan was purpoted to be the Queen, but she would not have him. Anne of Cleves was next, and luckily survived the marital state. Catherine Howard, a fellow maid of honor with Nan, was selected as the next Queen. One wonders if Nan had a shrewd uncle, like Catherine had in the Duke of Norfolk, if Nan could have been advanced further. But Nan’s family had clung to the ‘old ways’ and the Catholic religion, although they tried to stay low during the Reformation and Henry’s reign. They did not succeed fully in that endeavor, as Nan’s mother and stepfather were implicated and held in the Botolph plot, thus further tainting Nan’s own reputation.

The author Kate Emerson mentions that she relied heavily on the six volume edition of The Lisle Letters compiled by Muriel St. Clare Byrne, which comprises of multiple family members’ letters and correspondence primarily between the years of 1533 -1540. Emerson astutely derives facts from these letters and reconstructs Nan Bassett’s life surrounding the facts within these letters. As a work of fiction, readers need to be aware that most of what is in this story regarding Nan is what the author imagines “could be true”, but I still enjoyed this story on a Mistress Anne Bassett, for whom will always be within a shroud of mystery, as with many historic figures of Tudor times are. Those who wish for drama akin to Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl may be disappointed, however. As a Tudor junkie myself, I enjoyed the education within the story and the writing style of Kate Emerson made this a pleasurable read for me. Instead of focusing on the life of royalty or kings and queens, this is an endearing work of fiction about a female struggling to maintain a safe existence within the many intrigues of the Tudor Courts.

For those wanting to know, Kate Emerson’s previous Secrets of The Tudor Court: Pleasure Palace is pertaining to a different family altogether. These two novels are stand alone, although I did enjoy the first one as well (see my review). Kate Emerson also created an inspired guest post during the first Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event, and you can read that here at The Burton Review. Kate Emerson is a pseudonym for Kathy Lynn Emerson, and she also writes mysteriesand non-fiction works. She has also created a very interesting website devoted to Tudor women.


Filed under Bloody Mary, Henry VIII, Kate Emerson, Review, Tudor

>HF Bloggers~ Day 3~ Kathy Lynn Emerson Guest Post & Giveaway

>Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Event Giveaways going on so far: (Click link to go to the Giveaway Posts)
Michelle Moran’s Cleopatra’s Daughter
Michelle Moran’s The Heretic Queen
James Patterson’s King Tut
Kathy Lynn Emerson’s Face Down in the Marrow-Bone Pie

Visit the other Historical Fiction Bloggers Round Table Charter Members Blogs to see what they are offering today, such as a Signed Philippa Gregory novel, Karen Essex’s Leonardo’s Swans, and Royal Panoply, and there is a giveaway at Royal Intrigue as well!

Don’t forget to visit the other blogs for more blogger Round Table interviews, yesterday’s was Amy interviewed and guest post at Hist-Fic Chick and today’s Royal Heiress is Lizzy from Historically Obsessed where she is being interviewed by Arleigh at the Historical Fiction site along with a guest post on Catherine Howard, the young naive wife of Henry VIII!

Today’s Spectacular Adventure includes a fabulous author: Please welcome to The Burton Review, author Kate Emerson, author of the “Secrets of The Tudor Court” series. Book one was The Pleasure Palace, (read my review here) and Between Two Queens is being released January 5, 2010. (“Nan Bassett’s goal to marry a nobleman is halted when she falls for handsome but poor Ned.”)

Kate a.k.a Kathy, has taken time out of her busy copy-editing schedule of that book & writing a new one A Royal Decree for the series (which includes the time from Henry VIII’s reign to his daughter Mary’s reign) to offer us a glimpse of one of the other sides of her work. Aside from also writing Historical mysteries called the Face Down series as Kathy Lynn Emerson (read on for this giveaway), writing under another pseudonym Kaitlyn Dunnett, penning several non-fiction books, Kathy has also created a website devoted to Tudor women.

Here is what Kathy had to say about this hobby of hers:

by Kate Emerson

I have a little hobby. Well, okay—my husband calls it an obsession and he may be right. Whatever it is, it is a labor of love and it is very rewarding. Not only does it provide the occasional thrill of solving a mystery but it also supplies me with more ideas than I’ll ever be able to use in my novels about sixteenth-century women.

Forgive me while I fill in a little history. Way back in the “dark ages” (1976-1980), when I made my first attempt at writing historical novels, I wasn’t very good at it. (I’m a much better writer now. Honest!) To make a long story short, I wrote five great long tomes set in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and none of them sold. As I was doing research for those novels and busily collecting rejection letters, I realized that I had accumulated a tremendous amount of information on the real women of the sixteenth century. At that time there was still no such a thing as women’s studies. Women, if they were mentioned in history books at all, were usually referred to only in connection with their husbands and/or fathers. Sometimes scholars didn’t even bother to mention their first names. Several references to interesting women, a footnote here and a sentence, sometimes turned out to be references to the same woman, but if she’d married several times or if her husband or husbands had been elevated in the peerage and she went by several different names in the course of her life, no one bothered to connect the dots to reveal that they were all one woman and that she led an extremely interesting life.

I ended up writing a who’s who of sixteenth-century women. WIVES AND DAUGHTERS: THE WOMEN OF SIXTEENTH-CENTURY ENGLAND was my first published book. It came out in 1984. Unfortunately, with all the discoveries made since then, and with the advent of the Internet to make that information more readily available, it is now horribly out of date. When I launched by website, I decided to include a who’s who to update some of the entries, at least those of the real women who appear in the novel. Little did I know what I was getting into!

Obsession? Probably. I don’t seem to be able to stop myself from adding more entries. For each one I have to do more research. I do much of this online, using genealogies and Google Books, which has digitized many local histories and books on the peerage, as well as biographies and social histories. I still do research in libraries too, borrowing books on Interlibrary loan and buying many oldies but goodies from used book dealers. It’s always a thrill when I find some obscure detail that makes my subject come to life. When I can track down a woman’s family—the names of her parents or what happened to her children—I feel as if I’ve had a major breakthrough.

You’d think that would be enough for me, but no. Not only am I hooked on revamping all those old entries, I add new people too. I can’t seem to stop myself. I keep finding more mysteries to solve. For example, I was doing research for the next book in the SECRETS OF THE TUDOR COURT series, BY ROYAL DECREE, which will take readers from the end of Henry VIII’s reign through those of Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey, and Mary Tudor. I was skimming a book by David Loades titled TWO TUDOR CONSPIRACIES when I spotted a reference to a Mrs. Syvestra Butler, who was arrested for plotting against Queen Mary and saying “I would the King and Queen were in the sea in a bottomless vessel.” Mr. Loades did not identify this lady. In fact, one of the few details he gave was misleading. But her given name alone intrigued me and I started hunting. It took awhile, but eventually I discovered her maiden name (Guise) and more about her family and her involvement in treason. There are still mysteries about her. They may never be solved. But I felt a deep sense of accomplishment at being able to identify her to some extent and she is now included in my “Who’s Who of Tudor Women.” Will I use her in the book? It’s too early to say, but the fact that there were women involved in conspiracy is always useful to know. Since I’m writing fiction, I might take what I learned about Sylvestra Guise and use those details in some other way.

I have no idea how many entries there are in the Who’s Who at present. This is a work in progress and probably always will be. Not only do I keep adding new entries, but I’m constantly going back in to tweak existing entries when I come across new details or find information that contradicts what I’ve already written. The latter happens more frequently than you might imagine. This is good news for novelists. We can pick the version that works best for the story we want to tell. It isn’t so good for those who write nonfiction. That’s why I have a disclaimer on the Who’s Who to say that the entries contain the best information I have but that I am NOT a scholar. The Who’s Who of Tudor Women, like WIVES AND DAUGHTERS before it, is meant to be a starting place for those who are interested in the real women of the time. It identifies interesting Tudor women and reports what is known, or thought to be known, about each of them.

For a few of those women, like Jane Popyncourt (THE PLEASURE PALACE) and Anne Bassett (BETWEEN TWO QUEENS) and Elizabeth Brooke (BY ROYAL DECREE), the Who’s Who entry is also the starting point for a Kate Emerson novel.

The Burton Review Thank you so much Kathy for joining The Burton Review today, and you can also find Kathy at her websites:

Kathy has offered one of her historical mysteries to one of my lucky readers!

This is for the first book in the Lady Appleton Mystery Series, FACE DOWN IN THE MARROW-BONE PIE and the winner can choose either the hardcover or the large print edition.

The First Lady Appleton Mystery Synopsis:
Today’s letter was not a summons to serve Queen Elizabeth. It came from Lancashire. John Bexwith, my steward at Appleton Manor, is dead.”

Susanna frowned, surprised that this news should have affected her husband so strongly. “The man was quite elderly,” she said hesitantly, “was he not?”

“Your memory is excellent,” Robert told her, absently tucking an unruly lock of dark brown hair back up under her brocaded cap. “He was found face down in a marrow-bone pie.”

With that incredible statement, Robert placed the letter in his wife’s outstretched hand.

Face Down in the Marrow-Bone Pie is a delightfully cozy Elizabethan mystery introducing Susanna, Lady Appleton. When her husband’s steward dies in a unique, ignominious, and highly suspicious manner, Susanna takes advantage of her husband’s absence on a political mission for Queen Elizabeth to investigate Bexwith’s mysterious demise.

The serving wench who found Bexwith claims that he was frightened to death by a ghost, but Susanna can think of several poisons that could have been concealed in the marrow-bone pie. (Susanna is something of an expert on poisons, having been inspired by her sister’s fatal encounter with some poisonous berries to write a cautionary herbal for housewives.)

Even if Bexwith was poisoned, was it accidental or intentional? As if the case weren’t complicated enough, Susanna must also unmask a “ghost”– or are the ghost and the poisoner one and the same?

Kathy Lynn Emerson’s debut Elizabethan mystery will delight as it introduces you to a sixteenth-century husband’s worst nightmare: an intelligent, no-nonsense wife who happens toknow hundreds of poisons.” ~Barnes & Noble

To Enter today’s Historical Fiction Bloggers Giveaway (USA only):
1. Since this is Book Blogger Appreciation Week, you must follow me, you must be a Book Blogger & Reviewer, and comment with your Blog URL AND Email Address with a comment other than Enter Me.

2. Add Extra Entries For Each (max of 5 total entries): blog post, Sidebar post, tweet @BurtonReview, or Facebook Share spotlighting this post & giveaway. You must share that link within a comment so that I can verify it is done properly.

Entries must be received by midnight September 23rd, the one winner will be announced and emailed the next day and you have two days to respond. Thanks for entering, thanks to Kathy Lynn Emerson for this giveaway, and good luck!


Filed under FREE, HF Bloggers Round Table, Kate Emerson

>"Secrets of the Tudor Court: The Pleasure Palace" by Kate Emerson

Publisher: Pocket (February 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416583203

Kate Emerson veers off her normal routine by tackling the dramas of the Tudor Court with this new novel. Jane Popyncourt’s life is fictionalized in this fun novel although she truly was a ward of King Henry VII. We are introduced to Jane Popyncourt as a young girl fleeing her home France to seek refuge in England with the King. Jane is young enough to not question how it is that she has this privilege, although as a reader that is in the back of our minds, we are just made aware there is a family connection.

Meanwhile, orphaned Jane is being raised with the Royal Family, befriending Lady Mary and tutoring her and her sister Margaret in French. Years later, as Jane is reunited with a childhood friend from France, she realizes there is some mystery to her background. She begins her quest among unhelpful court ladies to learn more about her mother.

Jane is portrayed as knowing how to act as a lady at the appropriate times, but she is ready to sow some wild oats when she meets a dashing Duc de Longueville Louis D’Orleans, a prisoner of War. Thus she gains a reputation, coupled with the fact that she is a foreigner, she does not have a bright future ahead of her. Jane must find her way, and learn the truth to her heritage amidst a dangerous time of war.

Kate’s novel is full of historical tidbits as far as how the courtiers dresssed, their jewels, the pageants and parties; just enough information to not sound like non-fiction but more to give us a sense of being right there in Jane’s presence. This is a novel full of romance, mystery and intrigue. The writing was well-done and the book was an easy read and I am looking forward to the next installment in the Tudor Court series. This is a must read for anyone who enjoys Historical Fiction, I give this one 5 stars!

A big thanks to Kate for sending me this book!


Filed under Henry VIII, Kate Emerson, New Release, Review, Tudor