Alice Petherton is a young maid of honour at the court of Henry VIII. When the philandering Sir Richard Rich attempts to seduce her she is forced to take action to defend herself. Yet she knows she cannot thwart such a powerful man for long. Unless, of course, she finds a protector more powerful than Rich.
Alice befriends the King by reading verse with him but soon finds that his interest in her extends somewhat further. He celebrates the birth of his son Edward by taking her to his bed. Queen Jane dies soon after giving birth and in his distress and grief Henry dismisses Alice. He cannot resist her charms for long, however, and Alice soon returns as his favourite. She is happy with this role, with the finery and flattery, with accommodating the fiery passion of the King. Her only concern is to avoid the danger of becoming his next wife.
Her wit and intelligence allows Alice to lightly negotiate the snares and dangers of Henry’s court. But all too soon she makes a rash misjudgement and is dismissed by the furious King. She suffers a terrifying fall from favour which drives her from the palace to the squalid streets of London and worse.
This was one of the poorest Tudor novels that I've picked up and I'm only glad that I didn't pay anything for it or I'd have felt pretty mad. You can tell it was written by a man with all the sexual references right at the start of the book, giving you a huge hint what this book was going to be based around.
Actually I don't really regard this as much of a Tudor novel. This was more about the varying sexual fantasies of men about women in general ie BDSM, rape and lesbianism, with the Tudor Court thrown in the background. On page two of the book we had our female MC thinking lustfully about how much she had wanted to be bedded by Anne Boleyn when she was alive. Within a couple of pages, Richard Rich is trying to rape and force bondage and whipping on Alice who attacks him and escapes. She then decides that the only way to pretect herself from his rage is to seduce the King, who will keep Rich in line. She makes her move as Queen Jane is giving birth to the new Prince.
Alice and the plot is not believable in any way. Henry set Anne aside for several reasons, one of which being she refused to be a quiet and undemanding wife, getting Henry into tempers. That is why he chose the mild and meek Jane as his next love. So Alice coming along to seduce him, behaving like Anne Boleyn in arguing with the King and being all feisty and annoying, would NOT have appealed to him at that stage. Alice knows that Rich is interested in her, she finds him scary and repulsive, so she flirts with him in front of everyone for some insane reason and then wanders the castle alone, without knowing where he is. Yeah that is sensible. I seriously hope the author didn't do that to paint a picture of her deserving what she got.
Was Henry really that easily manipulated? Was it so easy for Alice to escape her duties to stalk the King until he noticed her? Why did Rich stay away from her for so long, allowing her the chance to carry out her plot? I'd have thought a man like him would've had revenge on her instantly! Nothing about the plot made much sense and the characters were all wooden with little development.
I don't recommend this when there are so many great Tudor novels out there and I won't be reading any more by the author even if it is free!