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The Secret Bride: In the Court of Henry VIII
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The Secret Bride: In the Court of Henry VIII (In The Court of Henry VIII #1)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  2,970 ratings  ·  132 reviews
For fans of The Tudors comes a captivating drama about the only woman who could defy Henry VIII -and keep her life. Mary Tudor, the headstrong younger sister of the ruthless King Henry VII, has always been her brother's favorite-but now she is also an important political bargaining chip. When she is promised to the elderly, ailing King Louis of France, a heartbroken Mary a...more
ebook, 416 pages
Published April 1st 2008 by New American Library
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Ana Mardoll
The Secret Bride / 978-0-451-22313-5

Here's an excerpt from the opening pages of "Secret Bride". To set the stage, children Mary and Henry have just learned that their brother Arthur is dead. Relative adult (at age 18) Charles Brandon has made an inappropriate smirk as to the likelihood of the widow Katherine being pregnant:

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"Oh come now," Charles remarked, seeing Mary's expression. "We only hope to put a bit of a brave face on a horrid tragedy."

"And how difficult for you is that?" she asked t...more
Elysium
2.5 stars


Mary has known Charles Brandon since childhood and doesn’t hide her dislike. But growing up she notices her feelings starting to change, yet she knows that a princess can’t have a future with a duke. Mary does her duty by marrying the old French king and after her husband dies, she and Charles follow their hearts knowing Mary’s brother will be furious.

The book leaned more towards romance than straight historical fiction but unfortunately I couldn’t feel the passion between Mary and Cha...more
Charlene Vickers
Ms. Haeger's characters are flat and her plot as threadbare as one of Catherine of Aragon's dresses. She also doesn't hesitate to dust off every ridiculous romance novel cliche she can get her hands on.

The worst part of this book for me, though, was how Ms. Haeger seems to go out of her way to deliberately introduce factual errors into her books that pull even a moderately knowledgeable reader right out of the story. I know, I know: it's horrifically unfair for me to expect that the writer would...more
Anna
I adore the against-the-odds love story between Charles Brandon (Henry VIII's friend, but a commoner) and Mary Tudor (Henry's sister, and destined for a European royal marriage), and in this book their tale is told simply, easily and romantically. It won't appeal to serious historical fiction readers as it's fluffy and cute, but the swoony sap in me really enjoyed it! Picturing Henry Cavill from the TV series The Tudors as Brandon was the icing on the cake ;-)
Jilly
I have yet to figure out why Henry VIII and those that surround his life seem to interest me a great deal. I have become hooked on the show The Tudors and have enjoyed the character of Charles Brandon so to find this story to be about the love between him and Mary Tudor, Princess of England, it was worth a shot.

Haeger is a new author to me but her writing style has left me happy with the book. She trying very hard to incorporate as much history into her tales while still making the story suffici...more
Telesilla
Even imagining that Mary and Charles looked like Gabrielle Anwar and Henry Cavill from The Tudors doesn't make this book work. The writing's just plain bad. Their actual story is fascinating; it's one of those romances that really needs to be tackled by a good writer. Someone good also needs to tackle the story of Henry VIII and Mary's sister Margaret, who married into Scotland and got a divorce when her own brother couldn't, but I digress.
Michelle
A friend lent me this book because she knew how much I loved the Phillippa Gregory books about Tudor England. I know this friend chooses quick easy reads that allow you to escape from everyday life, so this book was about what I expected.

I gave this book a three because it was a quick easy read, and while it wasn't complicated, it did serve it's purpose of entertaining me and satisfied my cravings for more books on Tudor England.

It wasn't nearly as good as Gregory's novels and I felt that the au...more
Lisa
Quick read. Interesting story. I knew a little about Mary Tudor, but it was interesting to get background. As always in this time period, the story is full of scandal and sex. Not the best historical fiction I've read, but certainly good. A new perspective on Henry VIII's court. Though the author was a little harsh about Anne Boleyn . . . If you've watched the Tudors, the actual story is MUCH different than what's portrayed in the show.
V.E. Lynne
"The Secret Bride" is the story of Henry VIII's younger sister Princess Mary and her daring marriage to the king's close friend, the rakish Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. Mary, as sister to the king, is pretty much just a pawn in the byzantine game of international politics. She is married off to Louis XII of France, a man considerably older than her and not someone to set a young girl's heart racing. She is determined to have her own way with her second marriage and Charles Brandon, dashing...more
Jody
Apr 28, 2009 Jody marked it as not-for-me  ·  review of another edition
Blah...I am interested in Mary's story, but this version is not going to do it for me. Uninspired dialogue and heavy handed forshadowing at the end of every chapter. Moving on...
Amber
As a Tudor fan (not the show, but history) I picked this up as soon as I saw it. So glad I did!! As soon as I started reading I could feel Mary's pain at having to leave her home country to marry an old man, her disgust at having to marry said old man (even if he is a King), and the love she must've felt to defy her brother, the notorious King henry VIII. She was a woman that took her life into her own hands and let it not be put in the hands of others after she had done as her family willed. I...more
Kerry
While it was supposed to be a dramatic love story, it never really got there for me. The author tried to tap into the famous "first-we-fought-and-disliked-each-other-but-now-we-are-passionately-in-love" dynamic (or what my husband refers to as the "they-pulled-your-pigtails-because-they-secretly-like-you" phenomenon). Where it works in specific circumstances, Pride and Prejudice for example, it only works because the author successfully depicts what brought the couple from point A to point B. Wh...more
Page (One Book At A Time)
In all my fascination with the Tudor courts, I must have forgotten that Henry VIII had a younger sister. Or maybe books that talk about Henry are so concentrated on his different wives they forget to mention her (maybe I should have something more on Catherine of Aragon). I was immediately drawn to a story about someone who could defy the King and get away with it.

I actually really liked Princess Mary. You can tell that the characteristic of getting what they want runs in the family (something...more
Meagan Morse
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kelly A.
I'd been eyeing this book for quite sometime and was super excited to find it online for 99 cents, and with a dollar off coupon...-1 cent. Yes!

I've been searching for a book on Princess Mary, Henry VIII's sister, not daughter, for a very long time. Some people call her the only woman that Henry every truly loved or had mercy on. If their relationship was anything like in this book, I would definitely agree! Anyways, The Secret Bride basically covers Mary Tudor's entire life, but the main focus i...more
Jenny
I really enjoyed this book, it was a quick read and my interest was piqued due to catching up on "The Tudors" recently. On that show, Charles Brandon is portrayed by Henry Cavill and he is so ridiculously hot that the lines of reality and history have now blurred, and I enjoyed picturing Cavill as I read about Brandon! It was nice to read some historical fiction about a subject you don't hear much about (the Charles/Mary Tudor romance), there's a lot out there about Henry and the unfortunate Six...more
Loren
So I thought this book was pretty good.
I mean granted, the writing style was pretty light, and it was definitely escapism, but I enjoyed it. And by the end I started to really really get into it, feeling exactly what the characters were feeling. ALso IT WAS SOOOOO HOTTT!!!!! I was a little angry at *** spoiler*** that Charles never told Mary about him getting down with Margaret. Wha'ere. I also liked how she showed the deterioration of Henry VIII's morality. At first he is a loving brother and h...more
Anjanet
Jul 16, 2008 Anjanet rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: historical fiction buffs
Shelves: for-fun
This story of Henry VIII's sister explores a part of the Tudor history not often covered. It delves into the possible personalities of Charles and Mary and portrays the hypothetical romance of their relationship.

Overall, this book did a good job of being believable. The beginning of the book developed Mary's personality and showed the reader the teasing, and sometimes antagonistic, relationship between Mary and Charles. I do wish that the relationship between Mary and her brother was more develo...more
Allison
Although it wasn't the best Tudor-related book I've ever read, I really liked reading about one of the often-ignored sisters of Henry VIII. I would have rated it a 4, but there were a few details that really wrecked the book.

1. In the beginning of the story, Mary's love interest, Charles Brandon , is portrayed as a rude, sneaky, social climber. This might be an accurate portrayal, I have no idea, but the fact that he is presented in such an unflattering way for the first half of the book makes i...more
Smitha
Mary Tudor is the headstrong, younger sister of Henry VIII. They grew up together, and shared a close bond. When Arthur, their elder brother died, Mary and Henry were there for each other. Henry liked to say that he would rule the country with Mary beside him, helping him. Life in the royal courts are never as they seem. While young princes might stand a chance of becoming king, princesses are mostly bargaining chips. Mary had been betrothed by her father, to a young Charles of Castile when he w...more
Angelyn Schmid
The Secret Bride is the love story of Tudor princess Mary, sister of Henry VIII , and Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk. This Haeger novels (like the Courtesan) are fictional tales and not historical biographies. Haeger is a talented author who blends history with romance to create wonderful love stories. The Secret Bride takes the reader from Mary’s childhood to maturity with her arranged marriage to the older sickly King of France to finally marrying her true love. Brandon and Mary had to be ca...more
Amber
Aug 07, 2010 Amber rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Tudor fans
Mary Tudor is the sweet, headstrong, willful, stubborn, impetuous, loving, generous, and strikingly beautiful youngest daughter of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York as well as sister to the powerful Henry VIII. She is intrigued by Charles Brandon from an early age and yet inclined to despise him for his vulgar pursuit of women and status.

Charles Brandon is the clever, charming, ambitious, devilishly handsome best friend of Henry VIII since childhood and has pursued women for the sport of it and ma...more
Ambrosia Jefferson
Mary Tudor is one that is not often talked about unless there are whispers about her marriage to Charles Brandon, or they are talking about her not overly historical portrayal on The Tudors. Diane Haeger creates a great story of the events of young childhood through to adult hood of Mary Tudor and it all takes place from her point of view. From the loss of her Brother Arthur, to her parents to watching as her Brother becomes a fine King in his own right, but then also begins down the path that h...more
Jen (RevJen)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Veronica
This book was a different view of Mary Tudor (Henry VIII's sister) and her love for Charles Brandon. Sometimes the story is told through Mary's eyes and sometimes it is Henry or Charles. The switching between characters wasn't really smooth and that's part of the reason I've rated it a 3. In the middle of a chapter, it would switch from one to the other then back again and sometimes I had to read a passage multiple times to discover who was speaking.

I really liked the idea that Mary and Charles...more
Haley
ENGLAND- Henry VIII is crowned. His sister, Mary Tudor, is even more elevated by his favor. He promised her that they could stay together in their childhood, but signed off the beautiful, young, willful, temperamental princess to be married to fifty-two-year-old King Louis of France for an alliance. She left on one condition: when the king died, she would get to marry someone of her own choice. Little did he know that she had a particular someone in mind…

This kept me reading because of the sus...more
Denise
A tightly written page-turner book. Couldn't put it down and read it from cover-to-cover in just 2 days. Would have given it 5 stars but I felt the author left out how religious this period of time was. England was a Catholic country at the time of this book and societal taboos were much stricter than what the book let on. Granted, licentiousness occurs in all timer periods, but the Church controlled so much more of society then. This book was written with an almost cavalier attitude about relig...more
Alaine
This is the story of Mary Tudor, the youngest sister of Henry VIII. The story tells us about her life and her journey to become Queen of France and how she came to command her own destiny. She defied the most dangerous man in England, her brother Henry VIII and married the love of her life. This book as stated by the author, is very close to the historical facts and includes actual letters written by the various historical characters.
I really enjoyed going back to the court of Henry VIII and rea...more
Allison G
This was a very interesting story about Mary, Henry VIII's sister. I really don't know much about the Tudors except about all of Henry's wives so this was very interesting to me from the historical perspective, but it also had a love story that pulled you in. I saw once again just what it was like to be a woman in this time period - but even worse, a royal woman. All of the royal women are used as political pawns to be traded to different countries to garner favor or allies. Their lives truly we...more
Lois Clark-Johnston
This book was ok-had a romance novel type feel. I was already familiar with the love story between Charles Brandon and Mary Tudor-Dowager Queen of France. This book tried to compare the love of Henry VIII holding out against his father's wishes to marry Katherine of Aragon with the love of Mary-who is given as part of an alliance treaty with France to the old and sick Louis XII-she makes a bargain with her brother to choose her next husband-as she and Charles Brandon are in love.
The author take...more
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Diane Haeger is the author of four previous historical novels, including The Ruby Ring and My Dearest Cecilia. She lives in California with her husband and family.
More about Diane Haeger...
The Queen's Rival (In the Court of Henry VIII, #3) Courtesan The Perfect Royal Mistress The Queen's Mistake (In the Court of Henry VIII, #2) The Ruby Ring

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“We shall live with what is, and hope that one of us is clever enough to think of something better. What else can we do?” 9 likes
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