Heather's Reviews > The Pleasure Palace

The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson
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Jun 15, 09

Read in June, 2009

Author Kate Emerson has picked the Tudor Court during Henry the VIII's reign as the setting for her novel "Secrets of the Tudor Court: The Pleasure Palace." I absolutely adore historical fiction (former "Dear America" junkie here) so the premise for this book was quite appealing. However, this book is an example of the good idea that's needs better execution (perhaps on the guillotine, non?).

For starters, Emerson could have tried harder not to give away the love interest of her main gal Jane Poppyncourt on page 2 of the book. As soon as I read about the young girl's love for her friend (including the poetic description of the color of his eyes -- can you guess who it is?) it became obvious that he would be Jane's happily ever after.

Further features of the book that irked me were Emerson's repetitive recaps. Jane would experience something (for example, the flight from France with her mother), and then later in the book describe it to the reader as if the reader hadn't been through said experience WITH Jane earlier in the novel. It made the book read as if it were written for a young adult audience suffering from ADHD.

My final complaint regarding the novel is that I always felt like I was two steps ahead of Jane in discovering the so-called secrets of the Tudor court. As Jane expressed her shock in the discovery of her lineage, all I could think was "Duh! You're just now figuring that out?"

Overall, the novel was predictable and there wasn't really anything special about Jane. The piece of the book that I found redeemable was it's view of Henry VIII as a child and young king, before he became infamous for beheading his wives. Emerson brought a new part of his character to life that I hadn't previously considered and deepened the complexity of Henry's character. A lighthearted read with some intrigue, "Secrets of the Tudor Court" is definitely worth a look, but don't expect to be dazzled by brilliant plot twists.
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