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The Pleasure Palace

(Secrets of the Tudor Court #1)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  4,181 ratings  ·  228 reviews
Beautiful. Seductive. Innocent. Jane Popyncourt was brought to the court as a child to be ward of the king and a companion to his daughters -- the princesses Margaret and Mary.

With no money of her own, Jane could not hope for a powerful marriage, or perhaps even marriage at all. But as she grows into a lovely young woman, she still receives flattering attention from the v
Paperback, 372 pages
Published February 3rd 2009 by Pocket (first published January 22nd 2009)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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 ·  4,181 ratings  ·  228 reviews

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Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, historical
When I bought this I was afraid of it; I was scared of what the title "The Pleasure Palace" would infer into this book. I thought it was going to be littered with erotica. I was afraid it would be all sex and no story.
I also thought it was going to deal with "the tudors", as in the encore show, as in Anne Boelyn and Jane Seymour, etc....

Wrong on pretty much all accounts. There was hardly any sex in this one at all and the scenes included were very short and left much for you to fill in for your
(3.5) Emerson's first book in what I believe is going to be a series set during the Tudor period is based upon Jane Popyncourt, a member of the Tudor Court and of whom very little is known, giving the author more leeway to craft her tale. When the French King dies mysteriously Jane's mother flees to England with her daughter and seeks shelter with her twin brother at Henry VII's court. Jane is taken to Eltham to be raised with the royal children and after the mysterious death of her mother she i ...more
Bookish Ally
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.75 wavering stars.

I found a historical inaccuracy and that, in itself, would have been a huge mark against it. I love the premise of Jane Popincourt but found this book to be a fluffy piece about a woman without a lot of personal dignity. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone but the most casual reader of historical fiction.

I am removing everything by this author from my list to read. I do not mean that as scathing. It would be a good first book for someone to read about this era. I just m
May 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elena by: Goodreads
Borrowed from Open Library.

Jane Popyncourt is a name that sometimes pops up in Tudor biographies. She was a french woman who arrived at the English Court to teach french to Mary and Margaret Tudor, daughters of Henry VII. She probably had a brief affair with Henry VIII, and was also the notorious mistress of the duke de Longueville. Apart from that, little else is known about Jane, and this gives Emerson vast possibilities to develop her story.

The Pleasure Palace is heavy on the fluffy side: its
2.5 stars

After the king of France dies, Jane’s mother flees to England where her twin brother lives in the court of King Henry VII. Jane is taken as a ward by Henry VII and to be raised with the royal children. She is just settling down to the new life when her uncle tells her the news of her mother’s death.

As an adult Jane serves princess Mary when her life takes a turn when French prisoner comes to court with his bastard half-brother who happens to be Jane’s childhood friend. Now that her frie
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
Actually, 2.5 stars (average). Overall, a light fluffy read with an interesting storyline that failed to live up to its potential. Few facts are known about the real Jane Popyncourt, giving the author quite a bit of creative latitude which she fails to take advantage of. The big mystery as to why Jane and her mother left France was weak and not very interesting. Since the author admits to making it up, it really could have been so much more spectacular.
I read this book relatively recently (okay, within the past year) and can't remember much about it aside from the name of the main character and that I looked her up on the internet after reading the book. That says something, right? I do remember liking it but obviously not a standout novel. Please note: I actually have a strikingly good memory. ...more
Jordan Taylor
From beginning to end, this was a fluffy book that made for painful reading.

It is the story of Jane Popyncourt, who flees 1500's France to England with her mother at a young age. There, she does her best to blend into the royal court of King Henry VIII.

I was bored by the hollow characters here, especially Jane herself. Her thoughts seemed so wooden and scripted.
The writing was abrupt and hurried through, certain things struck me as a bit too unrealistic, and there were a few plot points that wer
May 31, 2012 rated it it was ok
The Pleasure Palace was a fast-paced Tudor romance with dashes of mystery and a great dose of scandal that cannot be a Tudor historical without. The Pleasure Palace is a fictional account of the life of Jane Poppycourt, friend of Mary Tudor, King Henry VIII's sister. Transforming a woman with little historical evidence, Kate Emerson creates a wonderfully imagined, yet believable story behind the woman who sent letters to Mary.

Jane Poppycourt is a young girl when she and her mother move to Engla
Jun 10, 2009 rated it liked it
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 Pop
(4.5) I was REALLY reluctant to not give this 5 stars, but I’m trying to not be such a softie on the ratings. The flow stalled occasionally and it’s a bit of a slow start but it is most definitely worth the read if you fit into my recommended to section.
I’ve read a fair amount of Tudor history novels, and also check out that section in Barnes and Noble/ Borders, and I’ve got say, this is probably the most original premise, the most original heroine, I’ve read or heard of concerning the genre.
Kathy Davie
Feb 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: history, mystery
The first in the historical fiction series, Secrets of the Tudor Court, Pleasure Palace takes place through the eyes of Jeanne/Jane Popyncourt from age 8 through 26 in the last 11 years of Henry VII and the first 7 years of Henry VIII.

Jane has a particularly up close and personal view of the court as she immediately is assigned to the Royal Nursery to speak French with the young Tudors, primarily the Princesses Margaret and Mary forming a part of Mary's court when Margaret marries James IV of Sc
Beverly Diehl
Sep 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. I love Tudor history, real or fictionalized, so I was sure I would love this book. Instead I liked it, a lot. The main character, Jane Popyncourt, was a real historical figure at the Tudor courts of Henry VII and Henry VIII, and not a whole lot is known about her.

I loved plunging into that era, and the details are rich and evocative. But it felt like it (the book) didn't quite know what it wanted to be. There was romance, but that wasn't the main thread; what I found did not work for
On the death of King Charles VIII of France, Jeanne's world is turned upside down when her mother, a lady at the Court, suddenly flees with her to relatives in England, changing her daughter's name to Jane and hers to Joan. Joan takes up a position as lady-in-waiting to Queen Elizabeth, wife to King Henry VII, while Jane joins Princess Mary and Margaret to teach them better French. Jane becomes friends with the princesses and the sons of several well known courtiers being educated with them. She ...more
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it
This Tudor England, historical/fiction novel was one of the better ones I've read, but if I could give all writers looking to write one of these a piece of advice from the reader: Make them shorter! For heaven's sake! We don't need to cover someone's entire life to get the idea of what's going on! "The Pleasure Palace" (by the way, the name is no good. Everyone thought I was reading a Harlequin Romance Novel!) is better than a lot of other one's I read, but it spanned nearly 30 years! At some po ...more
Apr 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Like The Other Boleyn Girl this book gives the reader a glimpse of life in the Tudor court from the imagined prospective of a minor figure in history. Although we know very little about Jane, we do know that she was a witness to an era that continues to fascinate people nearly five hundred years later. Henry VIII and his court changed the way governments work and the relationship between church and state.

This book gives the readers a glimpse of what it might have been like to have been both an
Rio (Lynne)
I am a huge fan of historical fiction, but this book never grabbed me. Since we don't know much about the real Jane Popyncourt, the author had a lot of room to make things interesting. She never really brought her to life. She seemed to not really know where the character was going. One minute she wanted Charles Brandon, the next she easily jumps into bed with the Duc. Then she starts having feelings for someone she didn't even notice in the beginning. It just didn't flow for me. I never cared a ...more
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it

I really enjoyed this book, in my opinion, it is written very well. Kate Emerson's writing captivates the time and place. Details are well placed and the attention to the life in the Tudor court (things like clothing and sports and tournaments) are very vivid. The characters are well developed and realistic. This novel is part of a series called Secrets of the Tudor Court; there are three more books in the series, and I am looking forward to reading them all.
I would highly recommend PLEASURE PL
Jun 16, 2009 rated it liked it
This is a nice piece of historical fluff. I usually like something a little more historically based, but this is historically acurate with a frilly romantic story attached. This is a great beach book, and worth reading for the entertainment factor.
Nov 17, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in historical fiction - esp. King Henryviii court
Recommended to Gloria by: Barnes & Nobel
It was an enjoyable read. It wasn't as "meaty" as Philippa Gregory's books, but still gave some info. on Henry's court life. It was kinder to Henry than Gregory's, but it told the story of one of the "lady's in waiting". ...more
Mar 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
I'm on a roll of unpleasant reads, it seems. I normally love historical fiction but when this didn't catch my attention within the first 60 pages, I decided to put it away.

Jane's background is boring and her personality seems willfully naive to the point of annoyance. No, thank you.
Laura Wiltshire
May 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another Philippa Gregory- brilliantly adapted historical fiction, guaranteed to hook & educate you simultaneously.
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
This novel was not as torrid as the title suggests.
Jane Popyncourt was a woman raised in the royal nursery with Henry VIII; her role was to teach the Princesses Margaret and Mary French. Drawing from the few, yet intriguing, facts known about Popyncourt, Kate Emerson has crafted a very readable novel.

I can see why Emerson found Popyncourt a great subject for a novel- The historical Popyncourt was from France or Flanders, but raised with Henry VII's children, teaching them French. She was a close
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Pleasure Palace was an absolute pleasure to read! I couldn't put it down and devoured every detail in less than 24 hours!
The story is based on the real character Jane Poppyncourt. Uprooted from her childhood in France by her mother who was obviously on the run from something, or someone. Jane was established as a ward (or child of honor) of King Henry VII. Her duties, to teach the young princesses French through daily conversation... but why Jane? Out of all the girls in France was she chos
Oct 26, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm a sucker for historical period pieces and this one did not disappoint. At first I thought I was going to have trouble keeping all the characters straight but it was really no trouble at all. I like the fact that all the characters are based on actual historical figures. It's a fun way to get a history lesson while getting in a good read. I found myself looking forward to picking up the book to find out more on Jane's mother's secret. What in the world could it be? There was just enough roman ...more
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020-reads
Imagine having such a lush and interesting era to write in with a historical figure who’s connected to so many dynamic characters while still largely being a mystery and STILL making it boring as hell.

There’s no meat to this, the pacing is weird, and the mystery wraps itself up in... what, three minutes?

Also not to be tedious but the interview with the author had her going off about “Well why else would Henry VII’s mom wear a hair shirt and repent for the rest of her days if not for my stupid i
Maegan Mariee
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was very well written and gave a plot that wasn't boring or far fetched. Near the end I was almost put off by one of the main characters choices about how to speak to Henry VIII alone, but it turned out fine in the end and turns out I had no reason to worry. <3

And the best thing about this kind of book is that while it's part of a series, it's also a stand alone. So I'm not pressured to jump into the next one just so I can keep the previous plot information in mind. YAS.
Janet Fry
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Holds interest

What a great read, it’s long but I started reading it and could barely put it down. The book moves along at a good rate. At times I felt like I could see what was happening not just reading it. There were enough descriptions to let you see what was happening without being to wordy. I will be looking for another book that she wrote and hope it is as good as this one.
Ty Barnett
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoy reading books on the Tudors. My daughter bought me, Kate Emerson's the Tudor Court set. I was glad to see the books told much more about the other people in the court and how they were treated. Mrs. Kate Emerson writing brings the book alive for me. I couldn't put down. I can't wait to read the next book. ...more
Michelle Cristiani
I liked this one. Something about it was at once too heavy and too light, though. But in all, Emerson's take on the few facts we have about Jane Popyncourt was enticing. She weaves together a great tale, really creative. Applause for that. ...more
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Around the Year i...: The Pleasure Palace, by Kate Emerson 1 15 Jun 12, 2016 10:09AM  
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Kate Emerson is a pseudonym used by Kathy Lynn Emerson, author of the Face Down Mysteries featuring Susanna Appleton, 16th century gentlewoman, herbalist, and sleuth, the award-winning How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries, and a wide assortment of other books.

She was born in Liberty, New York and recieved an A.B. from Bates College and an MA from Old Dominion University. She is a member of th

Other books in the series

Secrets of the Tudor Court (6 books)
  • Between Two Queens (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #2)
  • By Royal Decree (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #3)
  • At the King's Pleasure  (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #4 )
  • The King's Damsel (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #5)
  • Royal Inheritance (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #6)

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