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The Queen's Lady

(Thornleigh #1)

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  2,264 ratings  ·  188 reviews
Abducted as a child-heiress, Honor Larke escapes to London seeking justice from the only lawyer she knows: the brilliant Sir Thomas More. With More as her affectionate guardian, Honor grows to womanhood, when the glitter of the royal court lures her to attend Her Majesty, Queen Catherine of Aragon. But life at Henry VIII’s court holds more than artifice for an intelligent ...more
Paperback, 500 pages
Published December 1st 2009 by Brava (first published September 1st 1994)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,264 ratings  ·  188 reviews

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Nov 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Where I got the book: freebie at the HNS conference in London this year. Signed.

Plot: Pay attention, Dear Reader. The blurb is not a bit like the book I read. Here's how I see it: As a young child, Honor Larke watches her father die excommunicated and robbed by the evil priest Bastwick. She is taken away by a nasty nobleman (name irrelevant as I don't think he has much to do with the rest of the book) to be married to his son for her fortune. Years later, with the help of a faithful servant, she
I found Barbara Kyle’s The Queen’s Lady to be a bit hit & miss. On the positive side there were a lot of twist and turns to the story, which keeps you guessing what is going to happen next. The Tudor history is captivating in itself and this story just shows another viewpoint of Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn and the political and religious players of the time. On the negative side there was a loss of coherency to the story, as it seemed the author wanted to present all the differing religious views of ...more
Oct 19, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who like more history with their romance
Shelves: dead-tree
I was pleasantly surprised by this book, thinking it would be a straight by-the-numbers romance. It's actually more a theological drama with some intrigue, a bit of romance, and adventure. The heroine, Honor Larke, is Thomas More's ward (which provides some hokey sinful thoughts on Sir Tom's part) and she gets swept up in the Catholic vs. Protestant upheavals. She engages in long-distance dissertations with Erasmus, and is quite a bright girl, but not preciously so. The final part of the book fi ...more
I forced myself to get through it, but only because I hate leaving books unfinished, even the terrible ones. I always hope that the story will surprise me. This one did not; it was just bad from the first page to last. The plot was ridiculously predictable and tedious.
Dianna Rostad
Oct 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: most-loved
I finished reading The Queen's Lady over holiday break, and it is easily the best book I've read all year. Kyle tells her thought-provoking story from both sides of the conflict between the Catholic and Protestant churches. There is a profound message in this book about faith and organized religion that gives it real soul.

Honor Larke is a lady in waiting, to Queen Catherine of Aragon. But do not think for a moment this is a simple book about a maid at court, sewing tears in Queen Catherine’s sk
Emily Elizabeth
I am not a history buff. The only thing that I remember about King Henry is that he liked to chop of his wives' heads. And that is all I got out of that lecture in high school.

But this book was more than just history. Albeit, there was a lot, though no more than expected from reading the blurb. The story built well off of actual events, and the author's character fit seamlessly into the plot.

Honor is an awesome character. She went through so much in her life. She is truly a heroine in my eyes.
Colleen Turner
Note: I listened to the audiobook version of this novel.

When I read Blood Between Queens, the fifth book in the Thornleigh series, I was hooked! Being a huge fan of any novels that take place during Tudor times I was happy to see the well known history shown from the perspective of this fictional yet very real feeling family that have been tangled up in the world of the court since the beginning of Henry VIII's rule. But starting the series on book five brought up just as many questions as were
As posted at

Here I sit and *sigh* as I type this review hanging my head, I can't believe that it has taken so long to read this book The whole series has been sitting on my shelf for a number of years. Why did I wait so long? I am not sure if it was the cover that provoked a 'bodice ripping feel' or maybe I was thinking that I couldn't handle another Anne Boleyn story. How mistaken I was!

I was thrilled to hear that this book was going to be made into an audiobook with
Jul 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago when it was A Dangerous Temptation. The old edition looks like a romance novel, the new one looks like a Philippa Gregory novel, but both of these impressions are kind of misleading. There's a romance, yeah, but the novel focuses mainly on the religious tensions in 16th century Europe and how the various sects tortured, burned, and otherwise oppressed anyone who believed differently. Engrossing if you're a historical fiction buff, but incredibly bleak for long stretches. ...more
Apr 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honor Larke is unusual for her time. Catholics persecuted protestants while protestants persecuted Catholics. All Honor knows is these people have done nothing to deserve to be burned. While serving Queen Catherine, she is drawn into intrigue to save protestants. Along the way she meets Richard Thornleigh who helps her while danger stalks their heels. Eramus also appears here. A thriller within a romance, I read this with a racing heart, never knowing what the next page will bring.
Barbara Kyle b
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
I did not like this book. All of the characters were bland and one dimensional. Most egregious was the main heroine Honor, who was an annoying naif with no discernible flaws. The plot was intermittent, to be replaced by pages-long political or religious speeches. Worst of all, the author was somehow able to take the most turbulent and complex years in Early Modern England and turn them into an over-simplified, black & white world (All Protestants = good, all Catholics = evil). I gave it two star ...more
Honor is taken in, as a ward, by Sir Thomas More during Henry VIII’s reign in the 16th century. At this time, Henry is trying to find a way to get rid of his first wife Catherine, so he can marry Anne Boleyn. When Honor is old enough, she goes to Catherine and serves her. But, she gets caught up in the religious conflicts going on at the time, and things become dangerous.

It was ok, but I just lost interest at times (this was not an audio!). Some of it held my interest, but there were too many dr
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I love the complexity of this story and the twists and turns throughout. Barbara Kyle tackled a turbulent and thorny subject of pre-restoration England with great finesse while maintaining a compelling story and equally compelling characters.
T.L. Clark
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow! This is incredible!!
Real life is skilfully blended with fiction.

Sir Thomas More, King Henry VIII, Queen Catherine - all real.
Mistress Larke weaves between them all yet is fictional.
The full list of fictional vs real characters is handily included the back of the book.

I love that this story doesn't centre around the king himself; he's there more as a backdrop although we do get pulled into his machinations.
Honor Larke is the main character. She has a turbulent life, and always strives to
Maura Heaphy Dutton
Jul 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
I had to read this for a Book Club, and I tried. I really really did try to enter into the spirit of this, to appreciate it for its good points,and not expect it to be flawlessly historically accurate.

And I made it to page 100 before I admitted to myself that Kyle's complete lack of understanding of the attitudes, mores and expectations of early 16th century women just made it impossible to take this bit of nonsense seriously, or to enjoy it. Young ladies of the social class Kyle is writing abou
Aug 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
Enjoyed this book very much. It helped make the era and the people of the time come to life. I would like to read more by this author.
Barbara Clifford
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Overall good book but if your looking for this book to be historical fiction about Henry VIII court you will be disappointed. The book has very little to do with it. Description on back of book has not much to do with the book.
Madison ✨
Wow, what a book and what a roller coaster of a story that I enjoyed every moment of. Honor Larke is orphaned at 7 years old when her father abruptly dies excommunicated from the church. This terrible moment becomes the building blocks for her questions of faith. She is kidnapped by the priest who excommunicated her father and sold to a man who will then collect her land and titles when she is forced to marry his son. Eventually she is able to escape this situation with the help of her loyal ser ...more
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Blurb: London, 1527. Marry or serve: for Honor Larke, the choice is clear. Unwilling to perish of boredom as an obedient wife, she leaves the home of her ward, the brilliant Sir Thomas More, to attend Her Majesty, Queen Catherine of Aragon. But life at Henry VIII's court holds more than artifice for an intelligent observer, and Honor knows how to watch--and when to act...

Angered by the humiliation heaped upon her mistress as Henry cavorts with Anne Boleyn and presses Rome for a divorce, Honor vo
There’s plenty to like about this novel but I’m going to focus on something that really impressed me: Barbara Kyle pulls off a major feat of character development for her protagonist, Honor Larke.
Honor grows up during a time when England is in the early stages of Protestant reform, when Henry VIII is trying to divorce his first queen, and the official religion of the realm is coming down hard on "heretics". Torture, betrayal, and burnings intimidate the population but also feed rebellion.
Honor Larke had a rough childhood, but everything turned around when Thomas More took her in as his ward. Now in 1527, she has a choice: marry and fall into the role of obedient wife or serve Queen Catherine at court. Honor chooses the latter and soon finds that court life is not everything she thought it would be but she is loyal to the queen whose position is being undermined by Anne Boleyn.

Still, when the burning of heretics rubs Honor the wrong way - why should people die just for a differen
Liza Perrat
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the Queen’s Lady, Barbara Kyle weaves a fast-paced plot of intrigue, romance and suspense, set in the 16th century court of King Henry VIII.

The feisty heroine, Honor Larke, is faced with two choices: marry or serve. Not wishing to become an obedient wife, she leaves the home of her ward, Sir Thomas More, to become one of Queen Catherine of Aragon’s ladies. But such a position can prove lethal, as intrigues in the Tudor Court heighten when Anne Boleyn steals Henry’s affection and the King want
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I have read lately! I totally enjoyed this journey through Tudor period England and Europe. The main character Honor Larke, is reminiscent somehow of the famous Amber in Forever Amber, however she has more backbone and more principle, and you don't feel the need to slap her as much as Amber. But the story arch has a similar feel, with the main character slip for one adventure to another,through which e reader encounters many aspects of life in the period and many of the cen ...more
Jan 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book started out really interesting, sucking me in like a tornado. Then it started to turn south. The book jumps in several places, and this was the author's first mistake. The first jump takes the main character, Honor, to the home and care of Thomas Moore. Though the author gives you the backstory of how she got there the reader never sees the relationship between Moore and Honor develop, which turns out to be essential to the story. The rest of the plot is based on the feelings between t ...more
This was a good read - especially for those of us who already have a fascination with Tudor-era history. I would hesitate to call it a romance, though, as so much of the story did not revolve around the romantic relationship. That said, their relationship was always in the background, so I suppose I could understand the categorization.
The title itself is a bit misleading, as the main character is only directly involved with Catherine of Aragon for perhaps the first fourth of the book. After that
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Call me boring, but I usually have zero interest in novels set in the 16th-17th centuries. (Early medieval or post apocalyptic stories? Count me in!) But Barbara Kyle's The Queen's Lady won me over.
It's hard to find a historical novel that isn't overly expository: it turns readers off to get a history lecture, so the characters and their actions must resonate with the readers. This novel covers social, political and religious events in the early 1500s, but the protagonist is engaging and her foi
Aug 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
A thrilling novel about intrigue during the reign of King Henry VIII. A great read for lovers of historical romance. Barbara Kyle has clearly researched the period thoroughly and brings out the religious issues between the Catholics and the Protestants very clearly. She completely changed my opinion of Thomas Moore who I had always liked from seeing the play 'A Man for all Seasons' but who is shown to be rather less virtuous in this book and probably closer to his real historical character. This ...more
Fiona Pullen
Dec 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The start of a compelling series of Tudor thrillers. This book got me hooked, I then read all the other books in the series within a week.

It's good to read books which don't focus on the Tudor royal family but instead explore more what the life of other people living in this period was like.

The series follows a family through the generations and how their lives interlink with those of the Tudor monarchs.
Nov 30, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
It was a good story. I enjoyed Philippa Gregory's version a lot more. What annoyed me the most and I could never get over it, was that the main character was British and yet her name was spelt "Honor" instead of "Honour"

And wtf... Ralph...

The character names were like little speedbumps. But other than that... I did enjoy the plot.
Merrissa Pearce
Apr 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Assumed it would be a typical, toss aside Tudor romance - but it was so much more...will be on my bookshelf for years to come, without a doubt. Great plot, well rounded characters, and it painted such a picture of Tudor-era England. Some so beautiful - some very dark and heartbreaking. Can't wait to read the next in this series - hoping that it can match the intrigue of this book! ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Queen's Lady / Barbara Kyle. 3 stars 4 14 Jan 30, 2019 04:14PM  
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 04, 2015 01:10PM  
5 COPIES of The Queen's Lady for G|IVEAWAY!! 2 12 Dec 09, 2012 08:20PM  

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Here’s a little about me. Before becoming an author, I enjoyed a twenty-year acting career playing diverse characters from Shakespearean heroines on stage to starring roles in daytime TV dramas and Disney made-for-TV movies. It felt like a natural extension of my acting to create characters for fiction, and I hope you'll enjoy my novels. Over half a million copies have been sol

Other books in the series

Thornleigh (7 books)
  • The King's Daughter (Thornleigh, #2)
  • The Queen's Captive (Thornleigh, #3)
  • The Queen's Gamble (Thornleigh, #4)
  • Blood Between Queens (Thornleigh, #5)
  • The Queen's Exiles (Thornleigh, #6)
  • The Traitor's Daughter (Thornleigh, #7)

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