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To Serve a King

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  530 ratings  ·  41 reviews
From her earliest days, Genevieve Gravois has known one fact above all: Francis I, king of France, is her enemy. Raised by her embittered aunt after her parents' deaths, Genevieve has been schooled in things no woman should know - how to decipher codes, how to use a dagger and a bow, and how to kill. For Henry VIII has a destiny in mind for the young girl - as his most pow ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Kensington (first published January 1st 2011)
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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  530 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Rio (Lynne)
I don't think I've ever abandoned a book so soon.....25 pages in and this is just ridiculous from the plot to the characterizations. Maybe it gets better, but this isn't for me. I don't mind fluff, but I have to find it believable.
Jenny Q
4.5 Stars. Genevieve arrives at the court of Francois I with only one purpose: to destroy him. Embittered against him from an early age, and encouraged by her protector, King Henry VIII, Genevieve has been schooled in the art of espionage with that purpose in mind. But her training had one big drawback: it was carried out in relative isolation, and Genevieve's first problem upon arriving at court is her struggle to adapt to the social interaction of a courtier's life. But she soon catches on and ...more
Amy Bruno
Author Donna Russo Morin brings intrigue to the court of King Francois I of France in her third historical novel, To Serve a King.

Young Genevieve’s life changes when her parents are killed in a fire at the Field of the Cloth of Gold and King Henry VIII decides she is to be reborn as a spy, his own “beautiful weapon”. Raised in seclusion, by a cold and callous woman she knows as her aunt, Genevieve is taught how to decipher messages, weaponry and languages. Also brainwashed into believing King F
Mar 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Hmmm...I am just not sure if this was a good book or not - it was kinda dumb and kinda entertaining at the same time. I think I have to give it 3+ stars as it did hold my interest - used some silly words like "wily and chiseled", but it was a cross between historical fiction and smutty romance, but didn't have a ton of smut...
Rick F.
Aug 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing
What a ORIGINAL plot-so well written and researched- this is truly a splendid book!!
brilliant- unique book- so very well written- a true original-
very highly recommended. Character,plot and locations so finely drawn!

Rick Friedman

Rick Friedman
Aug 03, 2011 rated it did not like it
I just could not get into this, I don't know why considering it has everything that I like in Historical fiction. In a few months I might come back and finish this.
Liberty Blake
Dec 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful read. I could see this on the big screen. The costumes. The characters. The action. It cries out for a good director.
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Just released in bookstores everywhere as of January 25th 2011 in paperback this one is meant for the intrigue lovers. “To Serve a King” delves into the notably renaissance inspired court of King Francis I of France. His court was overflowing with spies, beautiful women, men, and artists. I love the French court and this novel covers many of the aspects I so dearly enjoy reading. I really was fascinated with Donna’s previous novel “The Secret of the Glass” but I found this novel distinctly diffe ...more
Mercedes Rochelle
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It’s always a happy day when an impulse purchase pays off. I was a stranger to Donna Russo Morin, but I don’t see many novels taking place in Francis I’s court, so I was intrigued. This was a fascinating tale about a girl whose whole life was based on a lie, and who anguished over her mission in the face of too many contradictions. It was King Henry VIII himself who orchestrated this travesty, giving orders for Genevieve to be raised and trained to kill his rival King Francis when the need arose ...more
Oct 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ashleigh Miller
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fast(ish) pace historical fiction with a compelling heroine, great attention to detail, and a moving plot. Loved the character development. Page turner!
I think my fatal mistake was reading the synopsis and assuming this would be a bit like Grave Mercy. It's not.

On the plus side, it's obvious that the author did a lot of research and this is reflected in the text. This is a treat when it comes to descriptions of the tents at the Field of the Cloth of Gold, or the everyday amusements of the French court. On the other hand, the story seemed unfocused and lacking in suspense or drama, few of the characters were compelling, and the writing rarely es
May 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
To Serve a King by Donna Russo Morin is a novel of 16th century France. The heroine, Genevieve Gravois, believes she is the sole survivor of a fire that killed both her parents. Her aunt and King Henry VIII of England both tell her the fire had been set by the King of France, Francois I, and from that moment on, a deep hatred for the French king takes root inside the young girl 19s soul. As she grows to womanhood, she swears fealty to King Henry, and in return, he educates and trains her to one ...more
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
As a child, Genevieve learned that her enemy is Francois, the King of France. She has been told that he is responsible for her parents' death and in turn, she make it her life's work to avenge their death. Her aunt raises her to be unconventional. She learns how to read and decipher codes, how to hunt and kill, and how to shoot an arrow expertly all while masking these talents with innocence, charm, and beauty. Henry VIII enlists her as a spy in the French Court and she becomes a maid of honor t ...more
Mar 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
In the “Century of Giants,” Henry VIII of England, Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of Spain, and King Francois of France engaged in a game of treachery, using all who stood to serve them in their “struggle for power and glory at all levels.” The least of their pawns was little Genevieve de Hainaut Gravois, an infant orphaned by an act perfidious politics. Sent to the care of her French aunt, Madame de Montlhery by King Henry VIII of England, she was taught the arts of espionage and warfare to the p ...more
Heather C
I have read one other book by this author so far and this was an improvement over the last, you can certainly see this author’s growth over time. I loved this book - it was fast paced and carried your right along with the story. I enjoyed the fact that our heroine, Genevieve, is not a real historical character because I didn’t know what her story would be; every turn of the page was a surprise. To that end, the resolution of the novel was even more surprising and I certainly never would have gue ...more
Reading Vacation
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you think historical fiction is boring or tedious to read, you have obviously not read To Serve a King. This book has much more to offer than just a simple story set in the sixteenth century. Let me give you an idea of what is in store.

Genevieve’s life has not been easy. She lost her parents in a fire when she was two, she was raised to be a spy, and she was taught that King Francois is evil. The main part of the story picks up when Genevieve is headed to France to spy on King Francois at the
Nov 22, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ri-authors
Synopsis: "From her earliest days, Genevieve Gravois has known one fact above all: Francis I, king of France, is her enemy. Raised by her embittered aunt after her parents' deaths, Genevieve has been schooled in things no woman should know - how to decipher codes, how to use a dagger and a bow, and how to kill. For Henry VIII has a destiny in mind for the young girl - as his most powerful and dangerous spy.
When the time is ripe, Genevieve enters the magnificent world of the French court. With gr
“To Serve a King” is a novel set in 16th century France. Geneviève Gravois is a servant of King Henry VIII of England although she is French-born and is sent to the court of King François I of France as a spy. Geneviève is trained as a spy and assassin and is told that she is an orphan because of François and from this information stems a great hatred of the man. After arriving in François’ court, Geneviève soon realises that what she has been told is entirely inaccurate and she begins to doubt ...more
Aug 18, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who enjoy a good historical story
Am getting into this, very good so far... I had to put this book on the side for a while to read some of my more "timely" books for the holidays and some library books that were due back. I have picked it up again and it is getting much more interesting... hope to have more soon.

I've finished it and I can say I liked the whole concept of the story and the characters. I found the flow of the story kind of wavy. There were parts that really capture your attention and others that maybe could have b
Mar 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Genevieve has been raised since birth to be a spy and an assassin for Henry VIII. She is placed in the court of King Francois in France as a handmaiden to the king’s mistress. As she learns more about the French king, she begins to become conflicted about her role as a spy and she is also beginning to fall in love with one of the king’s guards. Genevieve must balance her position carefully as one false move could leave her exposed as a traitor and executed. She must also deal with the unintended ...more
Nov 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
After receiving an Advanced Reader's copy of The Courtier's Secret, I have been a fan of Donna Russo Morin.
Original story filled with adventure, danger, secrets, and a touch of romance. I found myself cheering for Geneviere, trying to figure out how she would come out of this alive.
Some things were a little confusing: the incident with the first courtier she kissed, when Emperor Charles V dropped the velvet pouch by Anne (which was explained in the author's note, but utterly confusing during t
Nov 21, 2010 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book. The reign of Francois I is an interesting one. I am always looking for more historical fiction set in his time period, and have not been able to find much. This was an interesting story full of deception, and intrigue, as well as a bit of romance ( of course!). The main character Genevieve is a lady in waiting to the French king's mistress, but has been schooled since childhood (at the command of Henry VIII) to be a spy and a would be assassin in the french court. The story ...more
Lindsey Riley
May 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, adult
Even though it was fiction, this book contained enough history to make the nerd in me happy. Raised as a spy and fueled by a lie, Genevieve finally entered the role she had been prepared for all her life. Only, she finds that not all is as it seems, and that love can fuel farther than hatred. Five out of Five stars for this historical fiction!
Sep 21, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 52-books
The book is about a girl who is a spy/assassin for the english king Henry VIII living in the french king Francis's castle. She was raised to hate him and kill him ,but will she be able to after spending her time there and living with them as the made of honor of his mistress Anne?
Jul 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: historic, 2011
Generally I like historic novels, although the romance part was rather weak.
Between two great kings a single woman trying to take revenge for losing her parents, but she is unaware of the truth.
The desctiption of the frence court was really nice!
C.M.T. Stibbe
Dec 21, 2013 rated it liked it
I liked this book purely from the heroine's POV. She's on a mission and must make deadly decisions. Its a heart-pounding read. Romantic Times calls it opulent and sparkling. I found some of the other characters went a little flat for me but Genevieve held her own throughout.
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
This author really puts you in the setting of the story, and what a story it a was! I really enjoyed the intrigue/drama, when so many books are overdone in romance. I needed a dictionary, though, for all the big words this college graduate didn't know!
Sep 04, 2010 marked it as unfinished
Nothing against this book, just did not realize Henry VIII was involved! Teach me not to read the book descriptions, I don't read Henry, Elizabeth or Mary stories anymore.

So not going to rate
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book was filled with romance, intrigue, and history...all ingredients for exciting tale of France vs. England. Definitely one of the better historical romances I've read in a while.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 09, 2015 10:50AM  

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Donna Russo Morin is the award winning of author of historical fiction. A graduate of the University of Rhode Island, she lives near the ocean, her greatest muse. Her two sons, Devon and Dylan--an opera singer and chef--are still her greatest works in progress.

Donna enjoys meeting with book groups in person and via Skype chat. Visit her website at;
friend her on Facebook at
“In their unity against disaster, they formed a more perfect coupling, for that was indeed where true love lived - not in the moments of great passion and bursting joy, but in the strength with which in weathered any storm, no matter how harsh or violent.” 6 likes
“Please stop. Do not take me into your confidence, do not take me into your heart, for my own
cannot bear it.”
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