Angela's Reviews > The Pleasure Palace

The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson
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May 31, 2012

it was ok
Read in May, 2012

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 England from France for mysterious reasons that her mother is not willing to divulge. Finding herself in a new land, forced to learn a different language and customs, not to mention fitting in with the royal children of England, Jane gains powerful connections that last when she matures as a teenager, and finally in her twenties. During her stay at the Tudor court, Jane learns of the love, scandal and passion that all possess deep in their hearts.


Honestly, The Pleasure Palace is not an extraordinary Tudor historical fiction. There is the notoriety that all novels possess, but lacks in the description department. Much of the descriptions are omitted or extremely brief, which forces the reader to imagine much of the court themselves, which is difficult for people who do not read Tudor fiction often, such as me.

There is also the ridiculousness of Jane. Jane is one of those heroines who you want to slap often for her unrealistic, not to mention pathetic decision making. It is understandable that she is human, therefore she is bound to make mistakes. However, Jane has this innocence, which takes the blame for her errors, that is impossible to find in such a setting as Tudor court. The book mentions her learning of sexual intercourse and other things that a woman is bound to already know at such an old age. It is indeed unfortunate that Jane does not.

The romantic feel of The Pleasure Palace is also lacking. There is not passion, or real passion, in fact. Scenes between Jane and her love interest are rare and few in between until the end. The whole plot, in fact, is anti-climatic. No real exciting events are portrayed in this account of Jane Poppycourt. Love between Jane and "He Who Shall Not Be Named" seems paltry in comparison to the other ones who are supposedly obscured in favor of Jane's love, but are truly not. Those passionate relationships are so much more vivid and colorful.

The Pleasure Palace is definitely not a genius of historical fiction. The writing is well done, so I must give the author some credit, despite the dry, choppy story line.

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08/12/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Amber (new)

Amber This is so disappointing. It's been on my to-read list for a long time and even though I had no plans to read it soon, I guess I'll let it languish there a bit longer. Thanks for the review!


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