IslandRiverScribe's Reviews > Royal Inheritance

Royal Inheritance by Kate Emerson
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really liked it
bookshelves: first-reads, historical-romance, z-read-2013

When I accepted an ARC for this book, I felt, based on the promotional blurb, that I would be reviewing a historical romance. Oh, was I wrong!

This is not the typical scenario in which the hero and heroine are forced into an arranged marriage but wind up madly in love with each other anyway – far from it. This is an embellished biography of Audrey Malte, one of King Henry VIII’s illegitimate children. The characters in this novel are not fictional nor are the main events of the story. After considerable and detailed research, the author has filled in the blanks around the known and published facts of this time period and has created a readable drama that begins with Audrey’s first known memories and ends just prior to her death.

The author has crafted a story told primarily in Audrey’s first person POV. This story moved with a pace, placement and consistency of descriptions and dialog that emulated what I would suspect was the speech pattern of the English in the early 1500’s. As I read, it felt as if I were an intimate and present observer – the proverbial fly on the wall. It also felt like I was back in a History or English Lit classroom with that instructor who could absolutely breathe life into those old, dull events of the past. The writing was smooth and the scenes and chapters flowed naturally from one to the next.

But, for me, it was far from an entertaining read. From the very first chapter we learn that the heroine is dying and this casts a pall and a depression over the entire story. And if the reader remembers anything about the reign of Henry VIII – the political and religious persecutions, the Tower of London, the executions by beheading with drawing and quartering – he or she will know nothing good is going to come out of a story that centers on a personage so closely related to the king himself.

So, if you read for escapism, you might want to think a bit before embarking on this book or the series from which it stems. Because what you’re not going to escape from are 332 pages of fear, persecution, death and unrequited love. What you are not going to escape from is page after page of waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop and it drops a lot.

What you’re not going to escape from is the misogynistic and chauvinistic actions of men toward women in those times. And what you’re not going to escape from are the scenes that depict women and children as commodities – expendable commodities.

But what you are definitely not going to escape from is the fact that the only happy ending is still being alive at the end of a day.

This book starts with terror and ends with heartbreak. It may be the story of a child of the king and a court laundress, complete with wicked stepsister, but this is not the fairy tale of Cinderella. Prince Charming is a cad and the glass slipper never does fit right.

I received this ARC through the Goodreads First Reads program. This fact did not, in any way, influence my opinion of the book.
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Reading Progress

September 4, 2013 – Shelved
November 10, 2013 – Started Reading
November 11, 2013 –
page 29
7.88% "embellished biography"
November 12, 2013 –
page 77
20.92% "Not your typical historical romance."
November 12, 2013 – Finished Reading
November 13, 2013 –
page 368
100.0% "Finished. Book is a heartbreaker."

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