The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson

5508080I’m still on my British reading binge, but decided to delve back into history a bit and get my Tudor fiction on. I know I’ve got tonnes of Philippa Gregory to get done, but I’m hoping to bring at least one of those with me read in the gardens at Hampton Court Palace, so I’m holding off.

Unfortunately, this book feels like a poor man’s Philippa Gregory. Our heroine, Jane Popyncort, is a real person who left France and ended up in the court of Henry VII/Henry VIII, as the historical author’s note at the back makes clear. However, she doesn’t feel real as you read about her. I wasn’t drawn into her drama as she grew up in the Tudor court, first as a “child of honor” and then as a lady-in-waiting to Lady Mary and then Queen Catherine. There’s clearly mystery surrounding she and her mother’s departure from France, but the payoff is pretty well telegraphed all the way through, so it’s not satisfying when Jane finally gets the whole story.

The book spends a lot of time telling instead of showing as well as skipping large periods of time without need. It was hard to remember how old she was or what was actually going on historically because our first person narrator only gave us the date randomly. I’ll try another one of Ms. Emerson’s books because I really love the Tudor period and it was a fairly quick read. But now, I’m even more anxious to get started on the next Tudor Court novel by Ms. Gregory!