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Monday, August 12, 2013

My review of The Queen's Rival by Diane Haeger

About the book:

As the beautiful daughter of courtiers, Elizabeth "Bessie" Blount is overjoyed when she secures a position as maid of honor to Katherine of Aragon. But when she captures the attention of the king himself, there are whispers that the queen ought to be worried for her throne.

When Bess gives birth to a healthy son the whispers become a roar. But soon the infamous Boleyn girls come to court and Henry's love for her begins to fade. Now, Bess must turn to her trusted friend, the illegitimate son of Cardinal Wolsey, to help her move beyond life as the queen's rival...

My review:

I adored this author's writing style and "voice." The story came alive to me and all I wanted to do was read this book. It was tragically beautiful and passionately written. The lessons Bess learned were priceless. Her longtime friend, Gil, was truly heroic. One couldn't help wondering what might have happened to the Tudor Dynasty if Henry VIII had married Bess Blount instead of Anne Boleyn. Though not Christian fiction, the story went deep and explored the faith of the characters, which was sincerely experienced despite being a bit misguided. The religious parts of the story were genuine to the time they lived in.

The emotion between the king and Bess felt genuine to me. I actually liked Henry VIII and his seemingly impossible position in this book. What may have started out as a selfish pursuit by Henry ended up sparking frightening emotions he hadn't allowed himself to feel with any of the other women in court. I have always wondered about the life of the first and only living son Henry VIII had produced outside of wedlock. I felt badly for him and the constraints his role as king put on him. His way of working around the system set in place for centuries had ultimately cost his son Harry his very life. Quite sad, but true to history.

Again, this novel was well-written and heartfelt. I absolutely loved this book. I am glad I discovered this book at the store and purchased it because I am now a devoted fan of Ms. Haeger's.

The Queen's Rival was published by NAL Trade and released in March 2011.

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