This historical fiction novel delves into the gritty side of the reign of Henry the Eighth. It discusses the lives of the women that he took to bed, and what they did secretly. Joan has heard about it, but then she is dragged into the arms of Thomas Wolsey, a man who knows about the bedchamber secrets. He enlists women to be his spies, but he keeps Joan to himself. Then Joan finds out that he is just using her, and turns to Anne Boleyn, the woman who is slowly winning the heart of the king.
I don’t know why society tried to romanticize the lives of the royals and nobles. This novel accurately represents how their lives were. Men would stab each other in the back constantly. Women would wait all their lives to be married off to the man that was the best for the “kingdom,” just to be cheated on. How awful it must have been for those women to see children running around the castle who were from their husband’s concubines, and to be unable to do anything about it. This novel also discusses that even though the priests/cardinals of the Catholic Church were not supposed to have a wife or have sexual relationships at all, they sometimes did. It doesn’t even get into the fact that some of these Cardinals would trick young girls into coming into their chambers and then rape them, but this also occurred in the history of the Catholic Church. Novels can really open the eyes of the reader, and this one will definitely do so for other readers.
This isn’t even considering the lives of the poor. Either they were destined to be poor and unhappy forever, or they would give themselves to a rich man for the chance at a better life. This novel is not the Disney version of royalty but is instead the cold truth.
My only complaint about this book was the plot of the story. I felt that not enough time was truly spent discussing the spy plot, and a lot of the book focused on the sexual aspects. This novel was going to have sex scenes, but I felt that the main story could have been fleshed out still.
Other than that, this entire novel was definitely an amazing ride, and I love historical fiction novels that don’t try to sugar-coat the past.
I would recommend this to lovers of adult historical fiction novels that involve the truth about the royalty.
I received an advanced copy of this book from BookSprout and this is my voluntary review.
Overall Rating: 4.5/5