From the author of The Queen’s Mistake comes the untold story of King Henry VIII’s first well-known mistress.
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..
Anyone who knows even a small amount about the Tudor court has heard of Bess Blount and her Son to the King Henry Fitzroy, but do you know the whole story? In almost every Tudor era book I Have read they start with the Anne Boleyn era and graze over Bess Blount, so I was so excited to finally have a book that told more of her story. Yes it is fiction but oh it is so good.
Diane Haeger brings Bess to life as a vibrant fresh faced girl who truly loved the King, not just because he was the King but for the man that he was. It shows that unlike many who shared the King’s bed she did not think about what it would get her but how she loved him. More then that it shows the love that Gil had for her, even while she loved the King. This is a true story of love and desire and how it can change and grow over the years. I love the way the characters have been painted in this book. Flawed humans who are doing the best that they can through the situations they have been given. Henry in this book seems to know how flawed he is, that he uses those women in his life and how he has to harden his heart at times. The hard lines we have come to know Henry VIII for are softened some when you look at him through the loving eyes of Bess, even after he breaks her heart and takes their Son to court.
The way that Diane Haeger brings this court to life is quickly becoming one of my favorite to read. If you want to jump into the life of Tudor court through the eyes of a calm, gentle loving country girl like Bess this is going to be one for you. We may know the basics of the story but after reading this (fiction or not) I truly feel connected and as if I now know Bess better.
My Gemstone Rating: