The King’s Damsel
Gallery, Aug 7 2012, $16.00
In 1525 Glastonbury, thirteen years old heiress Thomasine Lodge mourns the losses of her father Sir Arthur from a fever and her brother Stephen in a hunting accident. A letter arrives from a stranger, Sir Lionel Daggett who claims he is her legal guardian. A stunned Thomasine and her gentle stepmother Blanche meet with him as he explains he purchased her guardianship from King Henry VIII.
Sir Lionel assigns his ward as a Lady-In-Waiting to Princess Mary as a means to get inside the court where he orders her to become the monarch’s mistress. She disobeys his command as she has no desire to help the ambitious amoral Sir Lionel gain insider advantages though she ends up in the Anne Boleyn’s circle where she learns of the personal advantages of becoming the King’s Damsel.
Based on a 1534 letter, this is an engaging Tudor historical fiction that brings to life the insider machinations during the 1520s and 1530s reign of Henry VIII. Thomasine proves to be a strong protagonist who seems real as she more than just survives the intrigue of a court in which innuendoes lead to executions. Although the romantic subplot feels out of place as the heroine learns lessons in manipulating others and surviving the manipulation by the same others. Still fans of Kate Emerson’s Secrets of the Tudor Court will enjoy her latest sixteenth century thriller.