Guest Book Review – “Secrets of the Tudor Court: The Pleasure Palace” by Kate Emerson
This is the first book I have read from this author and certainly it will not be the last.
With some Historical Fiction, there is fact, but there is also ‘poetic licence’ the author brings, it is defiantly a craft that this author weaves, a good imagination and some well-informed research, always brings the character alive and stops them being flat.
I am not a historian, so cannot attest to what I have read in this book correct, but what I do know, is that this lady actually existed, however, little is known about the real Jane Popyncourt, but I think Emerson has brought her to life with aplomb.
Without spoiling too much, I can say that it starts with Jane in France, living with her mother, until the French king dies and she is whisked off to England to be a companion to King Henry VII’s children.
The time span of this book is quite far-reaching and survives through the reign of two kings, it is a tale of tragedy and loss, love and disappointment. Emerson had me reading to the very end, I will most definitely carry on with this series and see whom she brings to life next.
What I found out about the real Jane Popyncourt
From what I can gather, there are several spellings of her name, the one above and Poppincourt, both of which are the same lady.
Her adult life was spent in the company of royalty, being that of all rank, so her standard of living was a comfortable one.
She was appointed as a maid of honour to Katherine of Aragon, and later rumoured to have been one of Henry VIII’s many mistresses.
In 1513 after the Battle of the Spurs, Louis I d’Orléans, duc de Longueville was captured and taken a prisoner, even though he was technically under lock and key, he was allowed to roam free and act as an ambassador to the court.
That is where he met Jane and the two started a dangerous liaison. Due to the station in which Jane occupied, it was heavily frowned upon, seeing as he was technically still the enemy and potentially ruining her chances of an advantageous marriage.
Because Jane had been brought up with Henry VII’s children she was close to Mary Tudor, who was about to become the Queen of France in 1514; Their closeness meant that Mary wanted to take Jane with her to France as one of her ladies in waiting, but upon the news reaching Louis XII he was appalled and was said that he wanted to ‘incinerate her’ and refused to let ‘such an immoral woman’ attend his new wife.
From the accounts in the book, Mary and Jane had engendered a sisterly relationship and must have been painful for the two of them to be split apart.
1516 was the year that Jane returned to France and this is where the trail grows cold, I like to think that she went on to be happy, perhaps meeting a nice man she could settle down with, but I have to let my imagination ponder on this question.
I have made a point not to talk much about her mother, this was intentional as it affects a major plotline in the book, not for the want of telling you, I will not……spoilers!
I enjoyed this romp into the Tudor Court, this look into the life of an ordinary lady making her way through the sometimes perilous times of this era.
I say good on you Kate Emerson, for writing about the ‘bit players’ of this era, that actually paved a way into the lifes and times of the non royal.
The book is available in all forms and if you want an easy enjoyable read, then, why not start here.
Thank you for dropping by and have a booktastic day!
I have read the entire series. Kate Emerson is a good author, slightly historically inaccurate but she is writing fiction. All enjoyable reads.
I am an avid Anne fan myself. I admire Catherine of Aragon but she is somewhat too passive, accepted Henry’s treatment of her rather than actively involved in changing the outcome.