Author: Kate Emerson
Series: 3rd (The Pleasure Palace, Between Two Queen's)
Published: December 14th 2010 by Pocket
Source: Personal Copy
Description: Charming. Desirable. Forbidden. Brought to court with other eligible young noblewomen by the decree of King Henry VIII, lovely Elizabeth "Bess" Brooke realizes for the first time that beauty can be hazardous. Although Bess has no desire to wed the aging king, she and her family would have little choice if Henry's eye were to fall on her. And other dangers exist as well, for Bess has caught the interest of dashing courtier Will Parr. Bess finds Will's kisses as sweet as honey, but marriage between them may be impossible. Will is a divorced man, and remarriage is still prohibited. Bess and Will must hope that the king can be persuaded to issue a royal decree allowing Will to marry again . . . but to achieve their goal, the lovers will need royal favor. Amid the swirling alliances of royalty and nobles, Bess and Will perform a dangerous dance of palace intrigue and pulse-pounding passions.
I Give This ...
I've heard both Bess and Will's name heard before. But for some reason, I had never really put the two together. I was hoping that this book could really bring to life what these two might have gone through.
I've always found in fascinating that King Henry VIII could marry at whim, but the people couldn't do the same. It's not that I'm agreeing with the way he did things, just that he's the poster boy for hypocrisy. Especially in the case of William Parr. He's wife was found guilty of adultery and therefore Will was considered divorced. But, he didn't have the right to remarry at he pleased. He had to appeal to the King and be granted a royal decree.
Bess had caught the eye of the King earlier, and thankfully nothing had come of it. She enjoyed being at court though and it didn't take her long to find a little intrigue. I was afraid at first that she was willing to just become Will's mistress and that Will wasn't willing to go the distance for Bess. I was proved wrong though as Bess really defies everyone to be with the man she loves. Will was a little less courageous, but I didn't blame him for tip-toeing around King Henry VII. It was easier to wait until King Edward came to the throne. Also didn't hurt that a little blackmail was done to get what they wanted.
I found Will and Bess' relationship interesting because their status changed according to who was on the throne. Under protestant rule (which included both King Edward and Queen Elizabeth), their marriage was valid. The couple thrived under King Edward and as marchioness, Bess was one of the highest ladies in the land. However, in between the two, England was under strict Catholic rule at Queen Mary was not forgiving. Their marriage was struck down and it was decreed that Will was still married to his previous wife. Their were times I seriously wondered if either of them might lose their heads due to their constant defiance of the Queen.
Through it all Will and Bess remained together. I admired that because I think it showed that they were truly in love. Bess refused to marry someone else. She believed she was Will's true wife and would see him through anything. Will never gave me any reason to doubt his feelings either. I did feel slightly sorry for his ex wife though. He titles and land came from her. So, she kind of got the short of the end stick when their marriage was declared invalid. Although really...she brought it on herself.