The fifth book in Charity Bishop's Tudor Throne Series does not disappoint! Intrigue and treachery still swirl around King Henry VII even while his court celebrates the Twelve Days of Christmas. Many familiar faces and names return from the previous four books, and I love that I'm really starting to feel like I know King Henry, Queen Elizabeth, Kathrine of Aragon, Prince Harry, and Princess Maggie. But not Thomas Lovell, because he is, of course #unknowable. Or so he likes to tell himself.
I was just telling my husband yesterday about how Lovell started out in The Usurper's Throne as this sort of cunning, deceitful, shadowy figure that you told yourself you'd just have to trust even if you weren't sure you should like him as much as you do. And yet, he was one of my favorite characters in it, and by now, yeah, he's totally my favorite. In the whole series. Because you know I love me a guy with a dark, ruthless exterior and a melted-chocolate center.
Anyway. This book revolves around Lambert Simnel, the titular falconer for Queen Elizabeth. As a boy, he was used by King Henry's enemies as a Pretender to the throne in one of their many attempts to overthrow the Tudor monarch. Henry spared his life and allowed him to work in the royal household, no doubt so he could keep an eye on him, and Simnel eventually became their falconer. All of that comes straight from history. Bishop weaves a compelling spy tale into this story, with Lovell enlisting Simnel's aid to round up the last cadre of Henry's enemies.
Though the series as a whole has focused a lot on the king and queen, this book makes them its emotional center, as Elizabeth prepares for her confinement and the birth of their latest child. She and Henry love each other deeply, and the impending separation darkens their yuletide festivities. Though many things do get sorted out in a satisfactory way by the end of the book, sticking to the historical events means this book has a sad ending, alas.
As always, this book left me wanting more, and I eagerly await book six!
Particularly Good Bits:
"Sin being common does not make it right" (p. 19).
"Never apologize for tears. I can protect you from many things, but not sorrow. It is the price we pay for our love... and our mistakes" (p. 65).
If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It: PG-16 for husbands and wives desiring each other, discussions of marital infidelity and love affairs, and violence.
This is my 30th book read from my TBR shelves for #TheUnreadShelfProject2020