Royal Inheritance (Secrets of the Tudor Court #5) by Kate Emerson

Royal Inheritance Front Cover (Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster)

Royal Inheritance Front Cover (Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster)

This can’t really be the first time I’m reviewing historical fiction on this blog, can it? Historical fiction is my favorite genre, especially English historical fiction. I always say that I was an amateur Tudor scholar before it was cool to be one. The Secrets of the Tudor Court series has been one of my favorites, partially because it explores lesser-known courtiers. Sorry to say, though, that this entry was not my favorite in the series.
THE PLOT: Ethelreda Malte, known as Audrey, lives a comfortable life as the illegitimate daughter of King Henry VIII’s tailor, John Malte. In her first visits to court, Audrey is too naive to realize that courtiers are noting her striking resemblance to Princess Elizabeth and the king. But as the king bestows more and more favors on her family, Audrey is driven to discover the truth.

The story is framed by an older Audrey telling her daughter, Hester, the truth about her ancestry. This technique seemed very forced and inauthentic to me until about halfway through the book. Why on earth would Audrey tell this story to an eight-year-old child? Well, then it’s explained that Audrey, who has been ill, doesn’t think she has much time left, and she doesn’t want Hester to wonder forever about rumors and half-truths. The relationship with Audrey’s eventual husband, Jack Harrington, also seems uneven. Through three-quarters of the book, you’re led to believe that young Jack really cares for Audrey and would marry her if he had money. (However, the framed portions, located throughout the retelling of the past, reveal that older Jack is cheating on Audrey). Then, they finally marry to save Audrey from the machinations of a mustache-twirling villain, and suddenly it seems that Jack never really wanted her; he only married her for her inheritance. The end is so rushed that it feels like someone hit a fast-forward button.
BOTTOM LINE: While I recommend checking out Kate Emerson’s other titles, I found this novel just lukewarm. I don’t know if a first-time reader who started with this book would be intrigued enough to pick up others in the series. It was a fairly quick and effortless read, though.

TEACUP RATING: I’m giving the book three teacups. I just wasn’t hooked like I wanted to be, but I still look forward to Kate Emerson’s next novel.

ON SALE DATE: Royal Inheritance will be on sale September 24th.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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