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The King's Damsel by Kate Emerson
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The King's Damsel (2012)

by Kate Emerson

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This is the fifth book in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series, but it can easily be read stand-alone. The main character is Tamsin Lodge, who is orphaned at 13 years old. Her guardianship is purchased by a slimy individual named Sir Lionel Daggett. Sir Lionel wants to worm his way into the Royal Court, and he tries to use young Tamsin to do so. Against her will, she is sent to be a maid of honor for Princess Mary, though Tamsin quickly becomes loyal to King Henry's daughter. Tamsin goes to great lengths to protect the princess from the very jealous Anne Boleyn, even joining Anne's household to spy for Mary.

While many characters in this book are historical figures, Tamsin is a fictional character based on the "king's damsel" mentioned in an actual letter from the Spanish Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys. I liked Tamsin and her fierce loyalty to Mary. I felt like a lot of this book was Tamsin observing things happening to the other characters, which was what she was supposed to do as a spy. It really wasn't until the last quarter of the book that Tamsin was in the center of the action.

I wish that Rafe Pinckney's character and his relationship with Tamsin had been developed more. Rafe needed a bigger presence in the book.

For me, the most memorable character in this book is Princess Mary. This is the first book I've read with Mary as a child, and it was interesting to see how her life was as Henry VIII's daughter and hear her thoughts, especially after Anne Boleyn takes a hold of the king's attention.

Overall, I thought THE KING'S DAMSEL was an enjoyable read that just wrapped up too quickly. Tudor history buffs should read this book for its portrayal of young Princess Mary. ( )
  bookofsecrets | Nov 14, 2012 |
Henry V111, Tudors, Historical Fiction ( )
  ScriverS | Sep 15, 2012 |
Tamsin Lodge's story begins in 1525 during her 13th year. She has lost both her dad & brother, and should be able to live a comfortable life with her stepmother. But then she learns that her guardianship has been bought. Everything she inherited along with herself is now under the control of Sir Lionel Daggett. Daggett sends Tamsin to be part of Princess Mary's household. Between Daggett, Mary Tudor & the attentions of Henry the VII she'll be lucky to survive life among the royals.

Excellent read! I enjoyed Tamsin Lodge story. She is younger than most of the leads in this series and one of my favorites. She seemed genuinely nice. Her first actions weren't of scheming and advancement, which is rare. The women in the Secrets of the Tudor Court are strong and for the most part they are survivors. They are what I like to call 'the ones that got away'. From Henry VIII and his hobby of beheading his lovers/wives. Ms. Emerson brings another brilliant installment of life in the Tudor Court. A King's Damsel is captivating. A story of spying, loyalty, temptations and long awaited love. I highly recommend this book as well as the series. ( )
  vampiregirl76 | Aug 24, 2012 |
I have not had the opportunity to read any of Ms. Emerson's previous Secrets of the Tudor Court series but from what I can glean she like to present the familiar of Tudor life with fictional characters tied to real life actions. There is certainly a library full of Tudor reading out there right now so trying to find a way to differentiate is, I'm sure, challenging. In the case of The King's Damsel a letter written by a Spanish envoy about Henry VIII's interest in one of Queen Anne Boleyn's ladies provides the impetus for intrigue and romance.

Young Thomasine (Tamsin) Lodge finds herself an heiress after the untimely deaths of her father and brother. She soon finds that her guardianship has been purchased by a rather unpleasant Lord (Lionel) who is looking to use her to gain favor at court. He has her placed as a lady in waiting to young Princess Mary where Tamsin forms a strong bond of loyalty to the princess that she will honor with her life and whatever else might be necessary.

Along the way she meets a brash and handsome apprentice to a silkwoman - Rafe Pinckney - who becomes the object of her dreams and thoughts even though he is not of her class. Soon Anne Boleyn is moving into Henry VIII's orbit and trying to push Mary away from her father. It is determined that Tamsin could help the princess by becoming a spy in the Queen to be's household. How far will she go to help her true mistress?

Well, we all know Henry VIII and his proclivities by now and how hard it would have been to say no to the man who held the power of life and "off with her head" over one's erm, head. So we know exactly how far Tamsin goes. It's where it leads that provides her biggest problems.

This was a quick and light historical read. It provided a different look at well trod material by taking the reader into Princess Mary's entourage rather than into Anne Bolelyn's. The characterization of Anne will not sit well with those that feel she did not receive a fair shake from history - it is very one dimensional. Many of the characters lacked a lot of depth but this is not meant to be a deep, historical study.

Tamsin is a likable girl with lots of what we call moxie today. She knows how to think for herself and works towards an end. Even when faced with the worst, she deals. Rafe is a good foil for her even though he makes limited appearances in the book. My biggest complaint is the ending. It was short, quite abrupt and wrapped far too much up within a single paragraph. ( )
  BrokenTeepee | Aug 9, 2012 |
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Handmaid. Spy. Mistress. Anxious to secure his own success at the glittering court of Henry VIII, heiress Tamsin Lodge’s ambitious guardian obtains her a position as maid of honor to young Princess Mary Tudor. Tamsin soon comes to love the neglected child, but in the Tudor court, not even a princess is secure. Mary’s father is besotted with the lovely Anne Boleyn, and the girl’s future has grown perilous. Plotting to be Mary’s eyes and ears, Tamsin joins Anne’s service, but the handsome silk worker who is her co-conspirator may be her undoing. While marriage with a merchant is unthinkable, she cannot resist Rafe Pinckney’s embraces. When Tamsin also attracts the lusty Henry, she must choose between loyalty and desire. . . . With Anne’s jealousy growing dangerous, can Tamsin survive the schemes and seductions that surround her?
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Thomasine Lodge, a lady-in-waiting to King Henry's daughter, Princess Mary, becomes the Princess's confidante--and her eyes and ears--when Henry marries Anne Boleyn, who, distrustful and suspicious of Mary, takes Thomasine into her service where she catches the king's roving eye.… (more)

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