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Maid of the King's Court by Lucy…
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Maid of the King's Court

by Lucy Worsley

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This book by the popular British television historian Lucy Worsley was first published in Britain in 2016 as Eliza Rose.

It tells the story of Elizabeth (“Eliza”) Camperdowne, a fictional cousin of Katherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII. The author stated in an Afterword that she wanted to look at Katherine’s history more sympathetically, which she thought she could accomplish by taking the point of view of a cousin/confidant.

Katherine, when 16 or 17, married the 49-year-old Henry VIII in 1540, very soon after the annulment of his marriage to Anne of Cleves was arranged. Katherine only lasted sixteen months, however; she was beheaded on the grounds of treason for committing adultery.

Worsley does indeed come up with a compassionate and interesting explanation for Katherine’s behavior, although she doesn’t quite make her simpatico. But my main problem with the book was the fictional main character Eliza. This girl never reached the level of likable in my opinion. I found her to be spoiled, greedy, jealous, short-sighted, and cruel throughout the story, which began when Eliza was 12 and continued until she was 19. This also made it quite difficult for me to believe that the (also fictional) king’s page, Ned Barsby, would be so smitten with her. She was consistently mean to him, and looked down upon him for his low birth. The outcome between these two seemed quite fictional indeed.

As for the story in general, I thought it plodded a bit. As interesting as the Tudor period was, the author, who apparently is very successful at constructing stories for the BBC, never managed to make this book for young adults into a riveting story, in my view. ( )
  nbmars | Mar 22, 2017 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0763688061, Hardcover)

In the vibrant, volatile court of Henry VIII, can even the most willful young woman direct her own fate and follow her heart in a world ruled by powerful men?

Clever, headstrong Elizabeth Rose Camperdowne knows her duty. As the sole heiress to an old but impoverished noble family, Eliza must marry a man of wealth and title — it’s the only fate for a girl of her standing. But when a surprising turn of events lands her in the royal court as a maid of honor to Anne of Cleves, Eliza is drawn into the dizzying, dangerous orbit of Henry the Eighth and struggles to distinguish friend from foe. Is her glamorous flirt of a cousin, Katherine Howard, an ally in this deceptive place, or is she Eliza’s worst enemy? And then there’s Ned Barsby, the king’s handsome page, who is entirely unsuitable for Eliza but impossible to ignore. British historian Lucy Worsley provides a vivid, romantic glimpse of the treachery, tragedy, and thrills of life in the Tudor court.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 06 Mar 2017 18:48:00 -0500)

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