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The Secret Bride by Diane Haeger
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The Secret Bride

by Diane Haeger

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2911338,609 (3.33)13
  1. 00
    The Pleasure Palace by Kate Emerson (Higgy90)
    Higgy90: The Secret Bride mentions Jane Popyncourt a lot and this book is all about her .Also very good.
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2.5 stars


Mary has known Charles Brandon since childhood and doesn’t hide her dislike. But growing up she notices her feelings starting to change, yet she knows that a princess can’t have a future with a duke. Mary does her duty by marrying the old French king and after her husband dies, she and Charles follow their hearts knowing Mary’s brother will be furious.

The book leaned more towards romance than straight historical fiction but unfortunately I couldn’t feel the passion between Mary and Charles. I kept waiting something to happen and sparks starting to fly but nothing. I didn’t really connect with Mary to be fully interested to know what happened with her. She was too naïve and well… maybe not too bright. And of course beautiful. Which we heard many, many times.

And there were too much sneaking around corners and secret meetings. How could Mary had the opportunity to do half of what she was doing?

This was rather easy and quick read but didn’t quite reach the expectations. ( )
  Elysianfield | Nov 16, 2016 |
Really I gave this a 3.5.

The book is well written and very interesting and wasn't the least bit contrived. I did have to skip/skim over a bit in the beginning...all the lavish explanation about the details of the rooms, clothing, etc. got a bit tedious for me.

It was interesting to see how Henry VIII changed.....and the story tied up nicely at the end.....no loose story lines remained.

I did not like this as much as The Perfect Royal Mistress, by Haeger...this wasn't quite as well written and was a bit slow in places. ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
I've always loved the Tudor period and have read numerous novels about them. I didn't know all that much about Mary, sister of Henry VIII and aunt to Elizabeth & Mary Tudor. IMO, Diane Haeger's one of the best historical fiction writer's being published today, but this novel definitely wasn't one of her best. The entire story dragged on without end. The romance was rather lacking, without real depth of feeling or passion. The story itself wasn't played out as well as it should've been and depth of character and a feeling of being able to connect to any of them was seriously lacking. If I wasn't so familiar with this author's work I'd think this was a first attempt at writing. ( )
  CozyLover | Jul 20, 2012 |
Beautifully written and a wonderful story of mary and charles. Not as much about her life but still very good. I found that this book was very easy to read compared to some other period pieces I've read and that just made it all the more enjoyable. ( )
  Higgy90 | Jun 19, 2012 |
I have to admit: I have been partially sucked into Tudor mania. Due to the popularity of Philippa Gregory's Tudor Court novels and Showtime's The Tudors, readers have started snatching up any book that has a connection to the infamous court of Henry VIII. These novels are made up of many of the same basic elements: political intrigue, sex, infidelity, love, and strong female characters struggling against the social conventions of the time period.

Diane Haeger's The Secret Bride hits every one of these plot elements while still bringing something different to the many fictional stories of the Tudor court. The Secret Bride follows the story of Henry VIII's younger sister, Mary Tudor. After the death of Arthur, Mary's oldest brother, and the forced departure of Margaret, Mary's older sister, to marry the King of Scotland, Henry and Mary cling to no one to fight the isolation of royal life and royal duty. The pair forge a strong relationship that will be tested throughout the novel.

This was the first Haeger novel I've ever picked up, and I was definitely not disappointed. The characters were intriguing, and I quickly found myself getting caught up in the life of strong-willed Mary Tudor and her seemingly doomed love affair with long-time family friend Charles Brandon. I was, however, a little surprised at Haeger's approach to the material, but not in a bad way. Instead of overloading the novel with politics or sex, like Gregory or The Tudors, Haeger focuses her novel on the relationships between Mary, Henry, and Charles. Even though the politics and sex are still present, they make up a small portion of the novel. Haeger explores such a wide variety of political questions that talking about them in depth would bog down the novel with too much information.

The sex in this novel was also surprisingly light for a Tudor period novel. Even though it was present, Haeger preferred to tastefully fade-to-black before the scene became too raunchy. This story is ideal for readers who enjoy reading about the period, but cringe at the vivid sex scenes that many Tudor historical fiction tends to have.

I can't say that Haeger is as good as Gregory, but I definitely think that she is a fine addition to any Tudor fan's library. Even though The Secret Bride is kind of difficult to get into at the beginning, I guarantee that the reader will be hooked by the end of the first chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I'm definitely looking forward to picking up more of Haeger's novels in the future. ( )
2 vote BookAddictDiary | Aug 12, 2011 |
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Epigraph
The ever whirling wheel of change; the which all mortal things doth sway.--Edmund Spenser
If a man shall take his brother's wife, it is an unclean thing, he hath uncovered his brother's nakedness, they shall be childless.--Leviticus
Now unto my lady a promise to her I make,
From all other only to her I me betake...Adieu mine
own lady, adieu, my special, who hath my heart truly,
be sure, and ever shall.--From "Green Groweth the Holly," written by Henry VIII for Katherine of Aragon
I have no fear but when you heard that our Prince, now Henry 8th, whom we may call our Octavius, had succeeded to his father's throne, all your melancholy left you at once. What may you not promise yourself from a Prince with whose extraordinary and almost Divine character you are well acquainted.--Lord Mountjoy to Erasmus, 1509
Time to pass with goodly sport our spirits to revive and comfort; To pipe, to sing, to dance, to spring with pleasure and delight
To follow Sensual Appetite.--Henry VIII
Dedication
For Alex, my joy, with all my love
First words
A collection of columbines, sweet peas and lillies of the valley clutched tightly in her hand, Mary dodged through the rows of apple trees in the orchard, chasing butterflies out behind the palace.
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Book description
For fans of The Tudors comes a captivating drama about the only woman who could defy Henry VIII -and keep her head. Mary Tudor, the headstrong younger sister of the ruthless King Henry VII, has always been her brother's favorite-but now she is also an important political bargaining chip. When she is promised to the elderly, ailing King Louis of France, a heartbroken Mary accepts her fate, but not before extracting a promise from her brother: When the old king dies, her next marriage shall be solely of her choosing. For Mary has a forbidden passion, and is determined, through her own cunning, courage, and boldness, to forge her own destiny.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451223136, Paperback)

For fans of The Tudors comes a captivating drama about the only woman who could defy Henry VIII -and keep her life.

Mary Tudor, the headstrong younger sister of the ruthless King Henry VII, has always been her brother's favorite-but now she is also an important political bargaining chip. When she is promised to the elderly, ailing King Louis of France, a heartbroken Mary accepts her fate, but not before extracting a promise from her brother: When the old king dies, her next marriage shall be solely of her choosing. For Mary has a forbidden passion, and is determined, through her own cunning, courage, and boldness, to forge her own destiny.

The Secret Bride is the triumphant tale of one extraordinary woman who meant to stay true to her heart and live her life just as her royal brother did- by her own rules...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Mary Tudor, the headstrong younger sister of the ruthless King Henry VII, has always been her brother's favorite-but now she is also an important political bargaining chip. When she is promised to the elderly, ailing King Louis of France, a heartbroken Mary accepts her fate, but not before extracting a promise from her brother: When the old king dies, her next marriage shall be solely of her choosing. For Mary has a forbidden passion, and is determined, through her own cunning, courage, and boldness, to forge her own destiny.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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