Friday, December 20, 2013

THE BOLEYN DECEIT by Laura Andersen

Publisher:  Ballantine
Date published:   November 5, 2013
Genre:   Alternative History
Format:  Paperback
Obtained via:  Publisher
Reviewed by name and email address:  Gina


Christmas 1554 is heralded in by King William and Princess Elizabeth Tudor along with their lifelong friends Minuette and Dominic amid fireworks and a lunar eclipse.  As the sky darkens, Dominic finds his way to Minuette…their love a necessary secret as William as decided that the petite blonde is the only woman for him.  He declares his love for Minuette and his desire to marry her.  While she loves William, it is as a friend—it is Dominic who holds her heart.  But a marriage between them must be sanctioned by William, something he will not do.

As the holidays pass Minuette is called deeper into the king’s service to ferret out secrets that could cause him his throne.  She is more determined than ever to find who killed her friend Alyce.  Court intrigue leads her down one path and then another. 

Meanwhile Elizabeth waits in limbo—if William marries the ten year old French princess Elisabeth, the English Tudor princess may, just may, be able to marry for love—but the love of her life is married to antoher and William is not inclined to grant him a divorce. 

If William has his way and marries Minuette—after throwing over the young French princess, then it is Elizabeth who must marry for political gain. 

Intrigue lurks behind every corner as Minuette’s life is threatened, but by the Catholic or Protestant factions?  Or is the threat closer to home?  Perhaps someone in Elizabeth’s household?  And while William struggles to keep his feelings for Minuette hidden, at least until his alliances are secured, Dominic falls deeper and deeper in love with her and she with him.  Each walks a fine line, necessitated out of loyalty and political need, struggling with what is best for England.

I debated going forward reading Laura Andersen’s THE BOLEYN DECEIT because I wasn’t particularly enamoured of book one of her trilogy, THE BOLEYN KING.  In book 1 the author seemed undecided just what kind of book she wanted to write and it came across as the perverbial “throw it all at the wall and hope something useful comes from it.”  At times an adult mystery, at others a young adult, and sometimes historical fiction that didn’t come together all that well.  Book 2, the BOLEYN DECEIT was a complete turn around with a great story.  The tension between William, Dominic and Minuette was well done.  Ms. Andersen captured the angst a royal would suffer in choosing between his or her heart and what was good for his country.  The need for someone to turn to yet trusting no one lures you further into the story.  Who do you root for and why?

In addition to the reappearance of John Dee, other individuals who were in the real Queen Elizabeth I’s orbit are introduced into the story adding some wonderful dimension to the story.  Excellent descriptions of the scenery make the story more vivid. 

There are also characters that you just love to hate, like Eleanor, and I have to admit I enjoyed it when she got her own comeuppance.  I’m glad I continued on with the series and now find myself looking forward to book 3, the BOLEYN RECKONING.

This is an objective review and not an endorsement this book.

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