Genre: Historical Fiction, YA
Eliza Rose Camperdowne is young and headstrong, but she knows her duty well. As the only daughter of a noble family, she must one day marry a man who is very grand and very rich.
But Fate has other plans. When Eliza becomes a maid of honour, she’s drawn into the thrilling, treacherous court of Henry the Eighth . . .
Is her glamorous cousin Katherine Howard a friend or a rival?
And can a girl choose her own destiny in a world ruled by men?
Going into this book I didn’t think I would enjoy it. For one I’m not a big fan of romance novels and two I don’t like stories about Kings and Queens and the royal court. Therefore I didn’t have very high expectations for this book but the cover was pretty and it was part of my reading challenge so I gave it a shot and wow!
This book is about a young girl who has come from a once noble family but they are now short on money and their only hope is that Eliza will marry a rich man who can provide for them and restore the once glorious home of the Camperdownes.
Eliza however has other plans, although she will do her duty she is fierce and stubborn…not exactly wife material. Therefore she gets sent away to be taught how to behave properly in the royal court where she is to find a wealthy husband. The royal court is that of Henry VIII and his many wives. However we find out that Eliza’s cousin is Katherine Howard!
For anyone who knows their history you will be all too familiar with the story of Henry’s wives…divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Therefore it isn’t too difficult to figure out what will happen to Katherine however for me this wasn’t a spoiler. It just made everything more interesting when half way through the book I figured out the order which she was and therefore I knew of her fate. It added tension to the book and I loved every second of it!
For those of you who think a book about maids and queens and royal courts isn’t for you I’d seriously reconsider. There is drama, tension and so much gossiping! I absolutely loved it! If you are a bit of a fan of history (not the biggest fan, as long as you know who Henry the Eighth is you’ll be fine) and gossip then you will love this book! It was a very quick read for me as I just had to know what happened! I really did feel sorry for Eliza because I knew what fate was to become of her cousin and the post that she would have to take up after it happened.
It really made me look at that time period differently, everyone is so focused on Henry that not many people think about what life was like for his wives who were forced to provide him with a son or else they would be disposed of one way or another.
I would definitely recommend this and to urge people not to be put off by the setting, it is about more than knowing when to curtsey or how to look after a queen! It is about a young girl facing some hard struggles to save her family and to try and still behave like a proper maid of honour.
Summing up: An interesting take on a historical era