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The Pleasure Palace, by Kate Emerson (audiobook read by Alison Larkin)

Jane and her mother flee to England when the French king dies unexpectedly. The pair are welcomed to the court of King Henry VII and he even assigns Jane to his children’s household, starting friendships that last for decades…
The Pleasure Palace is the first book in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series by Kate Emerson. I believe I have read this book before but decided to listen to the audiobook as the whole series is available via the library.
The Tudor court is brought vividly to life through the eyes of an almost unknown character, Jane Popyncourt. Originally from France, she joins the royal household. I thought the characters and setting descriptions were effective in sending me back in time. The danger and machinations of the Tudor court added tension to the plot.
The style of writing is easy to read. In the audio version I found the voices a little offputting at times. The narrator seemed to do a childish voice at some points.
Jane Popincourt was a real figure at the court of Henry VII and his son Henry VIII but I don’t remember reading about her in my many non fiction books. This meant the book had a freshness of perpective but I also doubted its historical accuracy.
The twist about Jane’s parents’ past seemed obvious from the start, or maybe I did vaguely remember from my previous reading. The ending is a little abrupt and I would have like to know what happens to Jane next (I wonder if we will meet her in later books in the series). I also wish the author had included an historical note to further my knowledge.
The Pleasure Palace is an enjoyable novel and will please Tudor history fans like me!

The Pleasure Palace book cover

Book blurb:
Beautiful. Seductive. Innocent. Jane Popyncourt was brought to the court as a child to be ward of the king and a companion to his daughters — the princesses Margaret and Mary.
With no money of her own, Jane could not hope for a powerful marriage, or perhaps even marriage at all. But as she grows into a lovely young woman, she still receives flattering attention from the virile young men flocking to serve the handsome new king, Henry VIII, who has recently married Catherine of Aragon.
Then a dashing French prisoner of war, cousin to the king of France, is brought to London, and Jane finds she cannot help giving some of her heart — and more — to a man she can never marry. But the Tudor court is filled with dangers as well as seductions, and there are mysteries surrounding Jane’s birth that have made her deadly enemies.
Can she cultivate her beauty and her amorous wiles to guide her along a perilous path and bring her at last to happiness? Basing her gripping tale on the life of the real Jane Popyncourt, gifted author Kate Emerson brings the Tudor monarchs, their family, and their courtiers to brilliant life in this vibrant new novel.

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