The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review via NetGalley.
As a fan of historical fiction, especially those stories that revolve around the Tudors, I couldn’t help but be drawn to this book. However it’s not an ordinary historical fiction, it is in fact an alternate historical fiction in which events do not follow what we have known to be true for that time. I do enjoy books that take this “what if” approach to history and give the reader a new and refreshing look on the past and how it might have turned out had certain events been different or not happened at all.
It didn’t take long for me to be absorbed in this story. I’d say within the first chapter or two I found myself devouring the book and not wanting to put it down. I think the most appealing thing about this book if you don’t know what is going to happen, oh sure I had a few ideas of how things might play out, but if you have read a number of historical fiction novels involving the same characters there are rarely any surprised when you read another one. The exception being in cases like this, where the story does not follow history but makes up it’s own as alternate events play out and many of the acts within history that we have come to know do not occur.
The book had a really nice pace to it, almost right from the start there was a constant stream of things popping up that propelled the story forward. There were the odd slow spots here and there but those times were few and often held significance to an upcoming event in the story.
As far as characters go there was a huge array of them. Many of the characters are those that readers of historical fiction will be familiar with, their roles within this book are different from the stories they are regularly seen in. The main characters consisted of four friends, William the son of King Henry VIII, Elizabeth his sister, Minuette a lady of Elizabeth and Dominic a trusted friend of William as well as the two women. These four characters have a very close relationship with each other and there are times when that relationship does complicate matters, especially in the latter half of the book, but that is half of the appeal to this story. I am definitely interested to see how these relationship continue to change, grow and possibly crumble as this series progresses.
I liked how throughout the story there were letters which had been sent between the various characters along with diary entries from Minuette that helped to give the reader a bit further insight to who those characters were and events that were occurring within the story and also eluded to thing that were either in the past or may happen in the future.
This book had everything I love about historical fictions. Intrigue, power struggles, treason, whispers of war, love (both wanted and unwanted), secrets, alliances forming and falling, and the presence of the Boleyn family which always adds an extra and sometimes unexpected layer to everything. But of course it all had that twist because it is an alternate history where things are fairly unpredictable.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I feel that it will appeal to those who enjoy historical fiction, but especially to those who enjoy those books that have an alternative twist to them. I definitely recommend this book to historical fiction enthusiasts as well as those who are looking for something a bit more unique in that genre to read. I will be reading the rest of the series as well to see how events unfold.