Yet another novel written on the Tudors, especially Elizabeth, this book is, by turns, a romance, an historical, and a soap opera. The main problem seems to be that it is written in first person - so little is known about Katherine Champernowne, later Kat Ashley, that a personal retelling doesn't really flesh out the bones of her story. It would have been more interesting to have another person's account of the same incidents running parallel to hers. As it is, it's not exactly gripping reading, beacause any Tudor afficionado will already know 'what happens next'. Making the reader care about it is something else. It is well researched,which is great, but tends to be a little dry. Also, in spite of that research, there are some howling modern language clunkers that slip through. Whilst not expecting the story in the original Tudor (!) I was a bit irked to see modern American language like:'don't you 'sass' me' - not ever a British turn of phrase, surely?! I counted at least three such mistakes, so the editing was also at fault. Character wise, Kat and Elizabeth stand out from the rest of the cast, well, it's their 'love story', so fair enough. However, the rest of the glittering cast is so much wallpaper. Aside from that, Kat is the heroine of a HP novel - a beautiful orphan who leaps at the chance to spy for her betters and so rise in society, from Anne Boleyn's servant to that of her daughter. There's the obligatory rape, a romance that eventually leads to marriage, pursuit by enemies, imprisonment, release,etc etc. The author also doesn't properly round off the story, so Kat's death is dealt with in the notes that follow. Everyone seems interested in these notes,the writer's bio, and the advert for the 'next' book (on Shakespeare's 'wife' apparently) but having persevered that far, I would have preferred the book to follow through.