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4.1 out of 5 stars51
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 22 April 2015
SPOILERS AHEAD

An interesting plot, though a little slow to begin with. It could have been an amazing book if it weren't for the following:

1) Americanisms. E.L. James fell foul to this too with her British lingo in her Murrica-set trilogy, but I digress.

2) Surviving and recovering from Apoplexy/a stroke in the 1500s. Granted, Hal does die from this later, but I still can't believe he completely recovered from paralysis brought on by a stroke. Yes, the left side of his mouth remains a little drooped, but that's about it.

3) Surviving a caesarian and proceeding to have more children. Jane Seymour died from this, Cecily should have too, especially at her young age of under 20 (I put it at 15/16).

4) Mary-Sue protagonist. Cecily is too perfect. She's beautiful, innocent, pure, never does anything bad, everyone loves her even the antagonist, an she's even nice to those she hates, plays the lute really well, sings really well, clever... Getting orphaned at 8 and the drama/tragedy of the story do not count as a way to balance things out. When she committed adultery, I was cheering just for the fact that she'd sinned, not because of who she did it with.

5) Gary-Stu Father Alec. He's handsome, young-looking even at fifty so he and 28-year-old-or-something Cecily can get it on, nice, kind, forgiving... The couple are obviously made for each other as they're almost inhuman. Alec at least shows more realism in that he gets drunk/angry/sarcastic etc.

6) Gary-Stu Hal. Nice, kind, handsome...basically the same as Alec just different vocations. He looks young so that it isn't too awkward when he marries Cecily, and so that she can fall in love with him and have his babies. He punishes himself for years by wearing a hairshirt for drunkenly raping a woman (Mirabella's mother). Turns out it wasn't rape - the woman consented and seduced him! Happy days! Hal's one sin is erased so he and Cecily can easily make babies as mentioned.

7) "He quit the room." "She quit the apartments." Complete and utter repetition of someone quitting a place, often used to conclude paragraphs or chapters. Someone leaving the room is a weak way to end in itself, but for them to always, ALWAYS "quit" the room is unbearably tedious to read over and over again.

8) Time confusion. Sometimes it's clear as to what date it is and all, but I struggled earlier on with how old Cecily and Mirabella were. For instance, I cannot for the life of me work out how old Cecily was when she gave birth to Harry, meaning I don't know how old he is when the book ends, but I'm guessing twelve. It's just implied to be other ages, like 9 or 10 or whatever. The same goes for her second child, Kristina.

9) NAMES. For the Tudor era, some of the names are awfully out of context. Back then, you'd never find a Lady Ashley (first name), but you do here. I highly doubt they would shorten names back then, like Hal and Harry from Harold, but maybe they did? My main concern with this is adding a shortened name with their courtesy title, like Lord Hal. We don't call seriously Alan Sugar "Lord Al" or "Lord Shuggs". Also, I think Kristina would have been spelt Christina back then, as a K isn't English and patriotic enough. Most of the other names though are fine.

10) It isn't set in the Tudor court. The title is misleading.

Those are the 9 setbacks. Other than that, I did enjoy the plot, and the writing style. I really liked Mirabella and Grace, they were the characters with the most depth, although Mirabella did go a bit wierd and crazy... I also think it could have suited a different time period better - say, Victorians or something.
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on 9 September 2013
I am afraid that I am at a complete loss to see any similarities at all with Philippa Gregory - if you enjoy her books and her scholarship then don't expect this book to be in the same league. As a previous reviewer has said there is a very small proportion (probably less than 5%) spent at court so the title is at best inappropriate. What really grated with me was Americanisms and modern words creeping into the text "you've got it figured out" " you fabricated your own death"(first recorded 1779) and "histrionics" (first known use 1864) amongst them
If you want to read a voice which sounds authentic (to my ear anyway) then save your money on this one and for the princely sum of £1.96 more than this book you can buy both Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies from Amazon!
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on 29 January 2013
SUPER READ, LOVED THE HISTORICAL CONTENT, I ACTUALLY GOT QUITE LOST IN THE STORY OF LOVE, HAPPINESS AND SADNESS,A BOOK I WOULD HAPPILY READ AGAIN.
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on 26 January 2013
Misleading title it is about a character and family not the Tudors. Laboured through it speed reading much of the text in order to find an interesting plot, which was not in evidence.
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on 20 January 2013
Gave this book a four star rating was very easy reading with good content which showed how fervant the people who lived at that time were about their beliefs in religion and how difficult they found it to look outside of the box. It also incorporated a very believable story about the ups and downs of a family torn apart by the upheaval during Henry viii reign and the dissolution of the monastries and all that they had held dear. Would recommend the book to others who enjoy a story that also includes the changing times and uncertainty of that era. A very goog read
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on 7 January 2013
Very interesting, most books are written about that time about Henry's Court but this book is about the gentry. I enjoyed seeing the different aspect of the time.
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on 17 March 2013
Not about the Court at all. Historically inaccurate. Stupid mistakes throughout and not even well-written stupid mistakes. Don't waste your money on this one.
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on 8 November 2012
Not quite finished this book yet, but I can't seem to put it down. Very well written with all the necessary historical facts added. Storyline is very good and portrays the views of women at this period of history. I will certainly read more by this author, she is up on a par with Phillipa Gregory (who I love!!). GOOD READ.
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on 27 December 2012
A truly good book well worth reading the storyline kept you entertained right to the end definitely recommend to anyone interested in history of the tuners
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on 24 September 2014
If you like Mills and Boon, soap opera drama, then you'll love this. If you're looking for decent historical fiction, well researched and actually at the Tudor court, steer well clear.
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