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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Very Like A Queen by Martin Lake

Alice is a favourite of the King, but being his mistress was living life on the edge. You never knew how or why or when the mercurial King would have a change of heart and move on.  The balancing act was a difficult one because with this King getting rid of a mistress or Queen was very easy - all you had to do was accuse her of treason and his courts did the balance work.

Being in favour with Henry VIII was no walk in the park and you could never tell when his eye would move over to someone else and you were out.The life of being a mistress of Henry VIII was not just pleasing the King but also pleasing and being on good terms with his Ministers and hangers on of which there were myriad ones. No one wanted a mistress or Queen for that matter to have too much influence over a King even in small matters. Everyone remembered the influence that Anne Boleyn had over the King and the benefits that accrued to her family as a result (to the detriment of everyone else that is!).

A protector in the form of Thomas Cromwell was ideal for Alice. He stood in strong favour with the King, he was not interested in Alice as a woman but when he fell from his position Alice was thrown to the wolves.

The story gives one an insight into the position of women in the Court of Henry VIII. Those who were pretty and clever could survive, ups and downs aplenty but survive they did whereas if they were only pretty they did not. Women were pawns not just at the mercy of husbands but sadly at the hands of fathers and brothers who used them only as merchandise to gain position and property for the family.

The story of Alice was a complicated one - she was one who was determined to survive against severe odds and it was a triumph for her.

I enjoyed the wealth of historical detail and the story of Alice against the backdrop of both Katharine Howard and Anne of Cleves.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake House 


Christina T said...

This is a fascinating time period. I love Tudor history though I certainly wouldn't have wanted to live in that time! It is true that women were powerless and at court things could get pretty dangerous. I will have to look for this when it is published. Nice review!

bermudaonion said...

I'm not crazy about that time period but most of my friends are. I'll have to recommend it to some of them.