Lovely Nyssa Wyndham, as fair and proud as her mother Blaze, is lady-in-waiting to Henry VIII’s fourth wife.Scandalizing all of England, Henry has his marriage annulled, for the queen cannot meet the bawdy desires of the insatiable king. Henry seeks a spirited, lusty new wife—and eyes the beautiful Nyssa. But in a land rife with conspiracy and rebellion, there are those in secret power determined to thwart Henry’s intentions. A drugged Nyssa awakens in the arms of the notorious rake Varian de Winter. With her virtue destroyed, the outraged king orders them to wed.Handsome—and soon smitten—Varian de Winter dares to conquer his spitfire bride. But the intrigues and dark side of the court intrude upon their brief happiness as Nyssa is trapped in a devious plot and witness to the deadly wrath of Henry Tudor. Suddenly, jealousy and revenge grow bloodthirsty, and all that Nyssa holds dear is in dire jeopardy.
Review: This was an historical romance that was steeped in history surrounding the life of Henry VIII and the Tudors. It was richly written with a lot of historical facts but did not read as a textbook and flowed smoothly with added characters from the author’s imagination. We were introduced to heartwarming characters like Nyssa and the Wyndham family along with some of the maidens in the Queen’s Court and others in the King’s court many whom often had their own agenda which was not always in the best interests of or for the good of the royal family or the King’s Court.
The prologue helped set the stage for the storyline and the book itself was in three parts as we follow the life of King Henry and several of his wives, with Queen Catherine being in the forefront, and all the politics and ceremonies that are a part of their lives. One of the main events in the book was the summer’s progress which seemed to be a long and drawn out affair and I felt sorry for all those who were ordered to participate in it. There were family and friends, servants, lots of people that were in the King’s confidence, individuals that were loyal to the Crown and others who were not. There was love and romance as well as acts that were neither. It was interesting to see where Nyssa grew up and her family situation. She was always the peacemaker and put others before herself since she was so caring while one of the maidens and also to the queen. There was closure both on the historical side as well as for Nyssa.
The Afterword at the end of the book presented additional information on Henry VIII and the other historical figures in the book and what happened to them after the book ended. A nice touch by the author was her statement: “As for the Wyndhams of RiversEdge, and the de Winters of Winterhaven, they are my own creation. Rest assured, however, that they lived happily ever after, and may one day appear in the pages of another of my novels.”
I had not realized there was a book one in the series – Blaze Wyndham – and plan to go back and read it which will help set the stage of things alluded to in book two. I look forward to reading other books by this new to me author – both in the historical and contemporary romance genres.
Favorite Quote: “Indeed, Your Grace, it is! I have never been anywhere as grand. Lady Browne is working hard to teach me all I must know to be of true use to our gracious queen. I am even learning High Dutch!”