Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book Review: The Queen's Pleasure by Brandy Purdy

When young Robert Dudley, an earl’s son, meets squire’s daughter Amy Robsart, it is love at first sight. They marry despite parental misgivings, but their passion quickly fades, and the ambitious Dudley returns to court.

Swept up in the turmoil of Tudor politics, Dudley is imprisoned in the Tower. Also a prisoner is Dudley’s childhood playmate, the princess Elizabeth. In the shadow of the axe, their passion ignites. When Elizabeth becomes queen, rumors rage that Dudley means to free himself of Amy in order to wed her. And when Amy is found dead in unlikely circumstances, suspicion falls on Dudley—and the Queen…

Still hotly debated amongst scholars—was Amy’s death an accident, suicide, or murder?—the fascinating subject matter makes for an enthralling read for fans of historical fiction.

I was fortunate enough to be able to read and review an earlier published book written by Brandy Purdy, The Tudor Throne.  When I was asked to participate in the Virtual Book Tour for The Queen's Pleasure, I didn't hesitate to accept, and I wasn't disappointed!

Ms. Purdy writes with a painstaking attention to detail. I was able to easily envision the scenes, even to feel like I was there.  The only drawback to this is that on occasion there was so much detail that it tended to make the story drag a bit.

For me, the first few chapters were slow reading.  I believe I felt the same about The Tudor Throne.  The prologue was great, it heightened my interest in the story and I couldn't wait to plunge into the 16th century.  Then there were several chapters with Amy Robsart Dudley narrating that didn't keep up with the pace set by the prologue. The character spent a lot of time contemplating nature, death, and many other things instead of getting on with the story.  I know it was meant to help us get to know her, an obscure but real person from history, but I felt I got to know her best through the telling of the events of her life and how she reacted to them.

Another issue slowing down the story's pace is Ms. Purdy's writing style.  She writes extremely long sentences that can be quite hard to follow.  The story might be better served by breaking those up into smaller, more concise lines.

However, if you find it slow going at first as I did, keep reading.  The action picks up and the story takes off.  I couldn't put the book down, I had to find out what Robert Dudley was going to do next.  If you're like me, and hadn't heard of Amy Robsart Dudley, don't do any googling to find out about her, let The Queen's Pleasure tell you.  Ms. Purdy gives us an ending for this gravely wronged woman that is both achingly beautiful and tearfully tragic.

The Queen's Pleasure is another jewel in Brandy Purdy's crown.  She takes on the unenviable task of breathing life into history's noted and notorious. 

I give this book 4 Bookworms.

 For all of my UK friends, The Queen's Pleasure is also being published for you, but is titled A Court Affair by Emily Purdy.

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