Hilary Mantel meets Sylvia Day: the first installment in a deliciously erotic trilogy, set against the sumptuous backdrop of the scandal-ridden Tudor Court.
Bound to him against her will...
Lord Wolf, hardened soldier and expert lover, has come to King Henry VIII's court to claim his new bride: a girl who has intrigued him since he first saw her riding across the Yorkshire moors.
Eloise Tyrell, now lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Boleyn, has other ideas. She has no desire to submit to a man she barely knows and who—though she is loath to admit it—frightens her more than a little.
Their first kiss awakens in both a fierce desire that bares them to the soul. But as the court erupts into scandal around the ill-fated Queen, Eloise sees firsthand what happens when powerful men tire of their wives…
Lust in the Tudor Court:
Moss's workmanlike first Lust in the Tudor Court historical pours strong emotion into various stock romance situations. When Eloise witnesses the flirtations of Queen Anne, Eloise is horrified to realize she herself now harbors a dangerous secret. Her father arranges a marriage for her, shattering her romantic dreams of eloping with a young courtier. Worse, her husband is to be the formidable Lord Wolf. Though the story is predictable and the characters are unsurprising, Moss makes up for it with steamy romance, wild passion, and bitter jealousy. Intertwined with the tragic fate of Anne Boleyn, there is enough melodrama to make for a pleasant distraction, if not an absorbing narrative. Eloise and Wolf's childish spats and willful miscommunications raise the tension but not the stakes, so the merry resolution seems tacked on, but the spicy interludes throughout will please fans of erotic romance.
provide all of the intrigue, deceptions and duplicity
Henry VIII, six wives he had wedded
Two died, twice divorced, and two he beheaded.
That little rhyme was a child’s rhyme popularized after Henry’s reign, and used even today in early history classes as part of a ‘list the kings of England” exercise. And any true fan of history can’t help but be intrigued and interested in the Tudor court, especially during Henry VIII’s reign.
The most infamous of the brides, Anne Boleyn, was one of the two beheaded, and her time at court was rife with intrigue, drama, passion, treason and above all, danger. In this book by Elizabeth Moss, we are following the story of the time with one of Anne’s ladies, Eloise Tyrell.
This story manages to provide all of the intrigue, deceptions and duplicity of the court at the time: Henry was known for his situational loyalty and short temper. In reality, the King was daily in great pain from a festering wound, and a bit of a spoilt child with the position of King meaning no one dared say no to him. While intrigue and deception were everywhere, we see the perspective of the determined and dubiously devoted Anne as she sought to become queen.
With reformation activities holding the country and religion in a tinderbox of heretic burning, destruction of abbeys and resentment from clergy and populace alike, the court’s machinations and jostling for position were never ending. Eloise is not above the fray: as one of Anne’s ladies, she is exposed to the courtiers seeking favorable reports and position, to encourage the King’s favor, as well as her own beauty catching the roving eye of the King. As a confidante of Anne, Eloise’s life is highly uncertain, as Anne was singleminded in her determination to win her own desires, and jealously guarded her own position as his current obsession.
Not an innocent by any means, Eloise leaves court to marry Lord Wolf, a favored member of Henry’s army and a landowner. In her time at court, Eloise has observed and learned much: that while her body and goods may be the property of her husband, she can withhold her heart, and keep her husband’s interest, give him something to work for. But, then Henry has tired of Anne, and Eloise becomes a pawn in the game that will remove her from the throne, and lead to her beheading.
I enjoyed Eloise, with her clarity and ability to see much of the jostling for position around her, and not falling for the copious compliments and favors done for her in order to build their reputation and esteem. The relationship with Wolf was intriguing: his position and honor required he hold his wife in some esteem, but he was always seeking more from her, wanting to feel as if he was as well-regarded. An interesting dynamic that played well in a sensual and erotic way, and would serve Eloise well when the dangers of returning to court to testify against her former mistress started to become apparent. Wolf’s protectiveness and advice combined nicely with her own understanding of the court and the intrigues behind the scenes. And when a threat comes, as they are unsure just what Eloise may know and say come, the tension rises to a boiling point: the pages could not turn fast enough.
The Tudor court was a dangerous place for women or men, and the proper 16th century ladies were meant to obey tradition, at least in public. With a nice mix of expectation, intrigue, belief and insight from a surprising source, Elizabeth Moss has created a story that will be sure to please many, and is the perfect getaway for a few hours. While the sexual tension between Eloise and Wolf informs much of their early interactions, the building of that relationship informs both characters, giving them a connected and solid relationship that serves the story nicely as things get rough.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Was a great read and very captivating the whole time! Couldn’t put it down! Ready to read the next one!!