Author: Diane Haeger
Published: NAL Trade, 2008
Where I Got It: Online
First Line: "A collection of columbines, sweet peas and lilies of the valley clutched tightly in her hand, Mary dodged through the rows of apple trees in the orchard, chasing butterflies out behind the palace." So sweet it's almost sickening.
I'd been eyeing this book for quite sometime and was super excited to find it online for 99 cents, and with a dollar off coupon...-1 cent. Yes!
I've been searching for a book on Princess Mary, Henry VIII's sister, not daughter, for a very long time. Some people call her the only woman that Henry every truly loved or had mercy on. If their relationship was anything like in this book, I would definitely agree! Anyways, The Secret Bride basically covers Mary Tudor's entire life, but the main focus is on the romance with her brother's best friend, Charles Brandon.
Mary and Charles have a passion for each other that must remain secret, due to the power of her brother, the king, and the fact that Mary is a princess and Charles is only a Duke (alas, only a Duke!). Mary is later wed to the old, ailing king of France, whom she comes to respect, yet Charles is always lurking in the background. When the old king Louis dies, Mary and Charles follow their feelings and heart, even against the wishes of her brother.
All in all, I'd say this was a pretty good book. I liked it even though it was more of a historical romance book, something I'm not too fond of. It was excusable only because it dealt with the Tudors! After seeing The Tudors, Charles' relationships have always interested me....I spent the whole book wondering if he really did love Mary.
One thing I am personally tired of reading about is beautiful people. Mary's beauty is repeatedly gushed over several times a chapter. Sure, sure, she truly may have been beautiful, but c'mon, we get it. She had an exquisite body, luscious strawberry blonde hair, and adorable nose, etc. Not to mention, Mary is also witty, intelligent, and headstrong. Haven't I read enough books with women like that? I am now on the prowl for a book about a less than perfect main character. What about you guys, do you find that a lot of heroines are just too perfect?
If you are a not too picky historical fiction lover, or any kind of Tudor lover, I'd say this book is for you. It was a light, fluffy read, good for reading outside in the sun, as I did! I give it 3.5 stars.