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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
One can only wonder how the royals of today would survive in Tudor England. Perhaps they wouldn’t have the paparazzi hounding them, but they wouldn’t be able to choose their marriage partners. For Princess Mary, the younger sister of King Henry VIII, marriage for love was out of the question. The young princess was a mere pawn on the chessboard of politics and she had to marry whomever her brother chose. And he chose the King of France, Louis XII, an old man in his fifties, over thirty years Mary’s senior. To call the young princess a reluctant queen is putting things lightly, as Mary abhorred the old French king and she was furious with her brother for arranging such a match. But Henry VIII did promise her that once Louis died (and, he assured her, at his age he would soon enough), she could choose her own marriage partner. She did, in spite of her brother’s attempt to go back on his word.
Geraldine Evans’s historical romance novel, Reluctant Queen: About the Little Sister of Henry VIII, takes the reader on a journey to Tudor England as well as into the early sixteenth-century royal court of France. With luscious descriptions and elaborate character development, the reader instantly feels a part of this compelling tale. The author has a sound knowledge of history and is able to capture the essence of this complicated era in English and French history. Like Sharon Kay Penman, Philippa Gregory and so many other powerful historical romance writers, Geraldine Evans’s novel fits into the realm of stunningly realistic historical drama. A captivating read and another glimpse into the difficult life of a royal personage in the sixteenth century.