My Rating: 4.5/5
Author: Laura Andersen
Title: The Boleyn Deceit
Genre: Historical Fiction
Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, and Showtime’s The Tudors, The Boleyn Deceit is the captivating new novel set in the imagined Tudor court of King Henry IX, son of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who must navigate a terrain rife with palace intrigue, impending war, and unbridled passions.
The regency period is over and William Tudor, now King Henry IX, sits alone on the throne. But England must still contend with those who doubt his legitimacy, both in faraway lands and within his own family. To diffuse tensions and appease the Catholics, William is betrothed to a young princess from France, but still he has eyes for only his childhood friend Minuette, and court tongues are wagging.
Even more scandalous—and dangerous, if discovered—is that Minuette’s heart and soul belong to Dominic, William’s best friend and trusted advisor. Minuette must walk a delicate balance between her two suitors, unable to confide in anyone, not even her friend Elizabeth, William’s sister, who must contend with her own cleaved heart. In this irresistible tale, the secrets that everyone keeps are enough to change the course of an empire.
[I have read the advanced uncorrected proof.] The Boleyn Deceit is the second book in a trilogy. This book continues off where the first one ends. If you haven’t read the first one than prepare yourself for spoilers. I have seen a few other reviews where the person had not read the first one but did not feel lost. I think you could possibly read it without much trouble because there are some recaps of what happened. However, I think it would be in the reader’s best interest to start with the first book for more subtle clues. It would be more enjoyable.
Now for the review. Throughout the book Minuette and Dominic must keep their feelings for each other hidden. William also must try to not show his intentions towards Minuette, but there is talk in court (as always). With the French treaty (and betrothal to the Princess Elisabeth) newly intact, suspicions are not the best way for England to remain in peace. England now has a few problems besides the above political romances. Bad harvests and monetary troubles in the treasury from the prior war add to the stress of the kingdom. There is also the threats between Catholics and Protestants. Finally, there are personal threats towards the characters, and some may be in over their heads.
The four main characters (William, Elizabeth, Minuette, and Dominic) continue in this book as the narrators. William is feeling more comfortable with his authority, however, those who are aware of his feelings for Minuette all advise against him. With the Catholic alliance, it keeps the religious balance intact. The reader can see some of his father shining through. Minette, on the other hand, continues to investigate Alyce’s death from the prior book while keeping herself in balance between Dominic and William. There is something not right with her death, and she tries to solve who fathered her unborn child. With her investigations and royal interests, she is a prime target to some people. Elizabeth is still strong in mind and spirit. She has an interesting conversation with an astrologer who foretells her future as Queen. She also has the task of keeping William (and others) heads in check. She also has her own lover’s problems. Dominic is under strain not only from his romantic interests in Minuette but also the political side as the king’s shadow. William seems to push him to the limit in this book. He has problems with how loyal can be and to whom – William/England or Minuette/his heart.
I like the plot better in this book than the first. I think it moved along more smoothly. There are a few twists along the way and then ending was slightly surprising on a few accounts – which I won’t mention here. I would have liked the ending to have had a few more pages to it. It felt just a tiny bit rushed but not too bad since there will be a final book. There is a cliffhanger just like the first, so you have fair warning.
Overall I enjoyed this book. If you like historical fictions/tudors/what if novels, then you might enjoy this book. I would suggest reading the first book if you have not done so already.