What does it mean when you have the fiery red Tudor hair, the King of England pays special attention to you, and there is gossip surrounding you at court? Could you be the illegitimate child of the King of England? In "Royal Inheritance" by Kate Emerson, readers meet Audrey Malte, the illegitimate daughter of King Henry VIII and go along with her on her journey to discovering she is a king's daughter.
"Royal Inheritance" is told from two different perspective. One perspective is from an older and dying Audrey who wants her young daughter Hester to know about her past. The other perspective is from young Audrey making her way through the Tudor court as King Henry pays special attention to her and rumors fly that she is the King of England's illegitimate daughter. The novel begins with Audrey being raised by her laundress mother and her abusive new husband. King Henry VIII stumbles upon young Audrey and saves her from her wretched life. He places her in the care of his tailor, John Malte. Audrey grows up thinking John is her father, but begins to notice that King Henry pays attention to her by giving her a dog and constantly asking to see her at court. As courtiers spread their gossip and rumors swirl, Audrey finally learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII. As courtiers began to talk and scheme about Audrey's new inheritance, Audrey must depend on her adopted family and a courtier named John Harrington that she has fallen in love with to navigate the Tudor court as the illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII.
Emerson has written some wonderful and unique novels on the Tudor court, but "Royal Inheritance" sadly falls flat. The novel suffers from poor pacing. It takes forever for Audrey to find out that she is the daughter of Henry VIII, but then her later days during the reigns of her half siblings (Edward VI and Mary I) as well as her marriage to John Harrington are quickly glossed over. The novel does not feel complete and full.
The novel also suffers from flat characters. Audrey should be a fascinating and complex young woman as the daughter of Henry VIII, but she feels like a flat and bland character. John, her great crush and eventual husband has nothing about him that makes him a root worthy or a fascinating main male character. Even Henry VIII who was so deliciously and wonderfully written about in Emerson's previous novels suffers as a character and feels like he is just shoved in the background when he should have a larger role.
Emerson has so many other brilliant and interesting novels on various women of the Tudor court, but "Royal Inheritance" just does not have the flow or appeal that the other novels have. It is a readable novel, but readers may feel disappointed or wanting more.
To purchase "Royal Inheritance": http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=royal%20inheritance&sprefix=royal+inheri%2Cstripbooks&rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Ck%3Aroyal%20inheritance&ajr=2
For more information on Kate Emerson: http://www.kateemersonhistoricals.com/