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Angie G. (Hagerstown, MD)
The Tudor Secret
If you are looking for a light, enjoyable mystery then this may be the book for you. The book moved along at an easy pace and the historical setting was engaging. If you are looking for historical accuracy then this may not be the book for you.
Terrie J. (Eagan, MN)
A Fun Twist on History
I facilitate an adult book discussion group at a library. I would not select this as a discussion book but would recommend it to those interested in this genre.
I really enjoyed this book. I love a mystery and am not a big fan of historical fiction, but trying to be. This book has set me on my path to read more historical fiction. I loved the character development and the twists that the book took. It put a fun twist on historical fact. I would recommend this book and will read more of the series.
Nikki R. (Irvine, CA)
I have to say I did enjoy this book although it will not go down as a favorite in the same way my last read, The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver will. I found it an easy, quick read bordering on a summer beach book. The historical aspects were present in a pleasing fashion encouraging you to pursue more in depth information. As this is apparently the first in the Brendan Prescott spymaster series I look forward to others.
Juli S. (Portland, OR)
Not sure I'll continue with the series
I knew from his previous book about Catherine de Medici that I enjoyed C.W. Gortner’s writing, but this one fell a bit flat for me. It started out promising with an apparently naïve young man being sent to court at a time when scheming and plotting was at its dirtiest and nastiest. Within a few short pages he’s gone from his first exposure to life at court to being sharp enough to be conscripted as a spy for a member of Elizabeth’s inner circle. I know it’s historical fiction but some of the quick turnarounds and emotional attachments in this one just seemed too quick.
Mary L. (Madison, MS)
Excellent historical mysery
Despite that, I liked Brendan Prescott as a character. He seemed to have a strong inner place from which he made his decisions and alliances. The secondary characters that he joined up with along the way were interesting and for a planned series might make a good core of recurring characters.
I know it’s planned as a series, but I’m just not sure it’s a series I’ll bother to continue reading.
I highly recommend this first in a new series set in Tudor England. The book is well written and the characters quickly become real to the reader.
Marion T. (Palatine, IL)
The Tudor Secret
I am a lover of historical fiction and I enjoyed this read. "The Tudor Secret" fulfills most of my requirements. It is a good quick read, fast moving, mix with facts, figures and intrigue. It has detailed descriptions of life in the courts and London in the period. However, it does lack character development and depth. That being said I do look forward to the next in the series.
Patricia S. (Chicago, IL)
The Tudor Secret
The Tudor Secret is C.W. Gortner’s first novel, although not his first published, which I got as an ARC from BookBrowse. It’s set in an interesting time in Tudor history, the tense period surrounding young King Edward VI’s death and his sister Mary’s successful bid for the throne. Most of the story focuses on Elizabeth, but there are scenes with Mary and Lady Jane Grey. The hero of the story, Brenden Prescott, a bastard foundling the Dudleys have raised, is brought to court as a squire for John Dudley, and quickly, almost too quickly, becomes involved in the spying and secrets of the court. I found Brenden interesting, but there wasn’t enough time for the story to be reasonable, in my opinion. In about 2 weeks or less, Brenden falls in love, becomes a trusted confidant of Princess Elizabeth and King Edward’s friend and body servant, is recruited by Cecil as a spy, becomes a secret messenger for both Cecil and Queen Mary, and discovers the secret of his noble birth. While I enjoyed the story, this was just too much to be believed. Who would trust such an unknown with such dangerous secrets? I also found some of the characterization unbelievable, especially the Dudleys. They were all such monsters, and given Elizabeth’s relations with Robert and her intelligence, I found it hard to believe he had no redeeming qualities, but this book shows otherwise. Between the broad characters and the breathless pace, it shows as a first novel. It is the first in a series, so hopefully, the others will improve. I found Gortner’s second novel, The Last Queen, much better and so am looking forward to the next one.
Elizabeth B. (Sunnyvale, CA)
The Tudor Secret
This was a fun book to read. Having read both non-fiction and historical fiction of the Tudor period, I found this perspective entertaining, an imaginative perspective of some of the events and persons of this period of history. However, I would have preferred richer descriptions of the characters and less predictable plot development.