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This is the fifth book in the Secrets of the Tudor Court series, but it can easily be read stand-alone. The main character is Tamsin Lodge, who is orphaned at 13 years old. Her guardianship is purchased by a slimy individual named Sir Lionel Daggett. Sir Lionel wants to worm his way into the Royal Court, and he tries to use young Tamsin to do so. Against her will, she is sent to be a maid of honor for Princess Mary, though Tamsin quickly becomes loyal to King Henry's daughter. Tamsin goes to great lengths to protect the princess from the very jealous Anne Boleyn, even joining Anne's household to spy for Mary.
While many characters in this book are historical figures, Tamsin is a fictional character based on the "king's damsel" mentioned in an actual letter from the Spanish Ambassador, Eustace Chapuys. I liked Tamsin and her fierce loyalty to Mary. I felt like a lot of this book was Tamsin observing things happening to the other characters, which was what she was supposed to do as a spy. It really wasn't until the last quarter of the book that Tamsin was in the center of the action.
I wish that Rafe Pinckney's character and his relationship with Tamsin had been developed more. Rafe needed a bigger presence in the book.
For me, the most memorable character in this book is Princess Mary. This is the first book I've read with Mary as a child, and it was interesting to see how her life was as Henry VIII's daughter and hear her thoughts, especially after Anne Boleyn takes a hold of the king's attention.
Overall, I thought THE KING'S DAMSEL was an enjoyable read that just wrapped up too quickly. Tudor history buffs should read this book for its portrayal of young Princess Mary.
This the first book by Kate Emerson I've read. Have you read others in the series? What did you think?