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Review: The Tudor Secret, by CW Gortner


Pages: 327

Original date of publication:

My edition: 2011 (St. Martin’s)

Why I decided to read: Heard about this through Amazon.com

How I acquired my copy: Amazon Vine, December 2010

Originally published as The Secret Lion, The Tudor Secret is the first in what will be a series featuring Brendan Prescott, an orphan foundling who was raised in the household of the Dudley family. In 1553, King Edward is on his deathbed, and William Cecil gives a secret mission Brendan. Soon he finds himself working as a double agent, as he attempts to discover the secret of his own birth.

There ‘s a lot to like in this novel, mainly in the historical details that the author weaves into the story. He knows Tudor history like the back of his hand, and it definitely shows in this book. Because it was his first novel, however, there are some rough patches. There were a couple of plot holes that I had trouble navigating around—primarily, why would a secretive man such as Cecil entrust a seemingly nobody with this kind of secret mission? Brendan himself is a changeable character; at one point he’s amazingly perceptive, at others, he has to have basic current events (that anyone of the time period would have been aware of) explained to him. However, because this is the first book in a series, I expect that we’ll see a lot of character growth from Brendan. The other thing I didn’t quite believe was his relationship with Kate—at one moment, she’s a lady-in-waiting who happens to end up as Brendan’s sidekick; the next minute, Brendan is passionately in love with her. And Brendan’s access to the members of the royal family was too loose to be believable.

Still, as I’ve said, there’s a lot to like in this novel. I enjoyed how he managed to interweave historical facts with fiction, and I especially loved his descriptions of sixteenth-century London. I enjoyed the fictional Brendan’s interactions with the Dudley clan, too. The real “mystery” here is about Brendan’s birth, and its revelation didn’t disappoint me!

Comments

Daphne said…
I really enjoyed this one as well but agree with you about his relationship with Kate. The point about Cecil is a good one as well. I'm looking forward to seeing where the series goes.
I love novels like this, especially if an author makes it feel like you are thrown into this time period. So much drama! And I agree about relationships being rushed - I feel that way with movies especially.

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January
1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
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8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

February
1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

March
1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
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