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In a Treacherous Court

Sunday, April 3, 2022

In a Treacherous Court (2011) Michelle Diener (Susanna Horenbout and John Parker)

In a Treacherous CourtSet in England in 1525

Although this is fiction, it is based upon real historical characters. Few details are known about them, so aside from the bare details, this is fictional, although the time period is well-researched.

Susanna Horenbout is sent by her father from Belgium to England to be Henry VIII’s illuminator. But a merchant dies on the journey over, and apparently those who killed them now want Susanna dead as well.

He’d heard of these women in the Netherlands and Italy, whose fathers took them into their studios and trained them in the arts of painting and sculpture along with their brothers, but he’d never met one.

John Parker is the King’s Keeper of the Palace of Westminster and his Yeoman of the Crossbows. Raised up to the court by Henry, John is loyal, and takes it personally when someone attacks the king–or the king’s people.

She watched him for a long moment. “What were you before you became the King’s man, Master Parker?”

He felt himself sink into the green-brown of her eyes, calm and serene as a wood in spring. She could see straight to his soul. He did not know whether he should rejoice at that, or despair.

He led them through the door out into the freezing rain. “I was nothing.”

For some reason I’d totally forgotten the king in this story was Henry the VIII. That’s neither here nor there, but court seems different from what I felt like Henry’s would have been. But that’s likely because I’ve been reading too many books set in the early 1800s.

He needs a son, a legitimate son, and the Queen … well, her age, her fasting, and her kneeling in prayer in cold chapels for hours have made her courses erratic. There will be no more heirs from her, even if His Majesty slept regularly in her bed, which he does not.”

Susanna is marvelous, and I remain amazed that she was a real person, and at this time in history she could do the work she did.

“If I hadn’t seen yer there with me own eyes, painting it, I’d never believe ’twas a woman done it.” The landlord meant it as praise, but suddenly exhausted, drained of all energy, Susanna was not able to summon even a weak smile at the insult.

Not that things were easy.

Publisher: Gallery Books

Rating: 8/10




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