The Pleasure Palace: Secrets of the Tudor Court #1 by Kate Emerson

Beautiful. Seductive. Innocent. Jane Popyncourt was brought to the court as a child to be ward of the king and a companion to his daughters – the princesses Margaret and Mary. With no money of her own, Jane could not hope for a powerful marriage, or perhaps even marriage at all. But as she grows into a lovely young woman, she still receives flattering attention from the virile young men flocking to serve the handsome new king, Henry VIII, who has recently married Catherine of Aragon. Then a dashing French prisoner of war, cousin to the king of France, is brought to London, and Jane finds she cannot help giving some of her heart – and more – to a man she can never marry. But the Tudor court is filled with dangers as well as seductions, and there are mysteries surrounding Jane’s birth that have made her deadly enemies. Can she cultivate her beauty and her amorous wiles to guide her along a perilous path and bring her at last to happiness?


This is the first book I have read from this author and certainly it will not be the last.

With some Historical Fiction, there is fact, but  there is also ‘poetic licence’ the author brings, it is defiantly a craft that this author weaves, a good imagination and some well informed research, always brings the character alive and stops them being flat.

I am not an historian, so cannot attest to what I have read in this book correct, but what I do know, is that this lady actually exsisted, however, little is known about the real Jane Popyncourt, but I think  Emerson has brought her to life with aplomb.

Without spoiling too much, I can say that it starts with Jane in France,living with her mother, until the French king dies and she is whisked off to England to be a companion to king Henry Vll children.

The time span of this book is quite far reaching and survives through the reign of two kings, it is a tale of tragedy and loss, love and disappointment and Emerson, had me reading to the very end, I will most definatly carry on with this series and see whom she brings to life next.

What I found out about the real Jane Popyncourt

From what I can gather, there are several spellings of her name, the one above and Poppincourt, both of which are the same lady.

Her adult life was spent in the company of royalty, being that of all rank, so her standard of living was a comfortable one.

She was appointed as a maid of honour to Katherine of Aragon, and later rumoured to have been one of Henry Vlll’s many mistresses.

In 1513 after the Battle of the Spurs, Louis I d’Orléans, duc de Longueville was captured and taken a prisoner, even though he was technically under lock and key, he was allowed to roam free and act as an ambassador to the court.

This is where he met Jane and the two started a dangerous liason, due to the station in which Jane occupied, it was heavily frowned upon, seeings as he was technically still the  enemy and potentially ruining her chances of an advantageous marriage.

Because Jane had been brought up with Henry Vll’s children she was close to Mary Tudor,who was about to become the Queen of France in 1514, their closeness meant that Mary wanted to take Jane with her to France as one of her ladies in waiting, but upon the news reaching Louis XII was appalled and was said that he wanted to ‘incinerate her’ and refused to let ‘such an immoral woman’ attend his new wife.

From the accounts in the book, Mary and Jane had engendeared a sisterly relationship and must have been painful for the two of them to be split apart.

1516 was the year that Jane returned to France and this is where the trail grows cold, I like to think that she went on to be happy, perhaps meeting a nice man she could settle down with, but I have to let my imagination ponder on this question.

I have made a point not to talk much about her mother, this was intentional as  it affects a major plotline in the book,not for the want of telling you, I will not……spoilers!

I enjoyed this romp into the Tudor Court, this look into the life of an ordinary lady making her way through the sometimes perilous times of this era.

I say good on you Kate Emerson, for writing about the ‘bit players’ of this era, that actually paved a way into the lifes and times of the non royal.

These books is available in all forms and if you want an easy enjoyable read, then, why not start here.

Thank you for dropping by and have a booktastic day!