Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Irish Princess by Karen Harper

From goodreads:
Born into a first family of Ireland, with royal ties on both sides, Elizabeth Fitzgerald -- known as Gera -- finds her loving, carefree world overturned when tyrant Henry VIII imprisons her father, the Earl of Kildare, and brutally destroys her family.

Torn from the home she loves, and with her remaining family scattered, Gera dares not deny the refuge offered her in England's glittering royal court. There she must navigate ever-shifting alliances even as she nurtures her secret desire for revenge. Beautiful, bold, and rebellious, Gera eludes dangerous suitors, encourages others, and holds close to her heart a private attachment to Edward Clinton, a handsome, ambitious courtier who understands her strong-willed spirit. And even as Gera works to undermine King Henry and win support for her family, she seeks to protect his young daughter Princess Elizabeth, a kindred spirit fighting to survive, whose future is linked to Gera's own.

From County Kildare's lush green fields to London's rough-and-tumble streets and the royal court's luxurious pageantry, The Irish Princess follows the journey of a daring woman whose will cannot be tamed, and who won't be satisfied until she restores her family to its rightful place in Ireland.

This book was fascinating. I love historical fiction, and this is a historical Tudor era novel. I liked that this book re-tells the stories of characters I'd never heard of-characters who were at court with King Henry VIII. Gera is the daughter of the 8th Earl of Kildare, who has been taken by King Henry VIII and charged with treason. Eventually her half brother and uncles are also all imprisoned and killed in the tower of London, and Gera is really the only member of her family left that can change conditions for her family and country.

Gera's initial goal is to get close enough to the king to kill him, and in the process, makes some powerful allies, like Edward Clinton and Princess Elizabeth. It was interesting to get a close, personal look at the king, who truly ruled with an iron thumb. I love reading about the politics at court, and seeing the details of the time period. I loved the message of the book that you can accomplish anything you set your heart on with enough perseverance.

This book is powerfully written and well-researched. The only reason I didn't rate it higher was that it dragged a little in some scenes.

Rating: 3.5
Published: 2.2011

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