Between Two Queens
When you are lady in waiting to three of Henry VIII’s queens, there is a very fine line you must walk in drawing his attention and keeping your head. In Kate Emerson’s Tudor novel Between Two Queens, young Anne Bassett arrives at court filled with ambition and hopeful of making the ultimate match, even if she must put aside her heart’s desire to do so.
Set against the turbulent years between Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard, this fictional account of Anne Bassett’s experiences gives us an interesting glimpse of the duplicity and intrigues of the Tudor court. Anne, determined to make a solid marriage, finds her emotions torn when she catches the eye of Henry VIII; should she risk her reputation for a chance at capturing a king, or should she follow her heart to remain with the young man she loves?
Between Two Queens is filled with intrigue, mystery, and romance, and feels similar in tone to a Philippa Gregory novel. The author inserts Anne into the action well; at times, however, the character comes across as flighty and unfocused. Though Anne Bassett was a real woman with a fairly well-documented record, Emerson does give her life a somewhat sensationalist spin, including a clandestine affair and the ability to break her former lover out of the Tower. But overall this is a quick, fun read that was perfect for a rainy weekend, and it provides Tudor fans with yet another viewpoint of the fascinating lives of those closest to Henry VIII.