Emmie and the Tudor King (Hearts and Crowns Book One)

Written by Natalie Murray
Review by J. Lynn Else

A month before senior year ends, Emmie’s history teacher assigns a paper about a Tudor King named Nicholas the First, known as Nicholas the Ironheart for his cruelty. As she walks to a friend’s house, Emmie spots a ring at a neighbor’s garage sale. Emmie plans to study jewelry design and purchases the ring, hoping it’ll help with the sample she’s submitting with her college application. That night, she falls asleep wearing the ring. In the morning, she wakes in 16th-century England and comes face to face with a young King Nicholas. He’s not the cruel person she’s read about, and it doesn’t take long for Emmie to lose her heart to a man destined to be one of history’s great monsters. But can she change that? If she can prevent the king’s sister from being murdered, there’s a chance Nicholas won’t become the tyrant she’s read about.

Throughout the book, I didn’t get a strong sense of Emmie’s personality other than her love for making jewelry. Likes and dislikes were randomly dropped but subsequently contradicted. After proclaiming early on that history is not her thing, she adapts almost perfectly to 16th-century court life and seems to know a great deal about the time and people, even dressing herself in period fashion without assistance. Language doesn’t seem to be a barrier for anyone either. It’s hard to believe expressions of yikes and ta-dah and referencing people by their first name in the 1580 Tudor court aren’t more of an issue. However, there are some fun historical details that Emmie learns. The whodunnit elements work very well, counterpointed by the budding romance between Emmie and Nicholas. While not my cup of historical fiction tea, this is a light summer read with lots of teen angst romance.