The first in the historical fiction series, Secrets of the Tudor Court, Pleasure Palace takes place through the eyes of Jeanne/Jane Popyncourt from age 8 through 26 in the last 11 years of Henry VII and the first 7 years of Henry VIII.
Jane has a particularly up close and personal view of the court as she immediately is assigned to the Royal Nursery to speak French with the young Tudors, primarily the Princesses Margaret and Mary forming a part of Mary’s court when Margaret marries James IV of Scotland.
I very much enjoyed reading this story as Emerson does a very nice job of incorporating English history and conveying the lifestyle of the Tudors and their court. I don’t really see the point of the story except to show off Emerson’s historical knowledge. Yes, there’s a mystery as to why Jane and her mother were treated as they were but it’s more of a mention than any real concern.
Emerson also writes of the tension of living at the whim of princes and the machinations of greedy courtiers but fails to make the reader feel any danger to anyone let alone Jane. The story itself is a flat line from day to day. The only reaction one has when Jane decides to take the duc de Longueville as a lover is “what, is she stupid?”