The Irish princess – a book review

Title : The Irish princess

Author: Karen Harper

New American Library, 2011

Thanh’s pick

A book from the National Bestselling Author, for all the fans of the Tudors television series, as it is set during the time of Henry VIII. 

It’s the story of Elizabeth Geraldine, a high born lady from the first family of Irelandin 16th century.  Her whole family, including father, brother and uncles, was condemned then executed by King Henry.  She moved to live inEngland with her mother and sister, with one purpose in her mind:  revenge for the death of her loved ones, and restoration of her family name to its rightful place.

Her life went through many straights and bends, ended up being lady in waiting for King Henry’s last queen, Catherine Parr.  She married Sir Anthony Browne, a close courtier of the King, for protection, while harbouring a secret love to Lord Edward Clinton.  She befriended with the two Tudor princesses Mary and Elizabeth.

By the end of the book,Geragot what she wanted:  her surviving brother was reinstated to his rightful place inIreland; and after the death of her husband, she was at last married to her true loveClinton, and she had the long lasting friendship of Queen Elizabeth I.

Somehow the story telling is a bit bland, the writing style uninspiring – the only reason you turn the pages is because it has many intrigues: glimpses of the royal court, of the Henry VIII    himself, his queen and his two princesses, all the plots, the betrayal involved … It feels just like you are reading the pages of a history book.

The psychology the main character is not well executed either.  Gera, our heroine, advertised as beautiful, bold, rebellious and daring, appeared through the book rather tame, with lots of teeth gnashing and grumbling “I hate him” “I want to gouge his eyes”, and some silly deeds: she once tried to pour water on a royal letter sent north in order to save some rebellious towns.  Another time, she crept through secret passages to the King’s dying bed to kill him, but ended up pretending to be his queen’s ghost and cursed him to hell.

It’s rather a shame, as we have here several elements for a good story: a heroine, a plot and a love interest.  Somehow the author failed to breath live and credibility to her main character.