The Secret Bride: In the Court of Henry VIII
by Diane Haeger

New American Library, a division of Penguin Group Inc, 2008. ISBN 978-0-451-22313-5.
Reviewed by Jennifer Melville
Posted on 07/08/2008

Fiction: Historical; Fiction: Romance

"I will go to France and marry the old King Louis," stated Princess Mary in Diane Haeger's latest historical novel. "But if I am widowed, I ask only one small thing: allow me to make my future my own. After I have been useful to you, permit me to choose my own path." Mary is the beloved youngest sister of Henry VIII; she has been promised to the ailing, ancient king of France in order to forge a political alliance. Mary is heartbroken, for although she has known since childhood she was destined for such a fate, she has found the love of her life in an entirely different place. Will she risk the fragile ties between England and France, and her brother's wrath, for true love?

The Secret Bride is based on the true romance of Princess Mary and Charles Brandon. Several side plot lines within the novel add color and intrigue to Mary's story. While it is a work of fiction, the basic facts are historically accurate. I enjoyed the way Haeger delicately wove fact with fiction to bring alive a historic romance. Her characters are very believable and true to the known facts of the people on whom they are based. Each one's personalities, ambitions, and aspirations are well developed.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and would not hesitate to read another of Haeger's books.

Diane Haeger is the author of ten historical novels, including Courtesan, The Ruby Ring and My Dearest Cecelia. She began writing fifteen years ago while in the middle of a doctoral program in clinical psychology. She lives in California with her husband and family.

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