[This review is based on an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) digital edition published by published by Ballantine Books in 2013, and provided by NetGalley.]
Before you read this review, you may want to check out my thoughts on The Boleyn King. You can find that here.
Here’s the deal:
The Boleyn Deceit is the the first of two sequels to Laura Andersen’s The Boleyn King (The Boleyn Reckoning, still unpublished, to be the third and final book). It continues the murder mystery that was launched in its predecessor, and we follow The Holy Quartet of the fictional King WIlliam, his sister Elizabeth, and their friends Dominic and Minuette as they work to unravel that mystery. We visit the battlefield several times as William works to maintain England’s superiority, and the mystery and potential deception surrounding his sister Mary’s Catholic ties continues as well. A tangled love triangle also plays a major role in the plot of this book, and Minuette finds herself faced with the impossible choice of pursuing Dominic, the man she loves, or agreeing to marry William and stepping into the role of Queen of England. Elizabeth has her own love story to deal with, which proves to be much more complicated than she could have ever imagined.
The writing and attention to detail are just as strong in The Boleyn Deceit as it was in the previous book. The treachery disguised by love and/or loyalty is as prominent in the English court as it likely is in the halls of Washington’s political establishments. George Boleyn and a certain love interest have especially dirty hands, and reading about their fictional exploits is shocking, to say the least. The members of the Holy Quartet are definitely not immune; they deceive themselves and each other as they navigate their paths through court life as well. Perhaps most importantly, they discover who is behind the murder of Alyce de Clare (which is the main plot these books revolve around).
Speaking of The Holy Quartet, each of them have quite a bit to do in this book. William obsesses over marrying Minuette and then makes the huge mistake of falling into bed with his former mistress (and Minuette’s rival) Eleanor Percy; Eleanor was married to Giles Howard, son of a powerful member of William’s council, and who Minuette murdered in the previous book after he attempted to rape her. (See? I wasn’t kidding when I said these relationships were complicated!) Elizabeth fawns over Robert Dudley, a son of another member of the council, who is unhappily married but who is also hoping to use Elizabeth to gain power and position at court…and who is hiding a HUGE secret. Dominic and Minuette, meanwhile, are completely in love with each other but are forced to dance around their feelings because of their ties to William. Theirs is the only relationship I find myself cheering for, and something major happens to them before the end of the book. I won’t give it away and, instead, leave it to you to discover for yourself. Just know that its implications are going to be especially important to the plot of The Boleyn Reckoning! How it will affect the friendships forged between The Holy Quartet remains to be seen…
So would I recommend this book?
I loved this book as much as its predecessor! I read the pair of books back-to-back in about three days — I couldn’t put them down! As long as you read the books in order, this is a must-read!! Now the long and painful wait begins for the release of The Boleyn Reckoning…why can’t it come out tomorrow??