Review: By His Majesty’s Grace
By His Majesty’s Grace by Jennifer Blake is a historical romance set in early Tudor England. It is the first in a new trilogy, the second of which is currently in my TBR list and will have a review up shortly.
Lady Isabel Milton is the eldest of the Three Graces of Graydon, a trio of lovely sisters plagued by a curse that dooms any man who seeks to bind them to him in a loveless marriage. A ward of the king following her stepfather’s death and Henry Tudor’s ascent to the throne of England as Henry VII, Isabel’s hand has been given as a favour to Sir Rand of Braesford for services rendered to the crown during Henry’s years of exile and the end of the Wars of the Roses.
Isabel is less than delighted by the prospect of matrimony, and fearful that the king’s flouting of the Graydon Curse will mean her sisters face a similar loveless future. But she holds some hope that the supposed curse, invented by Isabel herself long ago, will once again works its magic and this betrothed husband will follow his predecessors into the grave before vows are exchanged.
And, indeed, it seems likely to do just that, when unexpected visitors on the eve of the ceremony bring shocking tidings – Braesford has been accused of murdering the king’s newborn illegitimate daughter, last seen with her mother leaving Braesford’s lands, and he and Isabel are summoned to London forthwith. Whether the king really believes Rand to have killed the child, or whether he seeks to use his former squire as bait, only Henry seems to know. And in the meanwhile, Sir Rand has every intention of availing himself of his lovely new bride’s charms, whether she thinks him a murderer or not…
I am, I will confess, a bit of a history geek at heart, and the Plantagenets and Tudors (technically the same family, I know, but let’s not get too technical here) are some of my favourite historical figures. It seems like the Wars of the Roses is currently out of fashion for historical romance, and it was lovely to come across something besides generic pseudo-medieval and the later Georgian/Regency/Victorian periods. I adored the inclusion of Elizabeth of York, Henry’s queen, and the references to both their chronicled was-it-romance relationship and young (but sadly doomed) Prince Arthur, though the latter is not yet born during this particular time-frame.
The murder-mystery was interesting, though there was no real plot twists or surprises apart from Rand ending up in the tower, which was spoiled in the official blurb, and the identity of the villain(s) was ultimately predictable. But the setting was gorgeous, the characters endearing, the sex scenes very hot, and I greatly look forward to Catherine and Marguerite’s stories. Definitely recommended.