Tuesday 2 August 2011

Review: In a Treacherous Court - Michelle Diener

1525: Artist Susanna Horenbout is sent from Belgium to be Henry VIII’s personal illuminator inside the royal palace. But her new homeland greets her with an attempt on her life, and the King’s most lethal courtier, John Parker, is charged with keeping her safe. As further attacks are made, Susanna and Parker realize that she unknowingly carries the key to a bloody plot against the throne. For while Richard de la Pole amasses troops in France for a Yorkist invasion, a traitor prepares to trample the kingdom from within.Who is the mastermind? Why are men vying to kill the woman Parker protects with his life? With a motley gang of urchins, Susanna’s wits, and Parker’s fierce instincts, honed on the streets and in palace chambers, the two slash through deadly layers of deceit in a race against time. For in the court of Henry VIII, secrets are the last to die.

My thoughts:
It is always interesting to read about real people in history that are relatively unknown. Susanna and John did live and meet. But all the intrigues made up around this story are the works of imagination, perhaps and who knows.

This book is a nice mix of romance and intrigue. Susanna is sent to the court as a painter until her brother gets there, but she is a good artist on her own (though sadly nothing seems to be left of her work, we have only 2nd story sources). There she gets involved by accident in a dangerous plot to usurp the kingdom. Poor Susanna, she loved to paint and I liked how she saw the beauty in everything and just wanted to sit down and catch it in a sketch. She also had a good head on her shoulder and that is truly needed here. She is a damsel in distress, but at the same time not because she will fight back.

But she would have been dead at once if it had not been for our hero John Parker. He saves her from murder attempts while he tries to figure out who is behind the scheme to take the throne. John is strong, smart and in the end I like him because I know he would do anything to protect the woman he is falling for, even go against a king if necessary.

The plot thickens and makes this a real adventure. Because even if you catch one guy you still gotta find the man to controls everything. And trust me, they do not have it easy, because they will fight for their lives. I did mind one thing though, I felt at one time that enough was enough. There was no point in trying to kill poor Susanna any more since she had truly said all she knew.

There are also more books coming and that makes me intrigued. First, there is a good ending so do not worry about cliffhangers or anything like that (and it is a happy one too). But I guess there will be another court intrigue to come since there sure were a lot back then. And especially with a king like this. 

I enjoyed the intrigues and the look at this court we all know so well. The romance was good and it was just a very short, easy and enjoyable book to read. A very good debut.


I'd like to see the rest of her head but otherwise good

Series: Susanna Horenbout and John Parker 1
Genre: Historical fiction/mystery/romance
Pages: 320
Published: August 2nd 2011 Gallery Books, Simon and Schuster
Source: Author


  1. I'm finding that I like this kind of historical fiction. Sounds like another winner.

  2. I'm glad you liked it! I love that Susanna and John were real people too. I'm interested to see where the author takes them in the next book.

  3. I agree, it's always interesting to read about real historical figures and wondering if that could have happened. Glad you enjoyed it.

  4. It's always fun to read about real life people used in romance novel. Monica McCarty does a good of this with her highlander romances.

    This sounds like a book I'd be interested in trying. Great review girl.

  5. I love that this is about real unknown people in history. It sounds brilliant.

  6. I seem to remember Ilona Andrews saying that the image gets more expensive if the model's whole face is shown in the book cover....

  7. this sounds like a nice historical! i love the cover!!

  8. She can't see you! lol

    I also love to read about little known historical figures, especially those in the artistic world. Oh, yes... you had me there and now I must wishlist this book! My poor shelves! *sags under the weight of B's suggestions*

  9. This is promising especially since it's a debut for more in the future.

    Adding it to my list. Love my romance AGAIN ;)

  10. This sounds good! Always interesting to read about people who aren't well known.

  11. *waves to Chris*

    I like it too, it was certainly different from what I usually read. But then after that Loupas book I found that I have a taste for it

    I did google and found out some things ;) Bad me. But of course that was just later in life so I sure wonder what will happen next. Ohh perhaps something with a mistress

    Especially with her since so little is known. Except for who she married and when she might have died

  12. @Ing
    Oh, I have not heard about her, that means I have to go and google after I have written this :D Especially if it has to do with highlanders.

    I hope you give it a try! :D

    I really liked that she was a painter in a time when that was so unheard of. I liked her dad, in that fact at least, not so much in the rest

    It was :D

    That makes sense, still I like faces :( And I would totally model for free ;)

  13. Carrie
    Me too, it is just real :)

    Hey do not blame the messenger, you love books...you know you want more, and more and more. And how about some more? ;)

    Yay for loving romance again. I could never tire of romance, I truly need it

    Her I could have head about..like if I read a book about her dad, him, nope never. So it was truly fun

  14. Mmm at first reading the blurb I thought, not my kind of book. But then reading your review, I have become intriguied. An historical suspense romance?

  15. Was she a real historical figure? If so, I would love to know more about her. Female artists of that time were rare and even rare for them to be commissioned by the court.

  16. I agree! I love historical fiction about real, average people. So fun.

  17. I enjoy reading historicals, especially when it comes to events at court. This one sounds good.

  18. ^.^ I love intrigue. I get a rush from it. hahaha. Gotta love Historical novels. :D

  19. Sounds like a great historical mystery read. :) Thanks for the review and so glad you enjoyed it! :)

  20. I have this one for review - it looks good; glad to see you liked it! I didn't realize it was going to be a series.

  21. I passed on reviewing this one just because I wasn't sure about it. I'm glad you enjoyed it - I will have to check out more reviews before I make a decision on this one. Thanks!

  22. I had no idea that Susanna and John were real people. Now I'm really wondering about what she knows that puts her life at risk so much.

  23. The characters in this one sound really intriguing. That alone makes me want to try this. Great review! :)

  24. I always enjoy reading about lesser-known historical figures as well! And yay for an ending with no cliffhanger despite their being more books in the series:)

  25. I like historical fiction but I have never read about these people. As you say, I also like to read about them. This sounds really good.

  26. Sounds like a good read and that cover is fantastic!!!

  27. @Aurian
    Put in fiction there too and I am happy :=) Cos yes it has got all of that, but it's not romance, more fiction, but then there is the mystery and suspense part too. What a nice little mix

    Yes, not much is known. Who she married and that a painter bought a painting from her when she was 18. Because he was famous and had written about that.

    I love that too :)

    The court, what a freaky place. I think that after reading so many novels I can state that I would not like to be at court

  28. @Carole
    Hihi, I like it too. There is nothing like a good intrigue to spice things up

    Maybe one day I can even get you to try more books like this ;)

    I did not know that either. But fear not, it ends well

    I had my eye on it before I was asked so I do think that made me say yes, lol

    I can't tell you, but there are big secrets hidden in this book. And it was sure fun to find out these two were real

  29. A book I might want to read - thanks!

  30. Melissa
    Good characters are a must, I really can't read books where they annoy me, or the most horrible, TSTL

    Gotta love that, cos I do hate cliffhangers so much...so much!!! But here all was good

    I might have heard about her dad but she is a lesser known person and him even more so

    I do love it too

  31. @Ana
    Just remember, a lot of fiction ;)

  32. This one looks different and I like the Tudor era, I might give it a try.

  33. Cat
    It was sure an era of backstabbing and well, beheading wives ;)

  34. This one sounds good! I like anything to do with Henry VIII's court. I'll have to check into this one further as I hadn't heard of it till just now.

  35. Darlene
    He was quite the player, and it was rather horrible too. Here I just came to think about all those women, and how many of them did really want it. And was not pressured by a man or a father

  36. Sounds fun but poor Susanna. She tells them all she knows and they still want to kill her? Give girl a break!

  37. Alyssa
    Well she tells John, so in theory they do not know if she has spilled the beans



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