I received an ARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
If you haven't read the previous three Tudor Legacy novels (previous titled The Boleyn Trilogy), you will want to do that before reading this book. One could probably figure things out well enough without reading the previous three novels but the previous three help put some of the current characters into better context.
I found myself a little excited for this novel. I enjoyed The Boleyn King and felt it was an excellent start to what was going to be an exciting series. By the end of The Boleyn Reckoning, I was sadly disappointed. I looked forward to a new start for Elizabeth after the events of books 1-3. Let's just say I am not really looking forward to book five.
Marketing these books as alternate history is a little misleading, in my opinion. Sure there are characters and events that have no historical record but you can say that about any work of historical fiction. That's why it's called fiction. Elizabeth never married Philip of Spain and they never had a daughter. Elizabeth did capture and imprison Mary, Queen of Scots. Mary, Queen of Scots spent most of her days in England plotting ways to get out and take Elizabeth's throne. France and Spain took issue with England's religious choices. Mary, Queen of Scots and religion are still at the center of Andersen's alternate Tudor reality but we have the addition of Anabel, daughter of Elizabeth and Philip. Based on how Andersen concluded the previous novels, I have already formed some ideas as to how I think things are going to end for many of the main characters. If I ever decide to continue with this series, it would only be to see if I'm right.
All of that is sort of going on in the background. The bigger story is Lucette. Lucette is the daughter of Minuette, the protagonist from the previous three novels. If you have read the previous novels, you know Lucette's story. Lucette finds herself in the middle of some sorted love triangle (much like her mother's) and comes to the realization it's not going to end well for somebody (again, similar thing happens to her mother). It gets old, fast.
I give Andersen credit for her ability to amp up the drama. There are scenes in the novel where you can just feel the tension oozing out of the pages. I enjoy those scenes but again, I've heard this story before. I want something different. If you are giving me an alternate history, give me an alternate history. If you are going to tell me a new story, tell me a new story. Don't just give people new names and call it new. Not even the big reveal at the end of the novel surprised me. I saw that coming from page one.