- Genre: Historical Fiction
- Paperback: 320 pages
- Publisher: Gallery Books
- Release Date: April 3, 2012
- Series: Susanna and John Parker (Book 2)
- Source: ARC from publisher
The personal artist to King Henry Tudor, Susanna Horenbout is sought by the queen and ladies of the court for her delicate, skilled portraits. But now someone from her past is pulling her into a duplicitous game where the consequence of failure is war. Soon, Susanna and her betrothed, the King’s most dangerous courtier, are unraveling a plot that would shatter Europe. And at the heart of it is a magnificent missing diamond. . . .
With John Parker at her side, Susanna searches for the diamond and those responsible for its theft, their every step dogged by a lethal assassin. Finding the truth means plunging into the heart of the court’s most bitter infighting, surviving the harrowing labyrinth of Fleet Prison—and then coming face-to-face with the most dangerous enemy of all.
After thoroughly enjoying In a Treacherous Court, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the sequel, Keeper of the King's Secrets. Picking up not longer after Treacherous Court left off, Keeper continues the adventures of the spirited artist Susanna Horenbout and her betrothed John Parker. This time, Susanna embarks on an intriguing mystery to discover who stole the Mirror of Naples. A priceless jewel in the king's treasury, the Mirror of Naples was rumored to have been given to Henry VIII by his sister Margaret to beg his forgiveness for her hasty -and unapproved -marriage to Charles Brandon. But now, it's gone missing, and someone is after Susanna's life.
Written in a straight forward hand, Keeper offers a compelling, page-turning mystery packed with unexpected twists and turns, solid prose, always-fascinating court intrigue, and a unique story that feels like a classic mystery wrapped in a Tudor setting. Thrown in a dash of sweet, but honest romance and sprinkle an intelligent, independent female protagonist on top and you can't go wrong. I particularly liked how Keeper worked so hard to stand on its own from Treacherous Court, as well as from every other Tudor period novel out there. This series focuses on lesser known figures from history who experienced the intrigues of the Tudor court, but somewhat at a distance, as well as a little-explored tale steeped in myth and legend.
Fans of the first book will welcome the sequel as a natural progression for the story and characters, while fans of Tudor-period novels and mysteries will also have plenty to be excited out. I would caution readers who are looking for period romance -while there is an obvious love between Susanna and John, don't expect any passionate romance scenes or lusty encounters. Author Michelle Diener prefers to keep her focus on the action, mystery and spirited nature of her heroine than on romance -this is really my kind of thing, but may not be appealing to other readers of Tudor-era novels.