Review: The Irish Princess by Karen Harper

YEAH!!! I finished another book off of my summer reading list.  I feel like I am really slow going on this list. The book I just finished is The Irish Princess by Karen Harper.  Ms. Harper is well-known for writing historical fiction and this book is included in this genre.

We meet Gera, our heroine, first as she is sneaking into King Henry VIII’s bedchamber.  With murder in her eyes and a dagger in her hand she is intent on revenge for the damage the king has caused to her family.  Just as she is about to plunge the dagger into the King he turns and whispers to her.  We are then spirited back to Ireland where Gera grew up.  She is part of what would have been royalty if Ireland had royalty.  At this time in history, Ireland was not an independent nation, but a part of the English crown.  Ireland was not considered part of the empire yet, but was still overseen by English governors.  Gera was part of one of the remaining Irish families that were still allowed to rule with the approval of the King.  This peaceful coexistence was short-lived for Gera.  When Gera was only 11 her father is imprisoned in the Tower of London with claims that he was trying to start a rebellion in Ireland.  Not long after being imprisoned her father dies.  This spurs her half-brother, now the Earl of Kildare,  into declaring rebellion against King Henry VIII.  When this happens Gera and her brother, the heir, are the only Fitzgeralds left at their home in Mayhoon.  When the rebellion begins Gera stays and Gerald is sent away to the continent so that he will be safe.

The rebellion is shortly quelled and Gera’s uncles and half-brother go into hiding.  After a few months of hiding the five uncles are tricked into a meeting to discuss terms of peace.  They are shackled and taken to the Tower of London.  This trap was planned by Gera’s English uncle, now the governor of Ireland.  Gera is now sent to England to live with her mother and her siblings.  On her trip over she meets Edward Clinton.  This clandestine first meeting will continue to appear throughout the book.  Her random encounters spur on the love story between them.  All the while, the court politics of King Henry VIII play a central role to both the story and Gera’s plans for revenge.  Though Gera has a lot of tragedy in her life primarily caused by the Tudor family she also has some unexpected happiness while in England .  This is one story that you just want to learn more about.

Karen Harper does a phenomenal job on this book.  Her detailed illustration of the court intrigues and the political gauntlets that are thrown down during this time is extraordinary.  Taking a fairly well-known subject of Tudor London and highlighting a little known character with an incredible backstory that is heartbreaking.  Gera’s life leads her from her beloved Ireland to Whitehall Palace where the English court is held.  I personally wish I had met the real Gera.  I think she would have been a loyal and exciting friend to have. I would recommend this book for anyone interested in a good historical fiction that highlights many smaller characters in a part of history that was so large.

For more information on The Irish Princess by Karen Harper you can go to Barnes and Noble, Amazon or any other book retailer.

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