REBEL BRIDE by Elizabeth Moss: Palace Politics

Rebel Bride

RebelBride-238x238Book 2 in the Lust In The Tudor Court series
Author Elizabeth Moss
Narrated by Carmen Rose
Publisher: Tantor Media
Publication date Dec 1, 2015
Running time 9 hrs 29 min
Download and CDs available

Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


Hilary Mantel meets Sylvia Day: the second installment in a deliciously erotic trilogy begun in Wolf Bride, set against the sumptuous backdrop of the scandal-ridden Tudor Court by Elizabeth Moss.


Hugh Beaufort, favored courtier of King Henry VIII, likes his women quiet and biddable. But Susannah Tyrell is neither of these things. She is feisty, beautiful, opinionated and brave. And Hugh is fascinated by her-despite himself.

When Susannah pulls an outrageous stunt and finds herself lost in the wilds of England, Hugh must go to her rescue. Neither of them is prepared for the dangers that lie in wait. But most deadly of all is their forbidden desire for one another. Hugh has long held himself in check, but even his iron will has its limits as they remain alone together in the forest, far from the restraints of court…


My Take Oblong

What would it be like to be a highly sexual, independent woman of the gentility in Tudor England?  Well, Elizabeth Moss paints it as a rather stifling place where a woman’s happiness, safety, and even the food in her mouth were entirely dependent on the whims of the males of her family.  Women were treated as chattel, and for a few, like Susannah, who would rather be independent it’s a rather dangerous and impossible place to be, somewhere between being a slave and being a person with rights. 

You might note I don’t say that Susannah is a woman of great intellect or maturity.  This character’s bullheadedness and immaturity cause all kinds of issues, dangers and idiocy.  Do I mean that she should have lain down and allowed her father to sell her to another man?  No.  But life would have been miserable for her if she stayed under her father’s roof; if indeed he did not kick her out. Of course, Susannah has her sister, from the first book, who would probably take her in.

On the question of forced marriage,  a serious feature in the plot, I had some questions.  According to HISTORY EXTRA “The express consent of the partners was necessary to make a valid marriage.” on the other hand, according to THE DAILY MAIL, in an article by Caroline Mcguire for MailOnline about Life for Tudor Women entitled: Child brides and lethal labour: Forget the jewels, banquets and gowns of Wolf Hall… the reality of life for Tudor women was far harder :

In the 16th century, women were owned by their father until they were married, when they then became the property of their husband. 

While they could inherit property, it was immediately passed over to their husbands if they married.  

Very few women would have rallied against any of these restrictions as they were taught from a very young age that men were the superior sex. 

The only women who were seen of any use to the world were those who had given birth or were pregnant, as that was considered their only function in life.

So, I don’t know what to think.  But I will give the author the benefit of the doubt.

Henry VIII is portrayed as very hard on the couple, yet he himself tried sleeping with everyone in the book and is known for his Bacchanalian nature. But, he expected everyone else to be above board. Droit de seigneur and all that.

This double standard is a common feature of royal courts in historical romance.

I also find it hard to believe he had not, by the time of this story, elevated Hugh to a position as he had served the King in an important function for some time.

REBEL BRIDE occurs around the time of the disgrace and execution of Anne Boleyn, and partially concurrent with the first story in the series WOLF BRIDE. I found WOLF BRIDE enjoyable, but not compelling as I felt the tension between two themes politics and relationship vied hard for position (review: WOLF BRIDE: Terror, Treachery, Tudors & Tupping).  But, I am a glutton for series and so opted for the next book when it became available. Rather than having two distinct themes, I found Susannah’s headstrong rush into certain danger and disaster again and again to be supremely irritating.  spoilerish sentence below links.

If idiotic young women, rapacious cads and intemperate Tudors are your thing this might be a good choice for you.

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