Review: The Queen's Rival: In the Court of Henry VIII by Diane Haeger

by Diane Haeger

Release Date:  March 1, 2011
NAL Trade


From the author of The Queen's Mistake comes the untold story of King Henry VIII's first well-known mistress.

As the beautiful daughter of courtiers, Elizabeth "Bessie" Blount is overjoyed when she secures a position as maid of honor to Katherine of Aragon. But when she captures the attention of the king himself, there are whispers that the queen ought to be worried for her throne.

When Bess gives birth to a healthy son the whispers become a roar. But soon the infamous Boleyn girls come to court and Henry's love for her begins to fade. Now, Bess must turn to her trusted friend, the illegitimate son of Cardinal Wolsey, to help her move beyond life as the queen's rival.


Diane Haeger’s third novel set at the court of Henry VIII, tells the story of Bessie Blount, Henry’s mistress and mother to his first son. And in true Haeger fashion the novel is utterly captivating!

As a young girl Bess always dreamed of the day she would go to court. A hopeless romantic and dreamer, she would insist her siblings join her in playing “court” with her of course, playing the role of queen and daily practiced her curtseys before a painting of the young and handsome King Henry. As far as she was concerned he was Lancelot and she Guinevere.

After her father is injured fighting Bess’s wish is granted and she is sent to become a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon in the place of her mother. The 14 year old Bess is quickly disheartened to see that the queen’s court is a far cry from the vision in her fantasies – her days filled with mind-numbing needlework and hours spent with the queen in prayer. That all changes however when the king returns and to Bess he truly was Lancelot come to life. With Henry’s penchant for plucking mistresses from the pool of the queen’s attendants it’s not before long that he sets his ambitions on Bess. And by that time she was too deep in love to deny him, regardless of her sympathy for the queen. Bess’s rise and fall as royal mistress was a swift one as the entrance of the Boleyn sisters heralded her exit, but it’s her success in providing King Henry a son that sealed her mark in history. Bess’s life after Henry is also chronicled as she fights Henry over their son and finds love again in the arms of her friend Gilbert Talbois.

The Queen’s Rival is exquisitely written and hard to put down, I very enthusiastically recommend this novel!

If you'd like to win a copy of The Queen's Rival and read a guest post by Diane Haeger on Henry Fitzroy, the son of Bess and King Henry, click HERE!

For more information please visit Diane Haeger's WEBSITE.

FTC:  I was sent this book by the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.



  1. I am glad to hear this book was good! I have to read something by her!

  2. Great review Amy and this is one that I can't wait to read. Funny how Bess was portrayed as a whore in a lot of stories...I think in Philippa Gregories, The Other Boleyn...but don't quote
    Have a great day. Fondly, Roberta

  3. Glad you liked this one so much Amy. I hope to read it soon.

  4. Bessie Blount...I always forget about her the poor thing. Glad she finally got her own book :) Great review.

  5. This is an individual I am not familiar with. It will be interesting seeing this different view of Henry VIII's court.
    Thank you for the review.

  6. I have this one to review, so I'm glad you enjoyed it!


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