Keeper of the King’s Secrets: Pre-release giveaway with a LOT of sparkle

WE HAVE OUR WINNERS! A big congratulations to:

Maggie Brooke (who gets to choose which of those lovely earrings she wants)
Kaetrin (who wins a copy of Keeper of the King’s Secrets)
Limecello (who wins a copy of Keeper of the King’s Secrets)

The winners were chosen using I’ll be in touch with all three to work out the details. Congrats again!

The second book in my Tudor-set series, KEEPER OF THE KING’S SECRETS releases next Tuesday, April 3rd, and seeing as a great big jewel is at the heart of the book, I thought any giveaway I had had to seriously sparkle.

In Keeper, Susanna Horenbout and her betrothed, John Parker, have to find the famous jewel known as the Mirror of Naples before anyone else, or England might just go to war with France. When I was researching the first book in the series, IN A TREACHEROUS COURT, I stumbled across mention of the Mirror of Naples, and KNEW it just had to be part of KEEPER OF THE KING’S SECRETS.

The jewel is described as being as large as a full-sized finger with a large pear-shaped pearl hanging from it. It was worth the equivalent of Β£4,500,000. Um, I’m not giving away bling of equivalent value, just to be clear. πŸ™‚

Henry VIII’s sister Mary was given the jewel as part of the French Crown Jewels when she became Queen of France.

When her husband Louis died, she was sequestered in a nunnery for a few months so everyone could be sure she was not pregnant, and couldn’t see any other men to become pregnant. Henry sent his best friend, Charles Brandon, to fetch her back to England when it was clear she wasn’t expecting the next King of France. But here’s the twist. When she agreed to marry Louis, who was years older than her, she asked Henry to promise that once she was widowed, she could choose her own husband, that he wouldn’t use her as a political pawn again.

Henry promised.

Mary had always had her eye on Charles Brandon. She’d been in love with him for a long time. And she didn’t quite believe her brother would keep his word. So when Brandon arrived at the French nunnery to fetch her, she called a priest, and got herself a Vegas wedding, Tudor-style *g*.

As she suspected, Henry had had other plans for his little sister, and they didn’t include his best friend, even though he loved Brandon as a brother. The nobles weren’t happy either. With Henry’s children not exactly thick on the ground, they felt Brandon had stolen a valuable State asset by marrying Mary, and they demanded he be beheaded for treason.

What was a girl to do but pinch the Mirror of Naples, which she had – oops! – forgotten to return to Francis I, the new king of France, and hand it over to Henry as a peace offering, along with quite a bit of cash? Henry was mollified by the sparkly gift, made all the sweeter by being French property, which he knew would drive Francis I mad, and all was (mostly) forgiven.

I’ve always thought well of Mary for thumbing her nose at two of the most powerful men on the planet with this stunt.

The history I’ve given above of how the Mirror of Naples came to be in Henry’s possession all happened a good few years before KEEPER OF THE KING’S SECRETS is set. My angle on the story was I wondered what would the French do in a situation like this? What if someone really powerful in Henry’s court had a really good reason to work with the French to get the Mirror of Naples back to them, and what if someone else really powerful caught wind of the secret deal, and thought to use it to get rid of a rival?

The answers to those questions are in KEEPER OF THE KING’S SECRETS πŸ™‚ . I loved writing it, and especially loved my French bad boy, Jean, who is a nasty piece of work, but you can’t help remembering the Mirror of Naples really is theirs.

Anyway, because I am so excited about the release of KEEPER OF THE KING’S SECRETS there are three prizes for three commenters to this blog starting now, and ending next Friday, to give everyone a chance to spread the word. I’m giving away two copies of Keeper to two runners-up, and the lucky winner gets to choose one or other of the earrings below. I hunted and hunted, but couldn’t find anything that had a decent sparkly with a pearl hanging from it that looked right, so the choice is either one or the other. I’m afraid the earrings are US residents only, but the books are international, so please let me know in the comments.

Crystal Earrings

Pearl Earrings

About Michelle Diener

Michelle Diener writes historical fiction and fantasy. To find out more about her and her novels, you can visit her website.
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67 Responses to Keeper of the King’s Secrets: Pre-release giveaway with a LOT of sparkle

  1. Pingback: Keeper of the King’s Secrets: Pre-release giveaway with a LOT of sparkle - Michelle Diener » Michelle Diener

  2. Holly says:

    I’m really excited to read this book. I watched the whole series of The Tudors and my favorite character was Brandon. It will be nice to read a book based around the wingman’s story for a change. πŸ™‚ And besides what girl doesn’t love a story about something that sparkles?

  3. Cheryl Buxton says:

    I love that Mary is central to this story. Her plight always elicited sympathy from me at bring a Princess but having to marry an old man. I know that this was not an uncommon situation for a woman of her rank at this time but it seems such a contrast to her brother’s power. So it’s great to see a story that celebrates her personality. I’m looking forward to reading it! πŸ™‚

    • Cheryl, I’m afraid this story isn’t about Mary, it’s set some years after the events that led to her handing the Mirror of Naples to Henry. But I agree, a story about the events I describe above would be really good. Maybe I should consider it . . . πŸ™‚

      Keeper of the King’s Secrets is the second book featuring Susanna Horenbout, the King’s court painter, and her betrothed, John Parker. They have to find the jewel, which has disappeared, before someone starts a war with France over it.

  4. Edie Ramer says:

    I LOVE Mary’s story. What a smart woman! I’ll enjoy reading the book even more when it’s out, knowing the background of the Mirror of Naples. The earrings are gorgeous, too.

  5. CrystalGB says:

    Congratulations on your new book. Sounds amazing. I love the beautiful cover. The earrings are gorgeous. USA

  6. Cynthia Eden says:

    Congrats on your upcoming release!!! So excited for you!
    Cynthia Eden`s last blog was …Guest Author Casey Crow (With Giveaway Fun!)

  7. Your covers are absolutely beautiful. Definitely, oh and ah material.
    I love the Tudor period. People were so properly wicked, full of polite self-preservation back then. Everything could change with a whispered word, no proof, and a chop of the head. An interesting time to say the least.
    I wish you well with your book launch!

  8. Dionne Klein says:

    I LOVE anything & everything about the Tudors! I’m so excited to hear about you and your books! And of course I love anything that sparkles! My husband & daughter say they are afraid to go to sleep at night because I might bedazzle them!! Fingers crossed!!

  9. Michelle,

    As a history major I loved English and French history for all the intrigue between those 2 ruling houses . The family ties between them just added flavor to the battles.
    πŸ˜‰ You did and excellent job of summing up the backstory and showing your unique spin for fiction. I can’t wait to read this one!

    Also love all your covers! And your earring bling.
    Casey Clifford`s last blog was …What was Grandma’s and Mom’s Secret?

    • Thank you, Casey. The rivalry between Henry and Francis is a writer’s dream, and the fact that Francis has been captured by Emperor Charles during the time this story is set, means France’s honour is even more at stake.

      Glad you like the bling πŸ™‚

  10. Oh, Michelle –

    These books sound fabulous. I swear I need more hours in a day (or belong to the Borg) in order to read all the great books the GIAMers are writing!

    Although I haven’t been a huge historical reader in the past few years, I am a Phillipa Gregory fan. So your stories sound like something I would love!

    Okay, can anyone suggest an app for my iPad that will track my TBR pile in order??

    Hugs on your release, Michelle!
    Kelsey Browning`s last blog was …Kelsey’s Primo Potato Salad

  11. Dale Mayer says:

    hi Michelle,

    Major congrats on your latest new release! So excited for you! Of course, the bling is pretty too πŸ™‚
    Dale Mayer`s last blog was …Giveways through Goodreads

  12. Misty Evans says:

    Congrats on the new book, Michelle! Wishing you much success with this series. I enjoy the *behind the scenes* sneak peeks you give us with these blogs that enrich the stories and history inside them even more.

  13. Bonnie Dodge says:

    Your new book sounds wonderful. I am always fascinated by books about Henry’s court, and am currently reading Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. This is the first time I’ve heard about the Mirror of Naples. Very interesting. Congratulations and hope next week your sales soar.

  14. B. A. Binns says:

    The tudor period isn’t one I’ve read a lot, but this booksounds interesting. I’ll have to take a look at your series.

  15. Jean Willett says:

    What a beautiful cover!! I found your website via a tiny link on a twitter post πŸ™‚ that mentioned Naples. Anything Italian is always of interest as I was born in Naples. Italy, that is, not Florida

    Good luck with the book!

    2012 GH Finalist in Romantic Suspense

  16. Khelsey says:

    I cant wait for this book!!! I am in love with the Tudor period. And by the way I love your covers~! πŸ˜‰

  17. Karen says:

    πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to read the second book in this series! I confess, I had never heard of Susanna and Parker before I read “In A Treacherous Court”, so thank you for making their story known!

    • Thank you, Karen. So glad to hear you enjoyed In a Treacherous Court, and yes, I’m really glad to bring Susanna and Parker into the light, where they belong πŸ™‚ .

  18. I know I will love this book! Can’t wait.

  19. aretha zhen says:

    Hi Michelle. i am always very excited to read any book about tudor:). I know and I believe I’ll love this book for sure:). And by the way i am also falls in love with your cover:). Congratz for the release of your new book! international

  20. Liz says:

    Anyone who survived in the Tudor court endured the trials of Hercules and deserves sparkles. (Poor Richard III and the princes.)

  21. bn100 says:

    Congratulations on the book! It sounds very intriguing.

  22. I’m late again to the ball! Michelle, the story sounds wonderfully intriguing, and I love the bling!
    Karin* Tabke aka Harlow!`s last blog was …CAPA Winner!

  23. Kaetrin says:

    Hello Michelle. Congratulations on the new release. I’d love to be included in the giveaway – I’m in Australia so count me in for the book only please πŸ™‚
    Kaetrin`s last blog was …Curio by Cara McKenna

  24. Janet Kerr says:

    These are absolutely stunning outfits!
    Congratulations on your new release.
    I am very interested in reading your new book!
    Please enter me in your draw.


  25. Melysah says:

    Oh, the book looks and sounds good. I’d actually prefer the book over the earrings. #crazybooklady 😳

  26. blodeuedd says:

    Happy pre-release event πŸ™‚

    Oh that Mary, she knew what to do and I like that
    blodeuedd`s last blog was …Review: Vampires are Forever – Lynsay Sands

  27. Liz Kreger says:

    Hey Michelle. Chiming in here late. Fabulous cover and congrats on your release. Love the historical facts about Mary and Charles. Too bad he didn’t turn out to be such a prize. Sounds like Mary deserved a little bit of happiness.

    Love the bling. Good choices.

  28. medieval england has always been one of the places i love to be and reading about it and its gorgeous people is definitely the best way to get there! thank you for your stories, michelle

  29. Limecello says:

    Hi Michelle,

    Keeper of the King’s Secret sounds so good! This time period isn’t usually my “go to” – but I love this story. I enjoyed the Showtime series The Tudors (um, Charles Brandon/Henry Cavill didn’t hurt…) πŸ˜‰ And I also love Gabrielle Anwar (who played Mary).

    I’d never even heard of The Mirror of Naples before. So fascinating – I love the history that comes with certain jewels. Congratulations and happy early release day!
    Limecello`s last blog was …Review: Beneath the Skin by Lauren Dane

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  32. Lynda says:

    I usually read Historial Fiction about the Plantagenets ( the white Rose ) King Richard III etc but I saw you book In A Trreacherous Court and bought it. I really enjoyed it a lot and look forward to reading more. Lynda

  33. Kristine M. says:

    I love books set in the Tudor era. These look most excellent & I can’t wait to read them! Happy release week!

  34. Katie says:

    I’m really looking forward to reading this book over the summer – sounds like perfect escapism! I’m particularly excited about meeting this Jean character; in my head he already looks like Vincent Cassel, swoon.

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