The Queen of Subtleties – Suzannah Dunn

The Queen of Subtleties by Suzannah Dunn was found in a big basket of paperbacks in English in a charity shop in June. It happened to be on the top of a precarious pile on our office chair when I was in need of a new book to start reading, and so it got read.

I find I’ve been almost topical, what with the new Boleyn sisters film coming out in theatres over here just at this time. I’m not all that fascinated with the Boleyns as such, but I found this book intriguing mostly because of the other main protagonist, Lucy Cornwallis, the king’s confectioneer. Her story fascinated me, however, in that respect the novel is rather more disappointing than not, since there is less substance than I could have wished. I am asking too much, I suppose, as Dunn herself says nothing is known of Lucy Cornwallis except she is the only woman in an otherwise male-dominated household, and so any further details there might have been about how she ended up in such a position (which is mostly what intrigues me) would be pure speculation on Dunn’s part anyway, and I might as well speculate on my own. Still, quite a charming little book and it certainly left me wanting to read more about this period (just not another Anne Boleyn biography, not just yet, anyway). One of Dunn’s sources, Simon Thurley’s Henry Viii’s Kitchens at Hampton Court, goes straight onto my Mt TBR.

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