Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Review + Giveaway: To Serve A King by Donna Russo Morin

Be sure to sign up for a chance to win a copy of To Serve A King in the comments section below!

To Serve A King By Donna Russo Morin
Source: I received a copy from the author in exchange for a fair & honest review.
Release Date: February 2011

Review:  I experienced a lot of firsts from reading just this one book. For instance, this was my first time reading a book by Donna Russo Morin and I haven’t read a historical novel centered around King Francois I’s court until now. Also, I believe it was the first novel I have read where the heroin was a female spy. This book was so rich and vibrant I couldn’t get enough of it.

The story started during one of the most historical moments in European history. It opened with the meeting between two of Europe’s most feared and respected kings: King Henry VIII and King Francois I. Their meeting became known as The Field of Cloth & Gold, which was brought on to signify a friendship and form an alliance between their two countries. This moment was definitely out shined once a colossal fire broke out in their camp tragically killing innocent bystanders and leaving little two year, Genevieve, an orphan. Henry VIII saw this as an opportunity he could not pass up.

We all know both Henry VIII and Francois I had multiple spies in each other’s court, but Henry VIII devised a plan that would put a spy right under Francois nose without him suspecting a thing, which is where little Genevieve came in to play. Henry had Madame de Montlhery raise Genevieve as her niece, which later I concluded the most likely possibility was that Montlhery was one of his spies as well. 

For nineteen straight years, Genevieve was brought up to despise the man who murdered her family with that man being King Francois I. Under the supervision of her aunt, Genevieve was schooled in areas that no proper woman of the times should have been educated in. She was taught to decipher encrypted codes, hunt, and ride like a gentleman. She became an expert with the sword, dagger, and highly accurate with a bow. Genevieve was being molded into a killer spy for Henry VIII.

When the time was right, Genevieve was sent to the court of the man she was taught to hate with every bone in her body. She becomes a lady in waiting for the king’s mistress, the Duchess Anne de Pisseleau with her sole purpose being to spy for the one man she felt she could count on, Henry VIII. Genevieve had no idea how much she would come to love being a courtier. It was the first time she ever had any friends and people she thought truly cared about her well being. 

The longer she remains in the French court the harder it is for her to continue to despise the one man she swore to make pay for her parents’ untimely demise. She begins to struggle with where her loyalties should lie. Should she remain loyal to the one man who has equipped her with the necessary tools to avenge her parents’ death or should she switch sides and be the faithful courtier and friend to the man who took her in and provided her with a warm bed, food, and most of all friendship and trust. Genevieve knows she must choose soon and when she does there will be no turning back.

Opinion: I loved this book! Kudos to Donna Russo Morin! I love a good book with a strong woman as the heroin. This had all the fine trimmings, which makes a good historical book worthwhile. I loved the twists and turns throughout the novel and how Morin really paid attention to detail. I did find the book had a few slow points, but it was an easy read, which was nice because I was studying for finals while also trying my hardest to keep up with my review requests. This book is highly recommended to all those who love both the French, Tudors, and thrill seeking adventures!

Donna Russo Morin has so graciously offered up a copy to one lucky winner! This giveaway is only open to US Residents and it ends May 18thAll you have to do is say which king you'd be loyal to. Does your loyalty lie with King Henry VIII or King Francois I and why?

-You must be a follower of this blog through GFC follower.
-Leave your name and email address so I can contact you. If no email address is provided then you will not be entered into the giveaway.
-+1 entry if you're a new follower. Just tell me below in the comments that you are a new follower.
-+2 entries if you tweet, blog or facebook this giveaway. Please leave a link or else it wont count. 


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That's an interesting plot idea, I think the whole Field of the Cloth of Gold was an interesting time and definitely over-run with spies.

  3. I would be loyal to King Francois I. I don't know much about him but he seems more refined and frankly, more sane than his cousin. I know enough about Henry VIII to want to stay as far away as possible.

    Thanks for the giveaway! I am a GFC follower.


  4. I would be loyal to Henry. He does have a penchant for chopping off heads when he's angry, so...I would definitely NOT want to be on his bad side. :-)

    Thanks for the giveaway! I am a GFC follower.


  5. Er... Henry VIII? I have only read about him.

    I'm a new follower.

    tiredwkids at live dot com

  6. Um, I don't know much about King Francois, but knowing King Henry as much as I do doesn't leave much choice. I think I would be loyal to Francois hoping he wouldn't be as fickle as Henry.


    PS- I'm also having a giveaway, but for a movie. Check it out!

  7. I have read quite a bit about Henry VIII, and none of it makes me loyal to him. I haven't read much about Francois I, but he has to be better. Now I have to go look him up on wikipedia... :)

    Thank you for the giveaway! This book looks great. :)

    +2 tweet.!/LiederMadchen/status/65966260780929024


  8. I'd be loyal to Henry -- because through his line Elizabeth rose to the throne. and despite the head chopping business, he loved arts and music and helped them to flourish in the court

    +1 I'm a new follower!


  9. Definitely loyal to Francois! Both men are the epitome of European royalty...but I'd be too afraid of losing my head with Henry. Besides, Francois offers friendship!

    +1, new follower!

  10. If I had to choose, I suppose I'd go with Henry VIII, despite his tendency to discard wives left and right.

    +1, new follower


  11. I'm a follower. I would choose King Henry VII, only because I know if I could provide a male heir I would be saved from the chopping block.

  12. I'll be honest I don't know much about either though I'm curious. I know the whole wife deal with Henry so I guess I would go with Francois

    giveawaymommy at yahoo dot com

  13. I was so fascinated with what you wrote I had to google both of them. I think my alliance would lie with King Francois. I have never liked King Henry the 8 because of the things he did to his wives and the church. Although I didn't read many good things about Francois so I would love to read this book.

  14. I am a new follower and I tweeted this giveaway.!/kelewassum/status/70894726861172736 @kelewassum