Wednesday, 2 March 2022

LADY PSYCHE by Gemma Lawrence

4.5 out of 5 stars

On Amazon
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book:  Been waiting for it!

In a Nutshell: Book #2 of The Armillary Sphere series, about Lady Jane Rochford

The weighty events of the King's 'Great Matter', ie his quest to divorce Katherine of Aragon and marry Anne Boleyn, are just beginning as this part of Jane Rochford's story continues; the book takes us up to Henry's break from Rome.  

My favourite aspects of this book:
  • The descriptive passages about the sweating sickness plague; it is talked about in other Tudor era books by Gemma Lawrence, but in Lady Psyche Jane tells us what it was actually like to live in a time and place when a deadly disease was rampant—a disease that was not understood, and from which few recovered.  She gives detail about how it was to live with this, on a daily basis; I was engrossed.
  • The picture painted of the 'cage' Jane was in (as described by a woman she met on a visit to Bedlam); she felt invisible and probably was, to a large extent, sitting as she did on the sidelines of the Boleyn family.  So in love with her husband and longing for a child, each day being reminded of her empty womb and her husband's indifference, and being faced with the realisation that she was not of importance to anyone.  Her fears for the future, her sanity and her soul once Henry named himself Head of the Church, and her constant loneliness.  Rarely have I seen illustrated so well how bleak was the lot of women in those days.  Put simply, she had no choice in how her life was lived.
  • How Jane has been given a slight and believable psychic ability, the occasional vision of the future.  I loved reading about the times when she saw what was to come but could not interpret it, and would have loved to see more, but on balance I think Ms Lawrence was wise to show this only sparsely.  

This is the fourth series by Gemma Lawrence in which the 'Great Matter' takes centre stage; it also features prominently in her series about Anne Boleyn (obviously!), Jane Seymour and Catherine Howard.  Each time it is told from a different point of view, which is clever, though I wonder if the accounts might benefit from a little pruning of detail, so that it remained, in this case, primarily Jane's story, rather than that of Anne, Henry, Wolsey, etc.  Having said that, the royal love triangle would have been the main topic of conversation for anyone in court circles at the time, Jane's fortunes were inextricably linked with Anne's, and ladies-in-waiting did not do a great deal apart from attend their mistress and take part in court gossip!  

I look forward to the next book, very much.


  1. What an awesome cover! I'll have to read this because I've always viewed Lady Jane Rochford as something of a villain.

    1. Start with the first one, Mistress Constancy, Noelle - it shows so much about her early life and the hopelessness of her marriage. It's no surprise she became bitter!