Kiss of the Rose is the first book of the Tudor Vampire Chronicles by Kate Pearce. Druidic Vampire Slayers and the Vampire Council, aided by the Ellis family of Druid Slayers must come together in the court of Henry VIII to catch a rogue vampire who threatens the King. Rosalind Llewellyn has been sent to court to find and slay the rogue vampire, upholding the pact that Henry's father made with the Druids in order to gain their help in winning the kingship. Also at court is Christopher Ellis, who comes from a family of Druid-slayers who serve the Vampire Council. Almost immediately Rosalind and Christopher are drawn to each other, though they are sworn enemies, and they try to fight their attraction, believing they could never be together. Rosalind's faith in the Druid ways is secure, but Christopher has doubts about his own chosen path, disillusioned in the vows he had made, but too honorable to set them aside. Together, with help from Rosalind's companion Rhys, and a vampire representative from the council, they work together to protect the King.
I feel lukewarm towards this one, having read The Other Boleyn Girl and watched much of The Tudors, I think I wanted that history to figure more prominently in this story than it did. What we need to keep in mind is that those were specifically focused on the Henry VIII story, while it serves as a backdrop here. Henry and Catherine are present, and the fact that Catherine is losing favor with Henry is also shown, as well as a bit of Henry's domineering character. In addition, I just didn't really bond with any of the characters except Christopher. His struggle with the disillusionment of his own convictions makes him a much more interesting character to me than Rosalind, Rhys, or the vampire who sort of helps them.
Overall it was an enjoyable read, though I got the feeling that the first book might have been more of a set up for what's to come, Henry VIII's story gets much more interesting when Anne Boleyn comes on the scene, which should be in the next book Blood of the Rose. It sounds like Anne will figure more prominently in the story than our historical figures did this time.
For more information on Kate Pearce and her work, please visit her website.
This was my fifth read for the Paranormal Romance Challenge hosted by Bitten by Paranormal Romance.