Nonsuch Palace, which never merited more than a few visits by Henry VIII, proved more popular with his daughter, Elizabeth I. It remained standing until 1682. By this time it had fallen into the hands of Barbara Villiers, Duchess of Cleveland, the notorious mistress of Charles II. Her gambling habits left her short of cash, so she had it demolished, the building materials sold to pay her debts.
Mary M. Luke's The Nonsuch Lure focuses not on the Tudors themselves, but on the Cuddingtons, the family dispossessed by the king's decision. It's a time-slip novel about star-crossed lovers, a beautiful 16th-century woman thought to be tainted by witchcraft, a curse that lasts over generations, and a mysterious lost treasure known only as the Lure. An irresistible combination for an escapist historical read.
The novel begins in the 1970s, as Andrew Moffatt, a wealthy American architect who spends his time jet-setting around the globe, comes across an old journal in a Virginia bookstore. Andrew gets caught up in reading the diary entries of Julian Cushing, a young teacher from colonial Williamsburg, who became so enraptured by a painting that it drew him across the Atlantic and to the ruins of Nonsuch Palace. Curious, Andrew travels to England to visit the Nonsuch excavation site, and finds that his life and Julian's are running in parallel. He begins seeing ghosts from the Tudor era, and there's an evil presence at Nonsuch that seems to have lingered...
I first read The Nonsuch Palace about twenty years ago, and after a quick reread, I found the storyline just as captivating now as it was to me then. Parts are dated, like the 1970s-era slang, and then there's Andrew's occasional cigarette-smoking (in a historic building, too, for shame!). But it's still a wonderful book, and you won't soon forget the history of Nonsuch Palace after reading it. My copy's a 1977 paperback, and it's long out of print, but you can find copies on ABE and Bookfinder.com, among others (kind of pricey, though), as well as at many public libraries.