Thursday, 1 May 2014

Book Review: The King's Rose by Alisa M Libby

Life in the court of King Henry VIII is a complex game. When fifteen-year-old Catherine Howard catches the king?s eye, she quickly transforms from pawn to queen. But even luxury beyond imagination loses its luster as young Catherine finds her life?and her heart?threatened by the needs of an aging king and a family hungry for power. Will their agendas deliver Catherine to the same fate as her infamous cousin, Anne Boleyn?sacrificed at the altar of family ambition? Engaging historical fiction with a throbbing YA heartbeat, this thrilling novel will draw readers into the intrigues and dangers of the Tudor court.

My Review:
Catherine Howard's arrival at Court entices Henry VIII away from unwanted Queen Anne of Cleves. But Catherine has secrets about her past that she must keep hidden at all costs to keep her crown and her head.

I read this book months ago and I'm only just getting my review online now. I enjoyed this novel about the 5th Queen and while there is no fresh content in the story, I liked the simplistic way that the story was told with no complicated bits. Whether it is correct in all historical facts and dates is for those with better memories to comment on! But if you want to read a light tudor tale, you may well enjoy this book.

The author takes the view that the pressure came to Catherine from the Dowager Duchess to hide her past and use Thomas as a bedmate to get pregnant when the King proves unable. Catherine is certainly portrayed here as a victim who was told what to say and do, what to think and forget, and that her own wishes never came into it. The scheming Jane Rochford lurks to guide her and cover up her affair as instructed. The ladies in waiting all hint that they might tell tales if they aren't kept happy with parties and other things, leaving Catherine helpless and at their mercy. The spurned ex lover threatening to expose her unless he is given a job. While I do not personallybelieve that Catherine was this totally innocent girl used unwillingly by everyone, I did enjoy reading the story from this point of view.

I think one of the reasons that I find Catherine Howard's story so fascinating is that I love the intrigue that surrounds the real life character of Jane Rochford. She is one of the most interesting females from Tudor times and we rarely get decent books about her. So I have a lot of novels of Catherine and Jane yet to read. Hopefully I will enjoy the others as I did this one.
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