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Grade 8 Up—Beautiful Catherine Howard, 15, has attracted the attention of aging King Henry Tudor, who is becoming increasingly desperate for a son. His only son, Edward, is a sickly youngster, and Henry is worried about the succession. He has already rid himself of three wives and, now, he finds a way to dispense with his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, so he can marry Catherine. Catherine has been thrust before him by her powerful Howard relatives, and she knows that her role is to keep the king happy, but she has grown up in the morally lax household of her grandmother, the dowager Duchess of Norfolk, and she has secrets in her past that, if revealed, will ruin her. Told in Catherine's voice, the story gains real immediacy as she glories in the excitement and glamour of the court, but soon realizes that she is in great danger. Her love for young Thomas Culpepper overcomes her common sense, and their affair seals her doom. Period activities such as a bear-baiting contest are skillfully woven into the plot. The dowager Duchess and her accomplice, Lady Jane Rochford, are deliciously amoral in their relentless political scheming. One particularly effective scene has Catherine shocked at seeing a portrait of the youthful Henry and realizing how much he has deteriorated. While numerous sexual encounters are part of the political reality, they are subtly handled. A real treat for lovers of historical fiction.—Quinby Frank, Green Acres School, Rockville, MD
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Though well aware of her cousin Anne Boleyn’s fate only four years earlier, 15-year-old Catherine Howard acquiesces with her ambitious, conniving relatives’ plans and marries King Henry VIII. He calls her “my rose without a thorn,” but she is well aware of the thorny secrets she conceals: no virgin when she and the king married, she later begins a sexual liaison at court, partly in a desperate effort to produce an heir. Soon, Catherine begins a downward spiral toward madness and despair. An author’s note separates historical fact from conjecture in this account of Catherine’s short years as Henry’s “rose.” Libby offers a convincing, sympathetic portrayal of a young woman who relinquishes her hopes of marrying for love and finds herself doomed by her choices and deceptions. Hardly an active heroine, Catherine falls into a trap early on and, in the end, has little left but her dignity. This one’s for historical-fiction fans who will appreciate this character study of Henry’s fifth wife. Grades 8-11. --Carolyn PhelanSee all Editorial Reviews
Good introduction to the history of the period for young readers, and a very good explanation of the isolation and manipulation of people in power by various factions.Published 10 months ago by Wanda Spitzer
Very good book, I liked reading a book from the POV of Catherine Howard since she was sort of frowned upon in history. I would definitely recommend this book to buyers! Read morePublished 19 months ago by Kate
I couldn't put this book down!!! So sad..She was basically thrust into the kings arms so that her family could be looked on with favor. She was so young and him very old. Read morePublished 20 months ago by callie
This book kept me reading to find out what would happen next. I was surprised to find myself crying at the end.Published on August 28, 2013 by L. Fisette
If you are familiar with Tudor History, you know who Katherine Howard is. Not many books seem to cover her life before she met Henry, but this one does, and for that I am thankful. Read morePublished on June 4, 2013 by Mena P.
Catherine never asked to be Queen, but greatness was thrust upon her by the Howard family. At first Catherine thought it might not be so bad and it wouldn't have been if she could... Read morePublished on July 2, 2012 by Brittany Moore
Perhaps my three stars are a bit unjust, but I couldn't really get into the book. The reason for that is that I already knew Cathrine Howard's story very well from reading Phillipa... Read morePublished on March 5, 2011 by BP
Recently I've been reading a lot of historical fiction, and it's hard to tell which are going to be good, and which are the duds.
Happily, this one turned out well. Read more