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Libby's lush historical novel chronicles the intense period during which 15-year-old Catherine Howard became Henry VIII's fifth wife. Starting when the king disposed of his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, by annulment, and taking readers through the moment of Catherine's death for treason against the king, the story captures her powerlessness, despite her title. "You are little more than flesh and blood," her grandmother, the duchess of Norfolk, tells her. "You are the vessel by which the Howards lay claim to the greatest power we can wield." Catherine feels intense pressure to be the king's "rose without a thorn" and produce an heir, but she struggles under the weight of her own past and the machinations of her family: deceiving the king about her virginity, suppressing her love for one of the king's courtiers, Thomas, and contending with the arrival of a former lover and friends seeking positions in her court. The gripping story crackles with the anxiety of the young queen-her lack of control over her own life and desires will resonate most with readers. Ages 14-up. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.