The Queen's Governess

The Queen's Governess

4.1 47
by Karen Harper
     
 

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The national bestselling author of Mistress Shakespeare delivers the epic tale of Elizabeth I's most trusted companion-a commoner who lived among royals...

Katherine Ashley, the clever, beguiling daughter of a poor country beekeeper, catches the attention of powerful, ambitious Thomas Cromwell-henchman for King Henry VIII. Cromwell secures forSee more details below

Overview

The national bestselling author of Mistress Shakespeare delivers the epic tale of Elizabeth I's most trusted companion-a commoner who lived among royals...

Katherine Ashley, the clever, beguiling daughter of a poor country beekeeper, catches the attention of powerful, ambitious Thomas Cromwell-henchman for King Henry VIII. Cromwell secures for Kat a place in the royal court, but as a reluctant spy. Plunged into a treacherous game of shifting alliances, Kat is entrusted by Anne Boleyn to protect her daughter, Elizabeth. In the face of exile, assassination attempts, imprisonment, and a romantic flirtation that could cost the young princess dearly, Kat will risk everything-even her own secret love-for her bright, clever Elizabeth.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Katherine Ashley is the daughter of a country squire with no hope of a future, until a chance meeting with Thomas Cromwell gets her sent to Henry VIII's court as a waiting gentlewoman to Queen Anne Boleyn and a spy for Cromwell. When Boleyn comes to an untimely end, Ashley becomes tutor and servant to her daughter, Elizabeth, and accompanies the girl throughout her trials and tribulations before she finally takes her father's throne and goes on to become England's greatest queen. Rarely does a work of historical fiction endeavor to cover so much territory—Ashley lives through the reigns of four Tudors—but Harper's diligent research, realistic portrayal, and insider/outsider heroine will hook those who can't get enough of England's turbulent history. Readers familiar with the period will feel at home and even manage some sympathy for men like Cromwell and Henry VIII. Still, bestseller Harper (Mistress Shakespeare) maintains her focus on the roles of women—both powerful and powerless—in Tudor England, resulting in another enjoyable proto-feminist historical romp. (Jan.)
Library Journal
"Yes, I will ever say that Anne Boleyn gave me life, but Kat Ashley gave me love." These words come from Elizabeth I in Harper's new historical. Harper, very popular for her Tudor mysteries (e.g., The Poyson Garden), is already well versed in the history of Elizabeth Tudor, but here she retells the familiar story from the point of view of Elizabeth's always present governess, Kat Ashley. The story traces Kat's life from her childhood in the wilds of Devon to being plucked from obscurity by Thomas Cromwell and brought to court to serve Anne Boleyn. From there Kat's life undergoes many twists and turns, including being imprisoned twice and charged with conspiracy to commit treason, dallying with the wrong man, and finally marrying the right one. VERDICT Well paced and full of pitch-perfect detail, Harper's novel brings new life to an old subject and, as good as the best of Philippa Gregory, is sure to be a big hit with historical fiction fans and book clubs.—Anna Nelson Karras, Collier Cty. P.L., Naples, FL
Kirkus Reviews
Harper, author of an inventive, long-running mystery series starring Elizabeth I as sleuth (The Hooded Hawke, 2007, etc.), now depicts the monarch through the eyes of her most loyal courtier. Like her eventual mentor Thomas Cromwell (Henry VIII's fixer-in-chief), Kat Champernowne is of humble origins. Her father, a beekeeper from an impoverished branch of Devonshire nobility, doesn't seem unduly upset by the suspicious drowning of Kat's mother Cecily. With scandalous haste, he marries the vain, scheming hussy who was the last person to see Cecily alive. Kat yearns to escape Maud, who treats her as a drudge and nursemaid for a growing brood of half-siblings. Her chance comes when she does a good turn for Cromwell, who procures her an education at the manor house of wealthy distant relations. Then she's off to Henry's court to serve Anne Boleyn-and to spy on her for Cromwell. Kat's devotion to Anne extends through her coronation and her execution approximately 1,000 days later. Shortly before she faces the headsman, the doomed queen gives Kat a ruby locket-ring with facing portraits of Anne and her daughter Elizabeth, whose gender precipitated her swift fall from favor. She begs Kat to cherish and protect the princess always. Elizabeth's mettle is severely tested: She's disinherited in favor of younger brother Edward, very nearly seduced by villainous rake Thomas Seymour (who raped Kat in her early days at court), displaced again by her cousin Jane Grey's ill-fated coup, followed by her elder sister Mary's accession to the throne. While treading the delicate line between deference and the discipline young Elizabeth sorely needs, Kat outwits and outlives Seymour and his many blackmailattempts. She confounds her questioners during two prison terms endured as a result of various power shifts. Unfortunately, perhaps because of scant written records concerning Kat, she's a much sketchier character than her royal charge. All in all, a lively and historically grounded reimagining of two Tudor survivors.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101184622
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
01/21/2010
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
142,001
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

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