The Confession of Katherine Howard

The Confession of Katherine Howard

by Suzannah Dunn


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From Suzannah Dunn, the critically acclaimed author of The Queen of Subtleties, The Sixth Wife and The Queen’s Sorrow, comes the tragic, gripping, and intensely moving story of Katherine Howard—the fifth wife of England’s King Henry VIII—and the best friend she nearly took down with her. The Confession of Katherine Howard is masterful historical fiction, ideal for fans of Phillipa Gregory and Allison Weir, bringing to rich, lustrous life the sights and sounds of the royal Tudor court while telling a story of passion, intrigue, betrayal, and destiny that will live in the reader’s memory long after the final page is turned.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062011473
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/05/2011
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,025,166
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Suzannah Dunn is the author of ten novels in the United Kingdom, including The Sixth Wife and The Queen of Subtleties, both published in the United States as well. She lives in Brighton, England.

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Confession of Katherine Howard 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
tina1969 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From fantastic fiction.Eighteen-year-old Catherine Howard thought she could have it all: a King and a lover! Lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves, Henry VIII's new German wife, it wasn't long before a teenage Catherine caught the King's eye. Pretty, lively and young, he swiftly made her his queen. Catherine found herself showered with riches and at the centre of a lavish court life. Dizzy with the power she suddenly possessed, she failed to realize the political realities of her life. Just over a year into her marriage, during a special service at which Henry was giving thanks to God for his wonderful wife, Archbishop Cranmer passed the King a letter, listing allegations against Catherine before she became queen. Henry asked the archbishop to investigate; he was never to see his young wife again. Told twenty years on from the perspective of Catherine's close friend, Cat Tilney, the novel tells the life of this damaged, dangerous and short-lived queen. Suzannah Dunn presents us with a feisty, determined Catherine, who refused to allow men to walk over her -- even if they did happen to be the King of England.I will read about the Tudors in any form and by anybody as it is my favourite period in history. This book is about the early days and the days leading up to the death of Katherine Howard from the point of view of her friend Cat Tilney. There are no surprises with the book as we all know the outcome, but being told from the observations of somebody else the story is the same but with a different opinion of what happened. So this book may not be juicy and sexy like some books but is an ok read. My own thoughts on Katherine Howard is that when she became queen she saw possessions unlike cousin Anne Boleyn who saw power.
joririchardson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This brief story recounts portions of Katherine Howard's girlhood, as well as her days as queen and her disastrous fate. It is told from the viewpoint of Cat, a naive girl who grew up with Katherine and now serves as her lady in waiting.The book starts out ominously: "I was thinking... this is who we are: the perfect queen and her faithful retinue. Now, I wish I could go back, patter over the lavish carpets to tap us on the shoulders, whisper in our ears and get us out alive." (page 4)I found this to be a good example of Dunn's writing. Almost well written, but not quite. The potential is there, but an amateur quality remains. In actuality, the above sentence is relatively flattering, being more eloquent than most others in the book, but it still doesn't exactly fit. First of all, Cat never views Katherine as "the perfect queen," and with good reason. And who in the world "patters" over carpets?? I suppose next will be carpeted tap-dancing.Worse than people's shoes tapping on carpets is the modern style of Dunn's writing. There is a whole lot of sex talk between the girls, and while I don't doubt that girls of any time period are capable of being curious, their wishful conversations sounded just a bit too unrealistic. Something that greatly annoyed me was that the main character Cat is so drastically overlooked. She remained definitively faceless and without personality for the entire story. Coming into the book, I didn't read the back cover, and I had been assuming that Katherine Howard would be the narrator. When it became clear that the story was being told by someone else, I kept thinking that on the next page, this person would introduce herself and reveal her identity. But she didn't until about page 50! Her name is never, ever mentioned until quite far in, and we have to guess for ourselves that she is the queen's lady in waiting or maid or something of that nature.I got a strong impression that the author expected readers to just know that our main character was "Cat Tilney, ladies maid" from the description on the back cover. And absolutely no book should rely on that, in my opinion.In the same way of forgetting to mention her own main character's name, Suzannah Dunn fails to mention or feature a lot of other things, too. Before Cat and Katherine come to court, they appear to enjoy gossiping about the latest royal news with their friends. As girls, they hear about the queen being taken away and replaced by a new one, who is later beheaded.Of course, I know who they are talking about - Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Later, they converse about Anne of Cleves as well. But it struck me as very strange that they would never once mention any names. Anne Boleyn's name is not featured once in the entirety of the novel, and neither are any other of Katherine's many predecessors.Katherine's affair with Thomas Culpepper is mentioned often, but we never actually "see" him. He is mentioned, but never featured in any scenes, turning him into just a name of some guy.The words "London" and "England" seem to be avoided. Absolutely NO sense of setting is given whatsoever, which is always a major negative point for me, especially with historical fiction, and especially with historical fiction that deals with royalty. Kings and queens are ingrained so deeply in their countries and their cultures, a writer ought to find it impossible NOT to mention them. Even when Katherine later tells Cat about Francis Dereham's imprisonment, she says "tower," rather than outright mention the "Tower of London." I can't fathom why the author seemed to go out of her way to avoid specific names and titles, but it certainly didn't do any favors for the story.Before this one, the only other book that I had read that prominently focused on Katherine Howard was Philippa Gregory's "The Boleyn Inheritance." Though I know that Gregory is not exactly known for her accuracy, I have to say that that book is leagues better than this one. I also felt that Gregory
Crittercrazyjen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This short novel is a retelling of the story of Katherine Howard, the girl who wound up becoming King Henry VIII's fifth wife. The novel is written from the perspective of Cat Tilney, a relative who grew up in the same household as Katherine and eventually became her friend and confidant. I found this unique viewpoint to be a refreshing change from the other novels I've read about Katherine Howard, which were all narrated by Katherine herself. I also found the author's take on Katherine to be refreshing. Katherine Howard is usually painted as a naive and dull-witted young girl who foolishly lets her heart get the best of her. Suzannah Dunn's Katherine, on the other hand, is a worldly and cunning young lady who is often easily able to manipulate those around her. She is very much in control of her life. I found the speech the characters used to be far-fetched. They often sounded more like modern-day teen girls than young ladies in the Tudor era. I think that the title of this novel could be a bit misleading. It makes it sound like the book will be a first-hand account of Katherine's life in her own words when it is in actuality narrated by one of her companions.Overall, I would give "The Confession of Katherine Howard" two stars. It was interesting enough to hold my attention, but I didn't find it enjoyable enough to go on my "to re-read" shelf.
TeresaInTexas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm really on the fence about this one. There is much to admire about it, but also much to dislike. First of all, what I didn't like--another first person narrative, although I do understand why it's used--to keep Katherine at a distance and to judge her strictly by her actions, without letting the character's inner motivations justify her deeds. I also dislike the modern dialogue. It's not that difficult to make dialogue read and sound authentic to the time period (see Margaret Irwin's Elizabeth I trilogy for brilliant Tudor dialogue!). But for characters from the 1500s to say things like, "I'm just saying," or "Hello, you," is really jarring. What I do appreciate about this book is that Dunn researched it well, and had all the historical personages in the correct places at the correct times. And her characterization of Katherine Howard, Henry VIII's young 5th wife, as a manipulative flirt, is probably right on the money
celticlady53 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is another novel about Katherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII. I do have to say that this was not one of the best books I have read about Katherine Howard. A very young girl put into a situation at the greed of other, and way too young to be put against a king who has not problems getting what he wants at the expense of others, usually his wives losing their heads.
bridgetmarkwood on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
As a big fan of British History fiction, I was really excited to win this book. And it did not disappoint! I've not read anything by Dunn yet, but I have one of her other books in my queue and am now very excited to read it. I found this book to be well researched, giving the reader a better understanding of the order and turns of events surrounding Henry VIII's 5th wife. Very little in the book is actually about Henry or the Tudors. It is more about Katherine and her life, her personality, her friends, her choices. If you are interested in the era, this book is insightful.I also really enjoyed the tone of the book, which lent itself to the understanding of Katherine and her ways. The story is told by her best friend, who struggles with Katherine's moral compass vs accepting her for who she just is. This "queen" is so easily shrugged off as a teen floozy; I was glad to read a book that explored her character, or true lack thereof, a little more deeply. A quick read. I will certainly recommend the book to my fellow Anglophiles! :-)
Cariola on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of historical fiction set in the Tudor era, but, sadly, this LTER book was a bit of a stinker. I wondered at first if it was a YA novel, mainly because the dialogue was so modern. (Characters said things like "they were messing around" and "Did he make a move on you?" and greeted each other with "Hello, you." Katherine's crowd also has precious little nicknames for themselves and mean ones for everyone else: Oddbod, Izzy, Skid, etc.) I thought that perhaps the author intended to appeal to younger readers by depicting Katherine and her companions as a teenage clique. But with the focus on sex, sex, and more sex--well, maybe it wasn't quite aimed at teens. We all know that Katherine has the reputation of being both a minx and slut, but I got really, really tired of all the sex talk. I have no problem with a few sex scenes that are essential to the story--but there is a limit, after which it just gets boring. We have to hear in detail how Izzy teaches her little sister Katherine how to use half a lemon as a diaphragm and the various things that you can do with men (since they always want it) that will make them happy without getting you pregnant. Not exactly the info I'd want to pass on to a teenage daughter. Besides sex, there's not much to the story. The narrator is Cat Tilney, one of Katherine's companions in the Duchess of Norfolk's house and later a lady-in-waiting. She's dull in both personality and wits. Coming from a family farm and even admitting that she has seen animals doing it, her naiveté about sexuality is both unbelievable and tiresome. She seems both fascinated with and jealous of Katherine--yet she takes one of Katherin'e cast-off lovers for her own and is stupid enough to assist the queen in her affair with Thomas Culpepper. She didn't get her head chopped off like Katherine--possibly because, according to Dunn's version, she didn't have one.I wish I could say something nice about this book, but it fails in terms of characterization, plot, dialogue, and writing in general.I'm giving this novel 1/2 star (because if I don't give it any, my negative opinion just won't count).
ReviewsbyMolly on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Amazing. Simply amazing. I loved this book. It was a fast read for me, as I became so completely one with the story, that I found it impossible to put down. Suzannah Dunn has the ability to take a fiction novel and pen it a way that is real to the reader. It becomes a fascinating reality to the person holding the book. The characters aren't characters; they are real. The plot isn't a plot; it's actuality. That is, as I said, simply amazing. Katherine's story is vibrant and full of so many emotions. From happiness, to hurt, to anger and love. As a young orphan, Katherine's story is full of ups and downs. She meets her best friend, and finds a love with Francis that she thought would be true, yet she can no longer hold that love true, but has to leave it behind. She becomes Henry VIII's 5th wife, and takes on that new life of being a queen. But, then rumors fly and things happen to cause her concern about her safety and her standing. What will happen if the truth about Francis, her young lover? Will he be executed so she can live? Will the truth be set free through Katherine's friend, Cat? And what of Katherine's it over before it truly begins? This is a story of love, hope, and betrayal. A powerful novel of an era long forgotten. It's filled with mystery, as the rumors fly, it's suspenseful grip on the reader is tight. The research that Suzannah Dunn did in order to create this historical, fascinating and wonderful novel is beyond fantastic. The emotions she set forth in this book, and the actions of not only Katherine Howard, but also in Francis, Henry VIII and Cat, is all consuming. I highly recommend this novel to everyone who loves the era gone by. It's a 4 star novel that will leave you wanting more, and to find out the fact from the fiction, as this novel is written in a way that you will never know the fiction aspects are just that: fiction. If you are new to this kind of novel, then please, don't hesitate to click the link below and buy a copy. Suzannah Dunn's skills are masterful and you will be transported back in time to live out your reading days as a member of Henry VIII's court. Dunn definitely has a new fan in me!
toofacedgrl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I received this book through the Early Reviewers program. I found this book to be brief, but enjoyable. The book recalls Katherine Howard's meteor-like ascent from unimportant niece to the Duke of Norfolk to fifth wife of Henry the VIII through the voice of Cat Tilney, a distant relation and close friend of Katherine.The author takes what is actually known about Katherine Howard and melds them with inventive dialogue and tableau to create a map of her eventual destruction. While it's always believable, the plot and pacing is not compelling--towards the very end you feel like you're rushing towards a foregone conclusion. The dialogue is also anachronistic--I often felt that the conversations between Cat and Katherine (or Kate, as she is referred to in the book) could have been copied from teenage girls of today--but perhaps that makes the story more accessible to readers who aren't normally fans of this type of fiction.I really hoped that Dunn would take the characters of Katherine, Francis Dereham, and Thomas Culpepper in a different direction, but what is delivered is a fun, quick read that's not particularly memorable but it is entertaining. I would hesitate to recommend this to fellow Anglophiles--this book serves as more of an entry to the realm of Tudor-based fiction and I didn't find it satisfying enough for someone who has read a lot of the genre already.
dorolerium on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book presented a somewhat new view of Katherine Howard¿s tale, or at least a view new to me. The entire story is told from the viewpoint of the best friend of Katherine, Cat Tilney, and it¿s a somewhat sympathetic, but maybe more plausible, description of the entire debacle. Granted, the friendship between Katherine and Cat is likely very fabricated, and perhaps I liked it so much because the view presented is more in line with how I¿ve always looked at Kitty myself.The typical tale of Katherine is that she was a relatively simple minded girl who let her heart get the better of her in multiple situations. She¿s always portrayed as very flighty, never putting much thought into anything, and only concerned with her looks and what that¿ll get her. And there¿s definitely some of that in this book, but Cat also represents Kitty as very calculating with her liaisons, and as knowing exactly what she¿s doing the entire time.Katherine goes through much of her girlhood picking out some new boy to receive affection from, those relationships getting more involved as she gets older, but she¿s certainly never the innocent. Cat watches in wonder and horror much of the time, not really understanding what Katherine is thinking. Especially after Kitty becomes queen and embarks on an affair with Thomas Culpeper.Cat really echoes a lot of what I¿ve always thought ¿ when you know what happened to Anne Boleyn, why on earth would you even take the risk? Katherine Howard had a great position for herself: in all likelihood she was going to outlive Henry VIII. She could have been remembered as the adored little queen who entertained the king in his twilight years.Granted, the Howard family had accumulated even more enemies in this time as they had during Anne¿s reign, but isn¿t that all the more reason for caution? While I¿ve always felt that Anne was truly taken down by her enemies rather than her own indiscretions, I¿ve likewise believed that Kitty simply made a bunch of thoughtless mistakes with no mind for the history of her husband. She really should have been doing everything to keep herself above suspicion, and the ladies around her who were older should have done more to watch out for her youthful, naive mind.I quite enjoyed this book, so much that I ordered a couple of other books by this author and hope to read them soon. I loved this alternative look at Katherine¿s life, and I can¿t wait to see if Suzannah Dunn takes the same sort of look at other Queens of England.
SingDaisy18 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Suzannah Dunn has opened a new world into Katherine Howards interesting life. I found the book to be a pleasure to read and certainly knowing how her life ends, the story line kept me wanting to read more. My only particulars about the piece is that i do wish it was more from Katherine's viewpoint that Cat's. I enjoyed Cat as a character, but i would have found it more interesting from Katherine. I also wanted to more of a love story between Cat and Francis, or more of an inside look. I guess its the romantic in me that wanted more, because I think readers would have more of an emotional attachment to both of them, especially with Francis in the end. OVERALL, I enjoyed this piece and believed it to be very well written. I was impressed with the prose, which I honestly have never sat and thought of but I wanted to take the review seriously as I read! Dunn did a great job at transitioning the time frames, when at first I didn't think I would like it. But she did a great job!
schmapp on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was sent as an Early Reviewer copy. It was a good quick read and an interesting look in to the life of Katherine Howard.
tanzanite on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This version of Katherine Howard¿s story is told by one of her close friends, Catherine Tilney. The first person narration makes the title of the book rather misleading since that actually makes it not the confession of Katherine Howard and Henry¿s fifth wife actually ends up more of a background character. The result is a somewhat chatty, middle-school narration which somehow seems a little too modern and ¿gossip girl-ish¿.
khoov00 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love this book & couldn't put it down. Previously I hadn't been interested enough in Katherine Howard to want to read a book about her and kept putting off reading this book. However, I can say that I was wrong. This is a well told story that is interesting all the way through. It really made me want to read more from this author and I think that is the sign of a great book. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in historical novels and even someone who likes the more tame romance novels.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
harstan More than 1 year ago
In childhood, Catherine Tilney and Katherine Howard became best friends when both were wards of the Duchess of Norfolk. They remain close through their teen years as their families ignore them. Katherine falls in love with Francis Dereham. However, King Henry VIII makes the teenager his fifth wife. However, her time as queen is short because of accusations that she had an arrangement with Dereham prior to marrying the king; her best friend, a lady in waiting, is also considered for execution due to guilt by association. The Confession of Katherine Howard is made fresh by Catherine, as the narrator Tilney provides a unique perspective that in many ways turns the exciting story line into her tale as she paints a picture of her friend as being intelligent rather than an inane flirt. In order for Howard to have achieved what she did in a man's world where she was abandoned as a child, she would have needed some smarts. Ironically what beheaded her was her childhood attraction to Francis Dereham, which no evidence supported the contention that this continued as an adult but was used as if it was alive during her marriage to the king. Although the wives of Henry have been featured in many biographical fictions including by Suzannah Dunn (see The Queen of Subtleties, The Sixth Wife and The Queen's Sorrow; and The King's Rose by Alissa Libby), this is a unique look at a woman unfairly judged during her life and since; perhaps Hnetry in his gut knew as he aged rapidly after her beheading. Harriet Klausner