The Queen's Governess

The Queen's Governess

by Karen Harper

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780451232069
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 08/02/2011
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Karen Harper is a New York Times– and USA Today–bestselling author whose novels, both historical and contemporary, have been published worldwide. A former college and high school English instructor, Harper now lives in Columbus, Ohio, and Naples, Florida, and frequently travels around the country to promote her books and speak about writing.

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The Queen's Governess 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 51 reviews.
ZQuilts More than 1 year ago
I had anxiously awaited the publication date for this book and was so pleased when it arrived at my door! This book is told through the voice of Elizabeth Tudor's governess, companion and friend, Kat (Katherine) Champernowne Ashley (Astley). The book recounts the story of Kat's life and spans the years 1516-1560; a tour through the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, Lady Jane Grey and Mary Tudor. We follow Kat's story, beginning with Kat as a poor young girl living in the wilds of Devon with a step-mother she hates. We follow Kat as she is first noticed for her with and intelligence by Lord Cromwell - himself and up and coming 'player' in the Tudor Court- and we follow her journey as she rises withing the ranks of the Court. Some people may have heard about the locker ring that Elizabeth I wore until her death in 1603. It had been thought to have been simply a ring until it was removed from her hand and was found to contain portraits or Elizabthe as a toddler and her mother, Anne Boleyn. Common history has it that Elizabeth herself commissioned this ring to be made - but the book take's up another potential story for the ring. What if it had been designed for Anne Boleyn herself? This book fleshes out the story behind Kat, a woman who was pivotal in Tudor history but about whom we know very little. Subplots of intrigue, tragedy, love and redemption are all superbly interwoven in the pages of this delightful book. Karen Harper's research was so well done that this is a thoroughly believable read that I could not put down. I had to give it 5 starts because I could not stop reading it, the history is so well researched and the characters were so real! Karen Harper is also the author of "The First Princess of Wales", "The Last Boleyn" and, "Mistress Shakespeare" among many others. For lots more information go to her website!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading Alison Weir and some other writers of Tudor historical novels, I was disappointed with this book. Ackward flashing forward, abrupt ending, plus a hokey ghost story that suddenly reared it's head. Kate Ashley deserves a better story telling. Wish I had my money back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Terrific book. Well written, factual, and interesting. The ending is abrupt, though. I turned the last page, expecting more, and found the author's note instead. Will read more from this author, though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved the point of view from Elizabeth's constant companion! Kat Ashley deserves more focus in books...Hope to see more on her!
penname96 More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! I have been reading Philippa Gregory's Tudor books and wasn't sure if another author could capture that era the way Philippa did. Well, she did! I loved the story of Kat. Like all Tudor books it helps to know a little history. I am ordering more from Karen today.
Stemline More than 1 year ago
Many historical novels focus on well-known royals, such as Anne Boleyn; this one depicts the woman who was the governess to her daughter, Elizabeth I. Applause to the author for creating a believable character from the skimpy data available about the woman. Fans of the Tudor era will enjoy this.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Katherine Ashley has no hope for her future ever since her mother drowned and her father married Maud. Her stepmother treats Kat with contempt and uses her as a drone nursemaid to her half siblings. Her impoverished slavish life changes when she does something for Thomas Cromwell, advisor to King Henry VIII. He takes her from her father's home, has her educated and sent to the court serving Anne Boleyn, but actually is a spy for him. In 1536 when the Queen is executed, Kat survives becoming governess to Boleyn's daughter, Elizabeth. She remains with the Princess through some hard times and continues to serve when Elizabeth becomes queen. This is an intriguing look at the Tudor sixteenth century reign from the perspective of a servant caught in the middle several times during the rule of King Henry and Queen Mary while serving as s surrogate mother in many ways to Elizabeth before she becomes queen in 1558, over two decades after her mom was executed. Imprisoned twice during plots and counterplots, The Queen's Governess survived family and court intrigue; as Karen Harper provides fans of English royal biographical fiction with a fresh perspective. Harriet Klausner
AnnieMod on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Meet Katherine Ashley (nee Champernowne) - the governess and friend of Queen Elizabeth. And what's a better way to meet and get to know someone than listening to them telling their own story? The novel's narrator is Kat herself and it spans from 1516 (and a single family tragedy) to 1562 (and a national tragedy-that-could-have-been).The novel opens with the beheading of Anne Boleyn but it backtracks almost immediately to 1516 where Kat looses her mother - in a way that leaves more questions than explanations. But as bad this is for the young girl, it also turns out to be part of her luck because when Thomas Cromwell proposes to her a new life away from home (after almost an incidental meeting), she is ready to leave all behind. And the story begins. From the little village in Devon to the mansion of her distant relatives and from there to the Court (and occasionally the Tower) - the novel is following the life of the woman that had always been there for the last Tudor queen.And through the memories of Kat, we see the history of England rolling in - Henry VIII courting Anne Boleyn and trying to dissolve his first marriage, Anne getting the crown, birthing Elizabeth and loosing her head, Edward VI being born and the last 4 of Henry's wives following their fates. But once Anne is dead, Kat sees the Court rarely because she takes care of the little girl that is not a princess anymore. The private life of Kat (and her to-be-husband and then husband John Ashley), the life of Elizabeth, the history of England and even the life of Mary get all tangled together. The few glimpses in the life of Mary Tudor ( as a girl and as a queen) and Edward VI; the continuous story of Elizabeth's life -- all these add to the story. The book ends in 1562 - after the small pox that almost kills Elizabeth... even though Kat lives a few years beyond that.The two things that did not really work for me is the handling of the story with Tom Seymour (it was clear from very early in the book where this one is going and that's Kat's book after all but still... something was really amiss (depending on the historian you read, the historical truth is different and the one here is away from what I believe had happened)) and Robert Dudley. And while the Seymour story can be just accepted as the way the author chose to see the truth, I cannot even start understanding what was the reasoning behind such an unsympathetic portrayal of Dudley. He is coming along as scheming and unscrupulous man whose only goal is to advance himself... and even if that had been the usual way to portray him for a long time, the last decades had the historians review this understanding... And even considering that Kat is writing the book, this is a strange way to portrait him - she had been there, she had been Elizabeth's confidant, she should not be suffering from the later ages misunderstanding of his character...Add to that the fact that Kat comes off a bit too naive at moments, a bit too innocent. But that's her story - that's how she wants to remember it - and as such it is acceptable to bend the truth.Despite these strange choices, the book is really enjoyable and worth reading - and the choice to tell it from the name of Kat herself allows the author to add details and bend the truth a lot (not that a historical novel cannot do it anyway).4 stars for the book and I will be looking at some other of the author's books.
daisygrl09 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very good. Good story about Queen Elizabeth's governess.
Kasthu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Queen¿s Governess is the story of Kat Ashley (nee Champernowne), governess to Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth I. Kat, like the Tudors and Boleyns (and Thomas Cromwell, for that matter), literally came from nowhere, plucked from obscurity by Thomas Cromwell and placed in the household of Anne Boleyn. The Tudor court was full of self-made men and women, and Kat became one of those who fought for her reputation in a place when one¿s position there was uncertain. Kat Ashley became the Princess¿s governess in 1537, eventually becoming one of Elizabeth¿s closest confidants and First Lady of the Bedchamber. The novel opens when Kat is a young girl and meets Thomas Cromwell by fortuitous chance, and closes when Elizabeth becomes Queen.I wanted to like this novel better than I did. Karen Harper certainly knows her period¿the 16th century¿and her dialogue and characters seem mostly authentic (the exception being Thomas Seymour, who comes across as a lot worse than I think he really was, and Kat herelf, which I¿ll explain in a bit). Unfortunately, this didn¿t really translate into a really good story for me. It¿s sort of hard for me to see what the focus of the novel is¿is it Kat, whose life wasn¿t really all that interesting (even her romance with John Ashley is underplayed), or is it the story of Elizabeth, who doesn¿t get all that much on-screen time?Sometimes I felt as though this novel read like a recitation of facts, not fiction based upon facts; and I felt that the novel jumped around a lot in time. Maybe, if the novel had been a bit longer, it might have allowed the author to go more in depth with the plot. Also, I didn¿t really buy the idea that Thomas Cromwell used Kat Ashley as one of his spies¿though, of course, knowing what Cromwell was like, it could very likely have happened as not. The novel portray Kat Ashley as a bit of an innocent, but I believe that she must not have been entirely scrupulous, as it took a certain amount of wiliness to survive in the Tudor court. In comparison with some of Harper¿s other books, I would rate this slightly below Mistress Shakespeare. It¿s not Karen Harper¿s best novel, but as usual, she¿s definitely done her research.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the book not knowing that Kat and John Ashley were real historical figures. Even then, I couldn't put it down. I love English history.
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Suz79 More than 1 year ago
Karen Harper at her best.
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