The Rose Without a Thorn: The Wives of Henry VIII

The Rose Without a Thorn: The Wives of Henry VIII

by Jean Plaidy

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Overview

From the pen of legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy comes an unforgettable true story of royalty, passion, and innocence lost.

Born into an impoverished branch of the noble Howard family, young Katherine is plucked from her home to live with her grandmother, the Duchess of Norfolk. The innocent girl quickly learns that her grandmother’s puritanism is not shared by Katherine’s free-spirited cousins, with whom she lives. Beautiful and impressionable, Katherine becomes involved in two ill-fated love affairs before her sixteenth birthday. Like her cousin Anne Boleyn, she leaves her grandmother’s home to become a lady-in-waiting at the court of Henry VIII. The royal palaces are exciting to a young girl from the country, and Katherine finds that her duties there allow her to be near her handsome cousin, Thomas Culpepper, whom she has loved since childhood.

But when Katherine catches the eye of the aging and unhappily married king, she is forced to abandon her plans for a life with Thomas and marry King Henry. Overwhelmed by the change in her fortunes, bewildered and flattered by the adoration of her husband, Katherine is dazzled by the royal life. But her bliss is short-lived as rumors of her wayward past come back to haunt her, and Katherine’s destiny takes another, deadly, turn.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780609810170
Publisher: Crown/Archetype
Publication date: 06/24/2003
Series: A Queens of England Novel Series , #11
Edition description: First Three Rivers Press Edition
Pages: 278
Sales rank: 554,547
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.95(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Jean Plaidy is the pen name of the prolific English author Eleanor Hibbert, also known as Victoria Holt. More than 14 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Plaidy passed away in 1993.

Read an Excerpt

The Scribe

SHE IS YOUNG, BEAUTIFUL and very frightened.

She said to me: "It is coming nearer. I feel it all about me. There will be no way out. It will be as it was with my cousin Anne. Why did I not see it? Tell me."

I answered: "Your Majesty must not distress yourself. The King loves you as he loved none other...not even your cousin."

The long-lashed hazel eyes regarded me intently.

She answered: "He loved her much in the beginning. He defied the Church for her sake. He sent good men to their deaths because of her. And then he ordered her to be killed. The same fate awaits me. I can already see the executioner's axe ready for me."

"There is no need..." I began.

"There is every need," she replied. "I know you love me. I know you speak out of regard for my feelings. You would give me cheer. But it remains, and there is one thing I would ask of you. The desire has come to me to set it all down, to see it all in clarity, just as it happened. Mayhap it could have been different. I could have been happy with Thomas. He is waiting for me...even now. If I had never gone to Court...if only the King had never looked my way...if only I could go back to the time when it had all begun. No, right to the beginning, those first days—that day when I left my father's home at Lambeth, before I went to my grandmother in Horsham...yes, right to the very beginning, mayhap I could then discover where I might have saved myself. But I am not good with the pen. I was never tutored as I should have been."

"Your Majesty would indeed find such writing an arduous task."

"Yes. And you are my good friend. That is why I ask you to help me in this."

"I? How so?"

"You are a good scribe. It would be an easy task for you. I have a conviction that there will be some time for us to be together in the weeks to come. It will turn my thoughts from what awaits me. I shall tell you how it happened—scene by scene—and you shall write it down as it should be written, for you will know well how to do that. Then you will read to me what I have said, and I shall say, 'Yes, that was how it was.' And I shall say to myself, 'This I...or that...is the way I should have gone.'"

"I think Your Majesty will tire of this ere long."

She shook her head. "I shall not tire, my good friend, for I want so much to see it as it was. Mayhap Thomas will see it. It will help him to understand that, whatever happened before, he was the one I loved."

Her lips trembled and she hesitated for a while before she said with emotion: "And I shall do so as long as there is breath in my body."

I bowed my head and said: "I shall be ready to start as soon as Your Majesty commands."

The Duchess Calls

I SEE NOW THAT IT BEGAN when I went to my grandmother's house in Horsham. That was a long time ago but, without doubt, that was the move which set me on the path which led me to where I stand today. There was nothing I could have done about it. I was a child and such decisions were not made by me. If I had possessed a different nature, if I had not been so ready to love and trust, I might have been wise enough to avoid the pitfalls; but we are as God made us, and what was irresistible temptation to me could have been thrust aside with ease by some. The road is laid before us and we must pass along it, and, through ourselves, come to salvation—or damnation.

Before that significant event, my carefree days were passed in the midst of my large family. There were eight of us children. I was the fifth in order of age, having three brothers and one sister older than myself, and, in time, three sisters younger.

Looking back, it seems that those days were made up of unalloyed pleasure. The fact that we were very poor did not worry us. We lived in a once-grand house in Lambeth, by the river, and our overgrown garden ran down to the water's edge.

What did we care that the house was in need of repair, that there were not enough servants to look after us, and that those who were there were either faithful retainers or stayed because they needed a roof over their heads? Our clothes were torn or patched. Indeed, it was often difficult to know which was patch and which original garment.

Sometimes there was not enough food to go round and we had to eat sparingly. We had no tutors, no governesses. We ran wild and we were free. We played our games: often hide-and-seek which was played in an ancient house, fast falling into ruin, and was very exciting; we danced and sang, which I particularly enjoyed; and we were very happy.

The family fortunes had declined with the coming of the Tudors. My great-grandfather, the first Duke of Norfolk in the Howard family, had supported Richard III and had died with the King on the field of Bosworth. The inevitable outcome was that, when Henry VII came to the throne, he confiscated the family's estates and titles.

However, my grandfather distinguished himself at Flodden Field, where he secured a great victory over the Scots, and his titles and estates were then restored to him by Henry VIII.

My father also fought in the battle at Flodden and, as a reward for his share in the victory, he was awarded the Controllership of Calais. This helped to relieve his poverty to some extent, but he needed more than his remuneration for this post to keep his family and to settle the enormous debts he had accumulated.

He was away from home often, which was a blessing, for it helped him to escape from the creditors who were constantly pursuing him.

So we remained poor but happy. Perhaps it was my nature to be happy. I know I was during those years when I was rushing toward disaster. I certainly had hours of great pleasure, and that is surely happiness. It is one of the reasons why I find it so hard to face this terrible fate which has come upon me.

In those days, I saw little of my father, for he was often in Calais. My mother sometimes accompanied him; and when she was home, she seemed either about to have a child or had just had one. She was loving and kind when I did see her, but I think she found the hardships she had to endure in the Lambeth house not to her liking; and I guessed this was due to the fact that it was very different to the house in which she had been brought up. She was the daughter of Sir Richard Culpepper of Hollingbourne in Kent. There were occasions when some members of her father's household traveled to London, and naturally they must visit us, and I knew then that my mother was ashamed of the squalor in which we lived.

I remember one occasion very well because, with the visitors from Hollingbourne, came Thomas Culpepper. He was a sort of cousin, a little older than I. I thought him wondrously handsome in a rather angelic way. He had the clear features portrayed in a Greek sculpture and such graceful manners. I knew at once that he came from a well-ordered home, quite different from ours: perhaps that was why he seemed to enjoy our free-and-easy manners so much.

We played games. Hide-and-seek was a favorite for, as I said, the large, untidy house and the neglected gardens provided wonderful places in which to hide.

Thomas and I went off to hide together. I showed him the shrubbery, which was especially overgrown, even compared with the rest of the place, and we had to force our way through the shrubs.

"Why do your gardeners not take better care of it?" asked Thomas.

"Nobody looks after anything here," I replied. "We are too poor to pay for it."

Thomas looked at me in dismay and, seeing a fallen tree-trunk, I sat down on it, and prepared to enjoy the company of my exciting young kinsman.

I said: "This is as good a place as any to hide. We should hear anyone approaching." And I signed to him to sit beside me.

"I thought the Howards were a very important family," he said. "The Duke of Norfolk is at Court and close to the King."

"That does not mean we are not poor. You can see that, can you not?"

"I can indeed," said Thomas.

"I heard one of the serving men say some beggars in the streets have more than we have."

"Poor Katherine," he said. "And you are so pretty."

That pleased me, and I wanted more compliments. I looked down at my dress, and I said: "My dress is threadbare. Soon it will be impossible to patch it. All our clothes are patched, and they say that my father goes to Calais to escape his creditors."

"It's a shame," replied Thomas. "So your father goes away...and your mother?"

"There are times when she goes with him."

"I know that she is too ill to go now."

"Yes, she stays in her chamber most of the time."

"It is the reason for our being here. They thought we should come to see her before we had word summoning us."

I must have looked bewildered, for he turned to me and, putting his hands on my shoulders, looked intently at me.

"Yes," he said, "you are very pretty, Katherine Howard."

Then suddenly he kissed me.

I was very pleased, so I returned his kiss.

My sister Margaret said that I showed affection too readily. It was not the way in which a Howard should behave. I did not agree with Margaret. What was wrong with showing people that you liked them, if you did? For one thing, they usually liked you in return, which was surely good.

Thomas looked somewhat embarrassed and drew away from me.

"Do you think we shall be found here?" he asked.

"It is not easy to find people in the gardens."

I wanted to know more about him, so I went on: "My brothers are always talking about going to Court. Do you want to go to Court?"

"I think I shall go," he answered. "They are trying to find a place for me, but it is not easy."

"You would see the King."

"That would be most exciting...particularly now."

"Why now?"

"There is all this talk about the 'secret matter'!"

"Tell me about it," I said, nestling up to him.

"It is said the King wants to divorce the Queen."

"Divorce her?"

"Yes. Send her back to Spain so that he can marry the Lady Anne Boleyn."

"Why doesn't he?"

"The Church won't let him."

"I thought the King could do anything he wanted to."

"That is what he reminds them. The Cardinal is involved. They say it augurs no good for him. There are such comings and goings. It must be very exciting to be there."

"Tell me all about it."

He smiled at me and I thought he was going to kiss me again. I waited, smiling and hopeful. But his mood seemed to change suddenly.

He stood up. He said: "Come. They must have given us up by now." And though I must have shown my disappointment, he was determined. He started to run.

"I'll race you to the house," he said.

A few days later, he left with his family; and it was shortly after that when my mother died.

We were a house of mourning. My father came home from Calais and stayed for a long time. Life did not change very much. I was sure my father deplored the fact that his children did not live as gentlefolk should, but there was nothing he could do about it and he was still in fear that those from whom he had borrowed money would descend upon him, demanding payment.

Then he married again. Her name was Dorothy Troyes and it may be she brought him some dowry, but we still continued to live as before. The new wife must have tried to bring a little order into the establishment, but, with so many children and the house in such ill repair, she found it a hopeless task.

However, change was about to come for me.

My grandfather, the second Duke of Norfolk and hero of Flodden, had died some time before but that had made no difference to our financial position. He had had eight sons by his first wife, and three by his second, one of whom was my father, and there were also daughters, so very little came my father's way.

Then one day the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, my grandmother, decided to visit her son, probably to inspect the new wife.

There were some rather futile attempts to clean up the place for the Duchess's arrival, accompanied by an unusual amount of activity in the kitchens. We children watched from a hidden vantage-point, overawed by the coming of this very important lady.

She sat in state in the hall, which had once been magnificent, with its vaulted ceiling and the weapons hanging on the walls. I noticed with certain relief that she was sitting on one of the few chairs which were not broken in any way. It had an engraved back, and arms on either side. She looked very regal.

She inspected all the children who stood before her, inarticulate and fearful lest we should give the wrong answers when she addressed us. Her eyes lingered on me and I was greatly alarmed, fearing there must be something particularly wrong with me which had displeased her. Therefore it was with trepidation that I later received a summons to appear before her in the hall.

My father was with her, and he smiled at me encouragingly. He had always a kindly smile for us whenever he saw us, but I never failed to feel that he was rather vague about us. He knew we were his children, but I doubted whether he could put a name to most of us.

Now he said: "Katherine, Her Grace would speak with you."

I curtsied in her direction and waited with apprehension.

"Come here, child," she commanded.

I approached. Although aging, she was quite handsome, and clearly took pains with her appearance, for she was most elegantly dressed. There were several rings on her fingers, and she was holding a stick, the handle of which was set with stones which looked like emeralds.

"Come closer," she said.

I obeyed and she went on: "H'm. Pretty child. And knows it, I doubt not. Do you, child?"

I did not know what to say to that, so said nothing.

"Do you? Do you?" she went on with a hoarse chuckle.

"Yes, Your Grace," I answered meekly.

That made her laugh. "Truthful, eh? That is good. But what a state you live in, Edmund. No way to bring up children. I hope the child remembers she's a Howard. Do you?" she demanded of me.

"Yes, Your Grace," I said again.

"Come closer."

I obeyed.

Reading Group Guide

In the court of Henry VIII, no woman is beyond the King’s notice, and no queen is beyond his wrath. In the span of just seven years, Queen Catherine of Aragon is discarded in boredom; Queen Anne Boleyn is beheaded on trumped-up charges of infidelity; Queen Jane Seymour has the good fortune to die from childbirth just as the King begins to lose interest in her; and Queen Anne of Cleves is rejected for being ugly. It’s beginning to seem that the sovereign is incorrigible in matters of the heart. But when a self-proclaimed charming bimbo with no wealth, no gift for conversation, and no head for the intricacies of politics strikes the King’s fancy, her family will do backflips to grease the works toward a fifth royal wedding, despite the King’s track record. With a pretty singing voice and a penchant for giggling, Katherine Howard unwittingly woos the most powerful man in England, and suddenly finds herself in a position both glamorous and deadly. For Katherine’s past is speckled with improprieties, and the court is full of schemers who could ruin her with a whispered secret. In The Rose Without a Thorn, Jean Plaidy, the grande dame of historical fiction, weaves a spellbinding story of how a king’s affection for a young girl turns from a fairy-tale-come-true, to a bitter chokehold that will kill her.

In Katherine Howard’s fresh, unforgettable voice, The Rose Without a Thorn explores the frantic posturing and jostling for power that defines sixteenth century life in the English court and the subtle series of events that leads to Katherine’s demise. Her fall from naï veté is sudden and shocking. After a childhood of poverty and blissful ignorance in a ramshackle house full of children, her transformation to lady-in-waiting—and her subsequent initiation into the carefree joys of sex—seems effortless and entertaining. Katherine is suited for love, and moves easily from one passionate paramour to the next, with no inkling that her actions could threaten her reputation. But when a chance encounter endears her to King Henry VIII, it becomes clear that her destiny is not her own. Between the brash politicking of her ruthless uncle and the magnetism of her own gentle personality, Katherine is caught in an inescapable relationship with His Majesty that will force her to forsake the one man she truly loves. She must play a role, and play it well, or she and her entire family will face destruction. But Katherine’s past catches up with her before she learns the rules of the game, and no amount of love or loyalty will conjure the mercy she needs to stay alive. In elegant, spare prose, Jean Plaidy takes a fascinating look at one woman’s brief but dazzling fame.

1. Who is the scribe? What is the significance of these bookends to the novel? Why does Katherine want her tale put down in writing?

2. In her statement, “The road is laid before us and we must pass along it, and, through ourselves, come to salvation—or damnation,” Katherine seems to suggest that our fate is decided for us, but that our reactions to that fate determine our ultimate reward. Where in the novel do you see a tension between fate and personal determination? How much free will does Katherine actually have in her situation? Does she exercise it?

3. What series of events does Katherine’s mother’s death set in motion that leads to Katherine being moved to Horsham? If her mother had stayed alive, what do you think would have happened to Katherine?

4. When Katherine joins the household at Horsham, she becomes the butt of constant jokes about the Howard family, and the fact that the Duchess puts on airs about the family name. Why doesn’t Katherine mind their teasing? Why does she put up with her manipulative, sometimes even cruel new friends, like Isabel? Is she desperate to fit in, or is she just an idiot?

5. Why do things begin to unravel for Katherine’s cousin Anne? What event brings on her miscarriage? How does Henry manage to drum up an adultery charge against her? What immediate effect do these events have on the Howard family? Why does Uncle Norfolk join those who condemn Anne?

6. Katherine describes her aunt this way: “The Duchess was a lady who would make herself believe what she wanted to—particularly if the alternative was too unpleasant to contemplate.” Which other characters in the novel use this coping mechanism? Does it serve them well or ill?

7. Katherine describes gloom in the Howard house after Henry announces his betrothal to Anne of Cleves: “Anne of Cleves, with her Protestant upbringing, was certainly not what the Howards were looking for.” How much does Katherine understand of the religious/political nuances and implications surrounding Henry’s decisions? How does Plaidy convey these to her readers even when her narrator doesn’t understand them?

8. What is Thomas Cromwell’s dire mistake regarding Anne of Cleves, and what is the reaction of his colleagues? What stand does Katherine take in this issue? What role does the Duke of Norfolk play in Cromwell’s demise? Does Katherine absorb any new information after watching this unfold?

9. By their third flirtatious visit, Katherine describes herself as “completely disarmed” by the king’s playfulness. Even when he bruises her, she says, “I giggled inwardly, asking myself if it were an honour to be bruised by the King.” Is she truly clueless as to what’s going on? What is her first hint that Henry is volatile, even with her?

10. What does Katherine call the “one sphere in which I was not ignorant.” Is it useful to her?

11. Why does Joan Bulmer’s letter spook Katherine? What does Joan want? How does Katherine talk herself out of seeing the letter as a warning signal?

12. Who sends word to King Francis of France about the mess Katherine finds herself in? Why? What would have been different if this step had not been taken?

13. Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury, visits Katherine in the Tower and offers her a possible stay of execution. What are the terms of his offer? Why does she refuse this opportunity? If she had accepted Cranmer’s offer, do you think Henry would have taken her back? Why or why not?

14. After the Duchess discovers Katherine rolling on the floor with Derham, Katherine stoically observes, “People often vented their rage on those who were the victims of their neglect because they were in truth blaming themselves.” In what ways does Katherine suspect her aunt blames herself? Where else in the novel do you recognize the theme of blaming the victim?

15. How does public opinion change as a result of Katherine’s death?

16. Concerning Catherine Parr, Henry’s sixth wife, the scribe closes with: “It was not a case of choosing, but being chosen.” Is it fair to call this the theme of the novel?

Introduction

In the court of Henry VIII, no woman is beyond the King’s notice, and no queen is beyond his wrath. In the span of just seven years, Queen Catherine of Aragon is discarded in boredom; Queen Anne Boleyn is beheaded on trumped-up charges of infidelity; Queen Jane Seymour has the good fortune to die from childbirth just as the King begins to lose interest in her; and Queen Anne of Cleves is rejected for being ugly. It’s beginning to seem that the sovereign is incorrigible in matters of the heart. But when a self-proclaimed charming bimbo with no wealth, no gift for conversation, and no head for the intricacies of politics strikes the King’s fancy, her family will do backflips to grease the works toward a fifth royal wedding, despite the King’s track record. With a pretty singing voice and a penchant for giggling, Katherine Howard unwittingly woos the most powerful man in England, and suddenly finds herself in a position both glamorous and deadly. For Katherine’s past is speckled with improprieties, and the court is full of schemers who could ruin her with a whispered secret. In The Rose Without a Thorn, Jean Plaidy, the grande dame of historical fiction, weaves a spellbinding story of how a king’s affection for a young girl turns from a fairy-tale-come-true, to a bitter chokehold that will kill her.

In Katherine Howard’s fresh, unforgettable voice, The Rose Without a Thorn explores the frantic posturing and jostling for power that defines sixteenth century life in the English court and the subtle series of events that leads to Katherine’s demise. Her fall from naï veté is sudden and shocking. After achildhood of poverty and blissful ignorance in a ramshackle house full of children, her transformation to lady-in-waiting—and her subsequent initiation into the carefree joys of sex—seems effortless and entertaining. Katherine is suited for love, and moves easily from one passionate paramour to the next, with no inkling that her actions could threaten her reputation. But when a chance encounter endears her to King Henry VIII, it becomes clear that her destiny is not her own. Between the brash politicking of her ruthless uncle and the magnetism of her own gentle personality, Katherine is caught in an inescapable relationship with His Majesty that will force her to forsake the one man she truly loves. She must play a role, and play it well, or she and her entire family will face destruction. But Katherine’s past catches up with her before she learns the rules of the game, and no amount of love or loyalty will conjure the mercy she needs to stay alive. In elegant, spare prose, Jean Plaidy takes a fascinating look at one woman’s brief but dazzling fame.

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The Rose Without a Thorn: The Wives of Henry VIII 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 27 reviews.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"Rose without a thorn" is what Henry VIII called his fifth wife, Katherine Howard, a callow teen when he married her. The prologue already begins with her in the Tower and sure she's about to suffer the fate of her cousin and predecessor, Anne Boleyn, who was beheaded by Henry. Katherine asks a woman with her to set down her story so she can better understand what led her to this point--the conceit of the novel that what follows is the story of her life as told to this lady. Katherine comes across as a ninny. That might be true to history, the Reader's Guide at the end of the book calls Katherine a "bimbo," but it doesn't make for an engaging first person narrator. Moreover, what the Reader's Guide calls Plaidy's "spare" style to me seems far too bare bones. We're told a lot here, a lot that happens off the stage. I never really feel as if I'm looking through Katherine's eyes or getting inside her head and the dialogue is forgettable. (And repetitive--if only I had a dollar for all the times Katherine was described as having "the Howard look.") It all seems a rather dry history lesson. Katherine is presented as having her first carnal relationship at 11-years-old. Plaidy is vague as to how far it went, but has Katherine talk of having "abandoned myself to Manox," her music teacher. I know back in the 16th Century they married very, very young--even before puberty, and people thought of children as miniature adults, but this case of child molestation (at the least) is presented so matter-of-factly, so lightly. No fear. No guilt. Katherine feels little throughout the novel and as a result I care little. And I feel that's rather unfair to the historical Katherine Howard. I have a friend whose opinions I respect who loves Plaidy--or at least loved her in her teens. I admit I found her bland when I first read her novels in my own teens, and this novel did nothing to change my mind.
Tamara Valdez 17 days ago
It was just okay
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not the best I have ever read. The author tends to drag the story along in some places. Just tell it and get on with the next chapter already.
ejgrogan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not to be missed! Highly recommended.
Leser on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Catherine is silly, witless and stupid. But she is innocent though sexually aware. She became the pawn of her ambitious family patriarch and was rushed in to the queenship before she finished a song. The first person narration is an excellent vehicle for understanding her, and the denouement as she is inexorably taken to the block is heart searing.
LucyB. on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel of Katherine Howard, the fifth of Henry VIII¿s six wives, was a very enjoyable and clarifying historical read. To begin with, let¿s agree that Katherine was never given a fair chance in comparison to the King¿s other wives. Katherine was not as extravagant, well-known, or amazingly beautiful as some of the more renowned ones were. She was extremely young to be a bride; a child in fact. So, this in itself puts her in a category of her own.The author brilliantly exposes this fact by writing in the first person, so that we are never to forget the fact that she was merely a child. Reading it from this point of view makes the history so much more understandable. It is difficult to be judgmental towards Katherine in any way when you read the story through her perspective.Katherine Howard¿s life is pretty simple up until she moves into the Royal Court; where, she is ultimately set-up for her demise. The events in her life unfold like a cruel domino effect, led by the deceptions and scheming of others leading Katherine to her tragic end. Her innocence, kindness, curiosity, and acts without malice, rendered her character simply endearing. Plaidy captures the essence of this Child-Belle enraptured in a world of delusion, schemes and intrigues. The game was too quick and too fierce for her to endure. Inevitably, this young girl¿s innocent and hopeful nature could never survive in the vulturous world of Henry VIII.The Rose Without a Thorn is a quick read that moves you from one scene to the next in smooth and inviting transition. The passages are moving and although I often felt exasperated by some of Katherine¿s decisions and motives, I felt I understood this character precisely because of her circumstances. The build up to the tragedy is difficult and ultimately heartbreaking. Excellent read.
lunacat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Katherine Howard was eighteen when she married King Henry VIII and twenty when she was executed for adultery and treason. In historical terms, she lends little to history besides being yet another wife, a tragic young figure who was married to a man over twice her age, and whose attentions strayed to a much younger man. She paid for it with her life.This Plaidy novel adds a lovely, realistic and human element to Katherine's story. She is uneducated in the ways and politics of court life, simple in her tastes and upbringing and desperately naive in love; because of this, it is easy to see how her death came about through no fault or duplicity from her.As always with Jean Plaidy, every word and description feels utterly real and true to character. I skipped through the world, all the time feeling desperately sorry for the young Katherine and sad that she didn't take the get-out clause that she was offered at the ending of her marriage.Another historical fiction classic, highly enjoyable and easy to read.From page 4:So we remained poor but happy. Perhaps it was my nature to be happy. I know I was during those years when I was rushing towards disaster. I certainly had hours of great pleasure, and that is surely happiness. It is one of the reasons why I find it so hard to face this terrible fate which has come upon me.
fglass on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
True story of Henry VIII's passions, Katherine Howard's lost innocence, and life during the times of Tudor royalty.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From the start, Catherine Howard didn't stand a chance of survival in Henry VIII's snake pit of a court.Unlike Catherine of Aragon, she lacked depth of spirtual quality; unlike her clever, quick-witted cousin Anne Bolyen, she lacked savvy; unlike Jane Seymour, she lacked grace; unlike Anne of Cleves, she lacked the ability to sit quietly and learn the strange customs of a court filled with political intrigue and danger.A mere child when she arrived at her grandmother's lax household, she blindly followed the elder, more seasoned ladies. Nightly romps and touching games with men excited Catherine, and soon she was a part of the revelry.Sent to court as a lady in waiting for Anne of Cleves, Catherine was a silly, dim-witted young fawn. Possessing a seasoned sexual beguilement, she soon came to the attention of Henry.Quickly, she became the fifth wife of Henry VIII. Like many men in mid life crisis, Henry was obsessed by the promise of youth that she brought to him. Quickly, he learned she was not the rose without a thorn.When inviting handsome Thomas Culpepper to her bed, she was too obtuse to realize the danger in her hedonism. Too young, naive and silly, she soon lost her life.As the crowd cheered, her head was placed on the block and severed from her body and from Henry.Should we pity poor Catherine? I think not. What a silly little fool to think that there was no price for her actions.
witchyrichy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The story of Katherine Howard is somewhat thin as the wives go and this book really played on her innocence. It was a brutal, political time when old women were executed.
TahnecRose More than 1 year ago
I read this book, and found it exceptional. I loved the character, and find her to be my favorite of the wives! A good read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How about we name the kit you found Thornkit?
amydague More than 1 year ago
I adore royal historical fiction and have worked my way through many of the acclaimed authors out there. Jean Plaidy was recommended to me, so I bought this book. This book reads like a quickly slopped-together semi-biography. The characters are completely devoid of life. There is very little detail provided and situations seem almost rushed. I simply can't believe Plaidy has sold as many books as she has, although it's now quite clear how she managed to write so many. Save your $10 and buy an interesting book...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
miss_dobie More than 1 year ago
Any of the Plaidy books having to do with the British Royalty is very, very highly recommended! She brings the characters to life and puts you right into the middle of all the action. You will cry, laugh, gasp and go through a whole range of emotions during her page-turners. Hey, just do it. You won't be sorry and you will be all the wiser in the end.
pagese More than 1 year ago
I read quite a few of the books by Jean Plaidy in the Queen's of England series when I was younger. They're hard to come by since they are out of print. I decided to collect the rest (still missing one) and catch up on my royal reading. I'm hoping my feelings for this book have more to do with the fact that I've read a better one about Katherine Howard than I may no longer like the writing style. It started out fine, although I was a little disgusted by the way Katherine was allowed to behave when she moves to her grandmother's house. I would think a Duchess of the court would have better sense of what was going on in her household. But, history seems to have proven otherwise. I also felt that the author made Katherine seem much more simple than she really was. But, maybe her families ambitions were just way outside of her knowledge. The book also lacked the terror that must have been going through the young queen's mind towards the end of her life. What a tragic ending for a young women who had almost no hope from the start. I would recommend reading The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger over this one.
MBOLEY More than 1 year ago
This is such an exciting time in English history. Always loved reading the Tudor dynasty sagas! Poor Catherine Howard! Well worth taking the time to read all of Jean Plaidy's books in this series. Now I am on to on to the Stuarts of Scotland!
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I had an opinion of Plaidy's writing, but this has definetly changed it. I had read one book by her that was absolutely horrible, but since then I've read two more and they are written so well!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Although Kathrine Howard was always seen as an adultress or a temptress, Ms. Plaidy seems to justify all her actions. You sympathise with Kathrine and you can really feel helpless for her.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I found this book very interesting. Katherine Howard is a very interesting character and is often neglected in this genre. I was very sympathetic to her and intrigued by her story.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of Jean Plaidy's work, but frankly I was disappointed with this novel. It seems 'rushed' and the author does not fully develop the setting. A good, but not great read.