• Paperback: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Paperbacks (April 5, 2011)
The tragic, moving, and gripping story of the ascendance and fall of Katherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, and the best friend she nearly dragged down with her
When twelve-year-old Katherine Howard comes to live in the Duchess of Norfolk’s household she could not be more different than her poor relation, Cat Tilney. Yet, of all their companions, it is Cat, watchful and ambitious, to whom the seemingly frivolous young girl confides. When Katherine is summoned to the royal court at seventeen—to become, months later, the wife of Henry VIII after he casts off his previous queen—she leaves behind an ex-lover, Francis, with whom Cat is soon passionately involved.
But a future that seems assured for the pampered new queen and her maid-in-waiting lasts a brief year and a half, only to be imperiled by improper acts and scandalous allegations of girlhood love affairs. Imprisoned in the Tower and hoping to escape a most terrible fate, a frightened, desperate Katherine relates a version of events that only Cat recognizes as a lie—as more than one life is threatened by what she alone knows to be the truth about Katherine Howard’s past.
I have two of Suzannah Dunn's previous Tudor novels and The Confessions of Katherine Howard is a fitting companion to her previous tales of Henry VIII's beleaguered wives, each fated for a tragic end but none more so than Katherine.
Katherine Howard is often portrayed as naive and none too bright. Dunn's take on her as a girl with star quality, the kind of person who turns heads and instantly stands out is refreshing. She also gives her more intelligence and ambition then she's normally credited with. Oh sure, she is very much a teenager and displays immature behavior but overall, I thought this Katherine was much more aware, as viewed through the eyes of her distant cousin and best friend Cat.
Little is known about Katherine, giving Dunn ample room to create her story, with it's multi-layered love story that's expanded into a triangle of sorts to include Cat and Francis Dereham. I really enjoyed that it's very much the story of Cat and Francis as well as Katherine. Getting to know lesser characters and imagining them as real human beings rather than the cold facts we know about Francis' fate really makes the novel interesting and different.
Overall I thought Confessions of Katherine Howard is good read, fans of the Tudor period will like how a familiar theme is written with a new and refreshing take and those unfamiliar to the era will find it to be an nice introduction. I think it's a an especially good book for readers newly interested in the Tudors. It's a very accessible read; one that can be enjoyed without a great deal of background knowledge.
Suzannah Dunn is the author of ten previous novels, all of which have been critically acclaimed. She has written three historical novels: The Queen of Subtleties, The Sixth Wife and The Queen’s Sorrow.
Visit Suzannah at her website.
This post is part of a TLC Book Tour, to see what other reviewers thought of the book visit some of the previous stops:
Tuesday, April 26th: Books Like Breathing
Wednesday, April 27th: Peeking Between the Pagesand tomorrow the final stop on the book tour will be at Bookworm’s Dinner
A complete listing for this tour can be found on the tour page at TLC Book Tours.
Disclosure: A complimentary reviewer's copy of the title was provided along with press materials & images used in this post. Experiences and opinions related within are personal and unbiased.