Title: The King's Rose
Author: Alisa M. Libby
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Pub Date: March 2009, Penguin Group
Hardcover, 292 pages
Fifteen-year-old Catherine Howard's youth, beauty and noble birth are enough to make her the envy of every woman in Tudor England... and now she has caught the eye of the king.
But life in the court of King Henry VIII is a complex game. Catherine finds herself quickly transformed from a carefree teenager with dreams of romance and riches to queen of England. Even luxury beyond imagination loses its luster as young Catherine finds her life--and her heart--threatened by the needs of an aging king and a family hungry for power. Catherine begins to fear that their agendas will make her a sacrifice on the altar of family ambition, delivering the young queen to the same fat as her infamous cousin, Anne Boleyn.
Engaging historical fiction with a throbbing romantic pulse, Alisa M. Libby's thrilling novel will draw readers into the intrigues and dangers of the Tudor court.
Firstly, many thanks go to Ms. Libby for sending me a copy of her book! I really enjoyed reading it, as you will see...
Well, I imagine that if you had any dreams of being the queen of England, you would likely reconsider them after reading this novel. Libby's breathtaking presentation of Catherine Howard's story certainly gives a revealing account of what it likely would have been like to be a young queen in Tudor England. There is nothing romantic about the life Catherine is forced to lead--she seemed to be merely a puppet of the rest of her family, a pawn in their plan to work the Howards back into the royal family.
Certainly this is a fictional account of Howard's story, but it is vividly told and beautifully written. And there are certain factual events and people that are included, showing that Libby obviously did her research. After the story, she has also included a helpful note about some of the true events depicted in her novel. It truly was a fascinating look into life in the royal court during Henry VIII's reign. It was a life I certainly would not have wanted to live. I appreciated the fact that Libby's account was more sympathetic with Catherine, though I don't imagine we will ever truly know what happened to cause her downfall. All I know is that it seems you could not trust anyone if you were Catherine, and that likely applied to all royalty. Throughout the story I found myself questioning various characters--lords, ladies, members of Catherine's court--and whether or not they could be trusted. Small actions and words frequently seemed suspicious and I felt sorry for the life poor Catherine Howard had to lead.
I would imagine fans of historical fiction and Tudor England would enjoy this book. Not surprisingly, there are many allusions to sex, but there is nothing very graphic. I'm not sure that I would market it as a young adult novel, but it is certainly written that way and has that feel. I thought Catherine's story was beautifully told, engaging throughout, and the pages flew by as I read.
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