Saturday, July 11, 2009

Review: The King's Rose

The King's Rose coverTitle: 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.

My Thoughts

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.

My rating: 4 stars

Other reviews of The King's Rose:

Harmony Book Reviews ~ Peeking Between The Pages
Medieval Bookworm ~ Becky's Book Reviews

If you have reviewed this book and would like to see a link to your site included, please leave me a comment with the link!


  1. I can't wait to read this book and I'm very glad you liked it. Thanks for posting your review!

    ~Briana :D

  2. I just came by your blog in a random "historical fiction" blog search in Google, and I'm glad I did. I've actually heard a lot about it, but must not have put two and two together. I am glad I came- It's really well put together and I like your Blog Improvement Project a lot!

  3. I haven't read much historical fiction, yet this one does interest me. My children have been studying Henry VIII at school and have been telling me a lot about all his wives, so I would like to read this now.

  4. I've heard good things about this one. I haven't read any historical fiction about Henry VIII yet, but I'll keep this one in mind.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  5. Oh I do love the Tudors! Thanks for the review. This has just been added to my TBR, list. :)

  6. This is on my shelf as well.. I have been avoiding it due to the YA genre, as that is so not my thing.. therefore I am glad that you mentioned it not neccessarily being a YA... :)

  7. This book looks really good. I am glad you enjoyed it! I love the cover!

  8. I loved this book! It was nice to hear about the court from a younger point of view as told by Catherine. Thanks for linking my review. I'm going to link yours to mine as well.

  9. I Love Historical Fiction and this one sounds really good!!
    If I can find it, I will definitely try it :)

  10. I was a little surprised that it was marketed as YA also, but I think that it's due to Catherine's youth, not necessarily the themes in the book. Nice review. =)

  11. I just put a request for this! It looks great.

  12. Another friend has just read this one and she really enjoyed it too, so I'm going to borrow it from her!


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