Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Personal collection
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's 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.
Plaidy's Katherine is looking back on her life retelling all of the events that have led up to her present state of confinement. You even get some little side notes like "if I had only known" or "I would have done that differently". It's refreshing to see someone of that time period recognizing their faults, but I’m not sure that, in reality, Katherine actually realized what was happening. Plaidy makes Katherine likeable, naive, and comes of age very quickly at a time when one needed to fully understand the world around them. I actually enjoyed Katherine in this novel, where as in some other books, she is whiny, overly sexual, and just unlikable.
This was my first Plaidy read and it definitely made me a Plaidy follower. Her characters feel very real and there are so many little details about the world around them that you don’t get sometimes in other books. A wonderful read.
Also by Jean Plaidy:
Jean Plaidy also has written many other historical fiction books under several pen names. The other books in this series include:
Loyal in Love (Book 1)
Queen of this Realm (Book 2)
Victoria Victorious (Book 3)
The Lady in the Tower (Book 4)
The Courts of Love (Book 5)
In the Shadow of the Crown (Book 6)
The Queen's Secret (Book 7)
The Reluctant Queen (Book 8)
The Merry Monarch's Wife (Book 9)
The Queen's Devotion (Book 10)
My other reviews by this author:
Find Jean Plaidy: Royal Intrigue Blog