Author: Alissa M. Libby.
Published: March 19th 2009.
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile.
Life in the court of King Henry VIII is a complex game. When fifteen-year-old Catherine Howard catches the king?s eye, she quickly transforms from pawn to queen. But 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. Will their agendas deliver Catherine to the same fate as her infamous cousin, Anne Boleyn, sacrificed at the altar of family ambition. Engaging historical fiction with a throbbing YA heartbeat, this thrilling novel will draw readers into the intrigues and dangers of the Tudor court.
Catherine Howard, cousin of Anne Boleyn, is just another pawn in the Howard family. They are hungry for power and money – and they will sacrifice everyone in order to gain it. Henry VIII is recently married to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, but she isn’t as pretty as expected. He divorces and he asks Catherine to be his fifth wife. He is now at the age of forty-nine, while Catherine is fifteen years old. She is a beauty, but she is also naive and young. She must give up her old life; which also means her love for Thomas.
Life at court is dangerous. The King has mood swings and Catherine can’t get pregnant. When her past comes into her present, she must do everything to stay in the good graces of the King. But when the rumours are spread and an old lover starts to talk, Catherine starts to fear for her life. So much, that she takes matters into her own hands – a decision that makes things even worse.
I know a lot about Anne of Boleyn, one of the most famous Queens from Henry VIII, but I didn’t know much about Catherine Howard. Based on her character in television show The Tudors, I expected her to be annoying, but I liked her voice. She is still very young, so she doesn’t see that they use her as a poppet. I found her story incredibly sad. She will do anything to keep the King happy, but that also means that she can’t follow her heart.
This story also shows how dangerous Henry is. He gives his love easily, but he takes it away in a whim. When Catherine is locked in the Towers, she ‘sees’ the ghost from Anne Boleyn. I liked how those two stories entwined.
I recommend this book to lovers from The Tudors. It gives a good insight in the short life from Catherine as Queen. While nothing really happens, I was never bored by her voice. It’s rich and detailed. She handled her forced status as Queen in a great way for a fifteen year old girl and my heart ached for her.
I do not know what has happened, but from what I just saw of Henry I can imagine what is true: he has discovered a thorn on his rose. I have shattered the heart of the King of England. God knows what will become of me, now.