Saturday, December 08, 2012 13:40

Review 103. Alissa M. Libby – The king’s rose.

The King's RoseTitle: The king’s rose.
Author: Alissa M. Libby.
Pages: 297.
Published: March 19th 2009.
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile.
Sort: Stand-alone.
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.
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Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.


  1. You know, I've never watched The Tudors!! I should see what I'm missing >.< I'm not big on historical books but it sounds like an emotional read and I'm glad that you enjoyed it!

    1. The first two seasons are really good! I still have to watch the last one, but I'm re-watching the other seasons first. Jonathan is a great actor :) (and Natalie - plays Anne Boleyn - is also very good)

  2. Historical reads aren't always for me, but I do enjoy learning about the Tudors, especially Henry the 8th. This sounds pretty good overall. Great review, Mel! :)

  3. Great review! I just heard about this book recently because I completed a course in school focusing on the Tudors and I've been looking into reading some more historical fiction set in the period. Definitely think I will enjoy this one. It sounds really interesting!

    1. Oh, that is cool! I never learned anything from The Tudors on school, but I became obsessed with them after the tv show. Thanks for stopping by :)

  4. The Tudor Era is actually one of my favourite times in history to learn about - the politics and courtly intrigue is so fascinating and twisted. This one sounds interesting! I've read a bunch of non-fiction books about Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, however, I don't know much about Catherine Howard so I may give this one a shot. :) Nice review, Mel!

    1. Exactly! That is why I love The Tudors so much. Fascinating history :)

  5. I remember reading this one! I wasn't too fond of it, it was written well but I liked other re-tellings better. Awesome review, I love historical fiction! Thanks for visiting my blog!

    1. I agree. I like the books from Gregory more, but this one was so interesting because I've never read anything about Catherine Howard before. Thanks for returning a visit!

  6. Though I love historical fiction, I haven't been reading it a lot lately. But this one seems interesting! Especially after your reference to The Tudors, which I adore!! Great review :)

  7. Ooo! Historical fiction! This one sounds really interesting. Love how the main characters is the cousin of Anne Boleyn ;) I've only watched one episode of The Tudors but I liked it so I might read this one too!

    Awesome review, Mel ♥ So glad you enjoyed it!

  8. For some reason I never read this kind of book, historical fiction, I mean. But I don't know why, I really feel atracted to this one, maybe because of the cover and the title, I like it!!
    Thank for the review! maybe someday I read it!

  9. I absolutely LOVE The Tudors!! I remember being in grade 5 and crouching in a corner in the school library reading about all the queens of King Henry VIII during recess, haha! You always find such great historical books, Mel!! <3 I agree, Catherine Howard definitely does not get much spotlight out of the six, but I'd love to learn more about her as well! Really great review, and I'm glad you enjoyed her voice, Mel! I've read many books on Mary and Anne, so I'm most definitely going to read this one! Thanks for sharing your lovely review <333


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