Author: Katherine Longshore.
Published: February 28th 2013 (first published May 15th 2012)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's.
Sort: Part one of ‘The Royal Circle’
In the court of King Henry VIII, nothing is free--
and love comes at the highest price of all.
When Kitty Tylney's best friend, Catherine Howard, worms her way into King Henry VIII's heart and brings Kitty to court, she's thrust into a world filled with fabulous gowns, sparkling jewels, and elegant parties. No longer stuck in Cat's shadow, Kitty's now caught between two men--the object of her affection and the object of her desire. But court is also full of secrets, lies, and sordid affairs, and as Kitty witnesses Cat's meteoric rise and fall as queen, she must figure out how to keep being a good friend when the price of telling the truth could literally be her head.
I consider myself a big fan of the Tudors era. Most of the historical fiction I read are about the queens and the court of Henry VIII. Last year I’ve read my first book about Catherine Howard: Alisa Libby – The king’s rose. I was surprised by the voice of Cat, but this book is completely the opposite. The Cat we see here is the same as the queen we see in the television show. This made it hard for me to rate this book. While I was intrigued by her and Kitty’s story, I had a hard time to connect to the characters. The writing-style was definitely pleasant and the atmosphere for the treacherous court was nicely done. That is why I settled down to a rating of 3.
This story is told from the POV of Kitty Tylney, best ‘friend’ of Catherine Howard. They live a boring and quiet life in Cat’s grandmothers house. Except for the secret nights were Cat and Francis are having fun, not knowing that this will become Cat’s downfall.
Cat always dreamt of living at court: dancing, flirting and gossiping. Kitty is her shadow and she follows Cat everywhere. That was one of the annoying things and I had a hard time to overlook this aspect of Kitty’s personality. She has no spine. She is obedient and blind when it comes to her ‘friendship’ with the egoistic Cat and that results in many stupid decisions.
When the King marries his new queen – Anne of Cleves – he is looking for new maidens. Cat is one of the lucky girls and she is soon swept away in her new life. Kitty stays behind and as a true whiner, she feels rejected and jealous. But Cat is climbing on her social ladder and she caught the King’s eyes. Soon, she is married with him and she brings Kitty to court. From here on we encounter many facepalm situations.
I can understand that Cat is still a young, naive girl and it’s very clear that she isn’t ready for such an important task, but the thing she does.. She should have known better and Kitty is just as stupid. Instead of seeing the truth (that Cat is a horrible friend who only uses her to feel better) she keeps bowing for Cat’s fits. I wished that she would have grown throughout the book, but her character development is non-existent.
Despite my annoyance for most of the characters, I was hooked to the good writing-style. Longshore has a descriptive, flowy way of writing and it was fun to see the treachery among the court members. I’m definitely excited enough to read part 2, which will be about my favorite Queen from this era: Anne Boleyn.