Author: Katherine Longshore (USA)
Age group in store: 14+
Briefly, it's about:
Sixteen-year-old Kitty (Katherine) Tylney longs to escape her dreary life as a common maid in the household of the Duchess of Norfolk. Sadly, for Kitty she is the discarded daughter of a minor aristrocratic family, with no real hope of advancement by prosperous marriage or invitation to court. She is also, however, best friends with Cat (Catherine) Howard, who has just been called to court to be a lady-in-waiting to King Henry VIII’s fourth wife. Cat’s charisma and charm quickly win the King’s heart, leading him to crown her as his fifth wife and the newest Queen of England. Kitty is called to court to wait upon her best friend, only to discover that court is not all parties and pleasures like she imagined it; the lies, betrayal, gossip, and connivance threaten to choke her. As time wears on and she feels more and more indebted to Queen Cat, Kitty begins to realize that her choices are not really her own, and the price for freedom might be more than she is willing to wager
I was completely spellbound by this delicious tale of love, seduction, power and betrayal. The luscious setting of King Henry VIII’s court (a time I have ALWAYS been fascinated by) provides a never-ending parade of parties, celebrations, passion and, above all, gossip. The stakes are extremely high and love, lust, and intrigue exist around every corner. This is historical fiction at its most delectable, and also at its most troubling. I was very excited to see an author tackle a time in Henry VIII's reign that is not often described- his whirlwind romance with a woman (teenage girl really) almost 40 years his junior. I can't imagine how trapped Catherine Howard must have felt being a bride to the aging and sickening King at the tender age of 16. As exciting as life at court could be, the choices available to women at that time, even the Queen of England, were extremely slim. Still, there is something so compelling, and so fascinating about life in this turbulent time. I was hooked.
It's perfect for: Fans of Cate of the Lost Colony by Lisa Klein, fans of The Sweet Disorder by Jacqueline Kolosov, fans of Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly (reviewed here), fans of Pirates by Celia Rees, fans of historical fiction, especially based in Tudor England
# of stars: **** 1/2