Katherine Howard. A Tudor Conspiracy.

By Joanna Denny

Printed: 2005

Publisher: Portrait. London

Dimensions 17 × 24 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 17 x 24 x 4

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In the original dustsheet. Cream cloth binding with gilt title on the spine.

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Joanna Denny, author of Anne Boleyn, reveals another sensational episode in Tudor history – illuminating the true character of Katherine Howard, the young girl caught up in a maelstrom of ambition and conspiracy which led to her execution for high treason while still only seventeen years old. Who was Katherine, the beautiful young aristocrat who became a bait to catch a king? Was she simply nave and innocent, a victim of her grasping family’s scheming? Or was she brazen and abandoned, recklessly indulging in dissolute games with lovers in contempt of her royal position? Joanna Denny’s enthralling new book once again plunges the reader into the heart of the ruthless intrigues of the Tudor court – and gives a sympathetic and poignant portrait of a girl tragically trapped and betrayed by her own family.

Review: This is an excellent well rounded book on Katherine Howard. She is often put to one side with Anne of Cleves as the less important of Henry VIII’s wives, but her short life provides very interesting reading. The author sets the scene, both politically in England as a whole and also the situations within the Howard family itself to set the platform for the reader to understand and empathise with later events. I found this book much more objective than the author’s previous book on Anne Boleyn; in this one she gives the views for and against, providing evidence from contemporary documents as to whether Katherine Howard was knowingly guilty of her premarital escapades or whether it was something that she had very little control over. It is still ultimately up to the reader to which side they take. Interesting points are provided as to whether she was in fact sexually abused and why it was not frowned on in her time etc.

There is a lot of information on the court of Henry VIII and his relationship with Thomas Howard, Duke Of Norfolk(Katherine’s uncle), and how this in turn affected the way Katherine was treated.

As always with this era there are 101 plots going on at any one time within the court and the author beautifully presents these in relation to Katherine and how the knife twisted and resulted in her execution rather than just divorce and shame. There are some good amounts of information on the characters of the other women that surrounded Katherine, and their actions…such as Lady Rochford.

A fascinating, enjoyable read!

The Author, Joanna Denny is the author of Anne Boleyn, published by Portrait in April 2004, and reprinted shortly after publication. Her life-long interest in Tudor history was triggered by reading about her ancestor, Sir Henry Denny, Henry VIII’s trusted courtier. She now lives in Falmouth, Cornwall.

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