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The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby

The King's Rose

by Alisa M. Libby

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1961592,451 (3.8)18
Catharine Howard recounts the events in her life that led to her being groomed for marriage at the age of fifteen to King Henry VIII, her failure to produce an heir to the throne, and her quick execution.

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What an amazing book! Alisa Libby breathes life into the sad story of Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII. Even after closing the book I can't stop thinking about the story and about the poetic final paragraphs of the book. A ton of research went into this book and it shows, but not in an awkward way. One of the hardest things about writing historical fiction is incorporating details from your research without making what you're doing obvious and Libby does a great job of this. Those who are fascinated by the gruesome history of King Henry the VIII's reign and the Tower of London (like me!) will not be disappointed. ( )
  akbooks | Sep 12, 2019 |
A little too much in the "adult situations" category for my liking. The period details were well written and it offers a vivid, if saddening, glimpse at life at court as one of Henry VIII's wives. ( )
  ErinMa | Feb 22, 2019 |
Normally I would like to read any type of Historical Fiction-but after reading a few chapters, I got really bored with this book. The same thing can be repeated in this book; "You have to get the king's favor and win the throne, Catherine." but of course, things don't turn out the way they wanted it to-she does win the throne-but she gets beheaded on the way,

I don't particularly like this book, as I said before. The way Catherine was described showed me that she only really cared about Jewels and the throne, and despised the king. I think I've seen some better historical fiction novels, and I hope I will read some soon.

Grade: C+ ( )
  tygers_eye | Sep 14, 2010 |
In “The King’s Rose”, author Alisa M. Libby brings to life the fifth wife of King Henry VIII.

Born into a family that was notorious for using the women of their family as stepping stones to enhance their status at court, young Catherine Howard becomes their pawn in the devious game of court elevation. Allowed to behave in an unscrupulous manner while living in the house of her grandmother the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, Catherine must now burn her past and pretend it never existed. Knowing that the King’s marriage to Anne of Cleves is drawing close to an end, the Howard’s are once again determined to place one of their own back upon the English throne. Placing Catherine in front of the King, they have built her up as a woman of amazing virtue, much like Henry’s much beloved Queen Jane. Catherine soon finds that she has won the heart of the aging King. Concluding that combination of the King’s love, and the power of the Howard’s Catherine allows herself to believe that she would hold more power than any of Henry’s previous Queens, including her cousin Anne Boleyn. The new Queen soon finds herself surrounded by her old life. The girls that Catherine shared her lodgings and her secrets with during her stay with the Dowager Duchess come calling for a position in her Royal household. Allowing them to join her retinue, Catherine knows she must keep them close to avoid her past from coming to light. Unable to rid herself of the past she was told to destroy and unable to provide King Henry with an heir to throne, she is told that she must restart her affaire with her previous lover, Thomas Culpepper. Enlisting the aid of Lady Rochford, Anne Boleyn’s sister-in-law, who was the downfall of Ann, Catherine slips back into her old life. Suddenly Catherine’s fears become reality when a pair of familiar eyes greet her from behind the mask of a devil, she now realizes that her past is alive and raging like an inferno. The Howard’s now have come to the conclusion that Catherine is of no use to them and brings her transgressions to light. No longer is she the King’s rose without a thorn, she has hurt, betrayed, and humiliated the man who has loved her, the man who has the power to destroy those whom he has raised. Catherine finds herself condemned by her lover, Thomas, the man who has sworn to protect her, and betrayed by her family as well as Lady Rochford. Continuously haunted by her cousin Anne Boleyn, she now learns that she will share her fate as well as her final resting place. Anne and Catherine’s fate are now intertwined forever to be known as traitors to the Kings heart.

“The King’s Rose”, is a remarkable story showcasing the short life of Catherine Howard. Told from Catherine’s perspective, “The King’s Rose”, offers a fresh perspective on the life of this young, doomed queen. Alisa M. Libby has provided us with an up-close and personal narrative that truly brings Catherine to life. No detail has been overlooked, every aspect has been thoroughly researched. Alisa M. Libby has a way of writing that captivates the reader. You can feel the inner war that Catherine is constantly wagging within herself.

As a reader of both nonfiction and fiction works pertaining to the Tudors, I found this book to be a very interesting read. I enjoyed the fact that Alisa chose to write about one of Henry’s lesser known queens. I feel that she has given a voice to Catherine, so that her story though it may be fictional is told. One of the parts that will stay embedded in my memory from the book is at the end where Catherine is pleading to the King to show mercy and Henry just passes by without even a nod in her direction. Reading “The King’s Rose” is sure to provoke an endless steam of thoughts and discussions. ( )
  AngelaRenee | Jan 11, 2010 |
Catherine Howard’s story is such a sad one. She was younger when Henry married her than any of his other wives – even Catherine of Aragon who was 24 when the 18 year old Henry married her in 1509, 31 years before he married Catherine Howard. She was perhaps 18 or 19, married to this rapidly deteriorating, quite overweight man of nearly 50 who had a nasty, festering sore on his leg that wouldn’t heal. Anne was used by her family for material gain, but it always seems to me as if she had SOME control over what happened. Catherine seems much more naive, for all of her youthful indiscretions.

Naive certainly describes the Catherine Howard of Alisa M. Libby’s “The King’s Rose.” She never realized all of the drama and intrigue inherent in court life until she was thrust in the middle of it. I really, really liked Libby’s Catherine. Like the Catherine I so admired in Diane Haeger’s “The Queen’s Mistake,” she seemed real, unlike the one-dimensional girl typically depicted. Although she had been manipulated by family and unable to say no when Henry proposed, she still tried to be her own person, all the while following a much more complicated sense of morality than she is usually credited with.

“The King’s Rose” is a young adult novel and I think it hits all of its notes perfectly. Obviously, due to Catherine’s promiscuous youth, the crimes of which she is accused, and her execution it is on the more mature side of young adult literature. The writing was perfect for a young adult novel – quick and engaging, but not dumbing anything down, although Libby did tend to give a bit more background than many novelists but, again, this was done in a way that felt natural and won’t annoy those for whom this is their umpteenth Tudor novel. This definitely had more of a young adult feel than other novels I have read about Henry’s wives, but it completely worked, especially for the young Catherine.

I would definitely recommend this for both teens and adults, anyone who wants Catherine’s view from another perspective or who is looking for an entry point to the history of Henry’s other queens.

(This book was sent to me for review by the author, which had nothing to do with the content of my review) ( )
1 vote DevourerOfBooks | Oct 27, 2009 |
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This book is
dedicated to my mother,
Bernice Vicki Moskowitz,
who likes a bit of romance
with her history.
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The Thames is a messenger of fortune, rippling smoothly against the prow of this barge.
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Average: (3.8)
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