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The Queen's Mistake

by Diane Haeger

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1569128,282 (3.49)18
As the fifth queen of Henry VIII, Catherine Howard was unprepared for what awaited her . . . When the young and beautiful Catherine Howard becomes the fifth wife of the fifty-year-old King Henry VIII, she seems to be on top of the world. Yet her reign is destined to be brief and heartbreaking, as she is forced to do battle with enemies far more powerful and calculating than she could have ever anticipated in a court where one wrong move could mean her undoing. Wanting only love, Catherine is compelled to deny her heart's desire in favor of her family's ambition. But in so doing, she unwittingly gives those who sought to bring her down a most effective weapon- her own romantic past. The Queen's Mistakeis the tragic tale of one passionate and idealistic woman who struggles to negotiate the intrigue of the court and the yearnings of her heart. Praise for the The Secret Bride'Haeger delivers complexities of court and duty plausibly and with aplomb. Publishers Weekly'An enjoyable, well-written book about one of history's true love stories.' Romantic Reviews Today… (more)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
3.5 stars

Catherine Howard was Henry VIII’s fifth wife; she was also Anne Boleyn’s cousin. Catherine was not even 20 years old yet when she married Henry and Henry was almost 50. Although Henry didn’t know it, Catherine had a bit of a reputation for being promiscuous. When Henry found out, after they had been married for a short time, things did not end well for Catherine.

I have read a little bit about Catherine, but not as much as some of Henry’s other wives. This book didn’t change my opinion of her. I’m not a fan of Catherine herself, although the story was good. ( )
  LibraryCin | Dec 10, 2017 |
This was an easy & entertaining read.

I do not know how accurate it is...but it seemed to follow other books I've read about Catherine Howard rather closely.

Sad she was a dupe for such vile opportunism & placement in Henry VIII's court.

Honestly how could anyone think that a young woman would be happy to be the prize of a sociopathic, obese, stinking old man...king or not! Grotty! ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
It took a long time to read this book, which is an indicator that it fell flat and did not hold my interest. Basically, the "Queen's Mistake" is that she was a silly, young girl with very little social skills or knowledge of appropriate behavior.

The court of Henry VIII was particularly cut throat. Known for his mercurial mood swings, he killed advisers like cutting wheat from a field -- suddenly and swift.

The Howard family previously placed Anne Boleyn in Henry's vision and used her as a means to gain favor with Henry. When Anne was beheaded, a political match was in place with Anne of Cleves. A disastrous pairing. When pretty little Katherine arrived at court, she also was used as a pawn to sooth the terrible demise of Anne Boleyn and to once again gain the king's good graces.

Katherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, came to court as a lady in waiting for Anne. Her early years spent in the house of her grandmother did not groom her for a life of political intrigue. Catching the eye of obese Henry, all too soon she was swept into the vortex of Anne of Cleves downfall and her swift leaving of court for a life as the King's "good sister." And, suddenly, she replaced wife number four.

Pretty and promiscuous, Katherine had bedded others before Henry. When her cheating with Thomas Culpepper while married to the King was discovered, her life ended the same way as her cousin. She was beheaded. ( )
  Whisper1 | Nov 24, 2014 |
This book is one in the author’s ‘In The Court of King Henry VIII’ series. I saw this book in the library and was drawn to the cover, since I enjoy reading about historical English royalty. However, this was a real disappointment. After several days of trying, I simply could not finish the book. One of the things that really bothered my was the way Catherine was portrayed as sexually precocious at a very young age, by design. As this story is told, her grandmother and uncle felt sexual training was part of her preparation as the future queen they intended her to be. But in addition to that, the book was just not that interesting. I thought about struggling through to the end, and then realized that there are so many other books on my list waiting to be read, some of which cover this same period in history. And I felt giving the time to this book meant putting aside a book I really might enjoy.

I know some people think it is unfair to read a book when you haven’t finished it, but my take is...
If you found a book so uninteresting that you could not read it, I would like to know that BEFORE I waste my time on it. Now clearly, if you look at the Goodreads ratings, you will see I am in the minority, so read some other reviews before you cross this off you list. You may actually enjoy this one.

Why did you choose this book? The cover caught my eye
When did you read this book? August 2011
Who should read this book? readers of historical fiction who are willing to take a chance
Source: library ( )
  Time2Read2 | Mar 31, 2013 |
There are so many Tudor fiction novels out there these days it's becoming ridiculous. I wouldn't be surprised if, when an author pitches a new book or series to a publisher, they just say it's a Tudor romance and the publisher pulls out their checkbook. Yeah, the market is that flooded with material from the period and well, it's not all good material.

I wasn't sure about Diane Haeger, for example, after I read The Secret Bride, her first novel in the "In the Court of Henry VIII," I was incredibly disappointed. It was my first Haeger novel, and I found it rather blah. She was pulling from such wonderful material, but it just turned out average. I thought it was the end of my relationship with Haeger and her version of Tudor England, but I found The Queen's Mistake, follow up to The Secret Bride, at my local used book store recently. It was at a unbelievably good price, so I decided to pick it.

Much better than The Secret Bride, The Queen's Mistake is a fascinating look at the life of Henry's fifth and youngest wife, Catherine Howard. The story opens in Catherine's younger years, when she lives at the home of her grandmother the dowager duchess, where she lives virtually without adult supervision. She falls in with the music master and the dashing Francis Dereham, until her grandmother and uncle Duke of Norfolk get word that the king is dissatisfied with wife number four, the German Anne of Cleves. Much like her cousin Anne Boleyn, Norfolk and the duchess decide to use the flirtatious and somewhat loose Catherine to elevate the family. Catherine is taken to court and installed as one of Queen Anne's ladies, where she befriends Lady Rochford, George Boleyn's widow. It isn't long until she captures the eye of the king, and Catherine uses her skills of seduction to win the position of Queen of England...despite the deadly fate that seems to befall all of Henry's queens.

One of the better novels out there about Catherine Howard, The Queen's Mistake takes a firm stance on who Catherine is. Rather then being a victim of circumstance or simply an idiotic, frivolous girl, Haeger portrays Catherine as a talented flirt who enjoys having power over men, though she would rather follow her heart than be queen. However, she does as he uncle commands, using her looks and Anne Boleyn-esque seduction to win the king's love. Also, unlike many other portrayals of Catherine Howard, Haeger does not allow Catherine to actually commit adultery with her beloved Thomas Culpepper, which gives Catherine a stronger moral character than in most portrayals of her, where she is typically portrayed as an adulterous harlot.

Haeger's writing style has also improved from The Secret Bride. Though there is still room for improvement, the writing shows promise and Haeger manages to create some interesting characters that keep readers flipping pages. The Queen's Mistake is perfect for fans of Tudor-era romance. ( )
  BookAddictDiary | Aug 12, 2011 |
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As the fifth queen of Henry VIII, Catherine Howard was unprepared for what awaited her . . . When the young and beautiful Catherine Howard becomes the fifth wife of the fifty-year-old King Henry VIII, she seems to be on top of the world. Yet her reign is destined to be brief and heartbreaking, as she is forced to do battle with enemies far more powerful and calculating than she could have ever anticipated in a court where one wrong move could mean her undoing. Wanting only love, Catherine is compelled to deny her heart's desire in favor of her family's ambition. But in so doing, she unwittingly gives those who sought to bring her down a most effective weapon- her own romantic past. The Queen's Mistakeis the tragic tale of one passionate and idealistic woman who struggles to negotiate the intrigue of the court and the yearnings of her heart. Praise for the The Secret Bride'Haeger delivers complexities of court and duty plausibly and with aplomb. Publishers Weekly'An enjoyable, well-written book about one of history's true love stories.' Romantic Reviews Today

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An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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