HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Queen's Governess by Karen Harper
Loading...

The Queen's Governess (edition 2011)

by Karen Harper

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
173968,650 (3.56)9
Member:DubaiReader
Title:The Queen's Governess
Authors:Karen Harper
Info:NAL Trade (2011), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Historical fiction, Anne Boleyn, EW pm Bk Grp, Vine, 2012

Work details

The Queen's Governess by Karen Harper

None

None.

Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
It was a quick read and is a good book to pass the time with. It's not the greatest book by any means, though.
There are a few historical inaccuracies (which are easily Google-able) that irked me. There was a bit too much use of modern day language. It was melodramatic is some places, and it ended way to abruptly.
( )
  Rosedgrdo | Jun 21, 2013 |
Interesting.

I enjoyed this retelling of the story of Elizabeth Tudor from the point of view of her much beloved governess, Kat Ashley. It wasn't quite as page-turning as a Philippa Gregory book (with whom she is compared on the back cover), but it was certainly an informative and satisfying read.

After a short prologue set at the beheading of Anne Boleyn, the author takes us right back to Kat Ashley's childhood. As she explains in the notes at the end of the book, Ms Harper had to make several valued judgments about Kat's childhood due to incomplete or conflicting accounts from the time. However, it seems likely that the governess came from fairly lowly parentage and rose to a much respected position in court. She was a close confidante of Queen Anne and was entrusted with the care of her daughter, the princess Elizabeth, after Anne's sad demise.
Kat Ashley's rise from poverty was orchestrated by Thomas Cromwell of Wolf Hall fame - not a book I enjoyed but I did have some extra background as a result of having read it.
As the narrative covers the various reigns of the queens that followed on from Anne Boleyn, plus the childhood and subsequent coronation of Elizabeth's half sister, Mary, I felt that I was left with a more complete picture of the times than by reading individual books on each of these women.

Well worth reading for lovers of historical fiction.

Also read:
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel (1 star)
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory (5 stars)
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory (4 stars)
Dear Heart, How Like You This? by Wendy J Dunn (3 stars)
Tread Softly by Kate Pennington (4 stars)
Beware Princess Elizabeth by Carolyn Meyer (4 stars)
The Sixth Wife by Jean Plaidy (4 stars) ( )
  DubaiReader | Dec 1, 2012 |
Katherine Ashley, the daughter of a poor country squire, happily secures an education and a place for herself in a noble household. But when Thomas Cromwell, a henchman for King Henry VIII, brings her to the royal court as a spy, Kat enters into a thrilling new world of the Tudor monarchs.

Freed from a life of espionage by Cromwell's downfall, Kat eventually befriends Anne Boleyn. As a dying favor to the doomed queen, Kat becomes governess and surrogate-mother to the young Elizabeth Tudor. Together they suffer bitter exile, assassination attempts, and imprisonment, barely escaping with their lives. But they do, and when Elizabeth is crowned, Kat continues to serve her, faithfully guarding all the queen's secrets (including Elizabeth's affair with the dashing Robert Dudley) . . . and ultimately emerging as the lifelong confidante and true mother-figure to Queen Elizabeth.

My Thoughts:

This is the first historical novel that I have read from the point of view of Kat Ashley. I know very little about her only that she was long time companion of Queen Elizabeth 1st.

The story is told by Kat and begins with her being taken out of her home to the court of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn and then her life with Elizabeth and her early life as queen. I did find that all through this book Anne Boleyn was the dominant character. It begins with Kat being present at Anne’s execution but then back tracks to Anne’s life at court and her downfall. The first quarter of the book is Anne then all through the rest of the book she has a presence and is refered to quite often.

All the usual facts are in the book but as I don’t know anything about Kat I cannot say if what I was reading was true-known facts, especailly her encounter with Tom Seymour.

My only niggle is that there seemed to be a lot crammed into this book as it is Kats life over many years, so certain events are just mentioned briefly.

However it is quite a charming read about Tudor life and anybody who is aTudor fan like me then this book is for you. Don’t expect a Tudor romp as there is no bodice ripping like some novels but it is a interesting and pleasnat Tudor read. ( )
  tina1969 | Mar 5, 2012 |
As a fan of all things Tudor fiction, I'm always happy to devour more. Though I admit the period has started to get a little stale, especially surrounding the infamous Anne Bolyen scandal, there are still a few gems out there. I would consider Karen Harper's first Tudor novel, The Queen's Governess, to be one of those gems. Though there is plenty of discussion around Henry VIII's second queen, the focus is on the intelligent, well-schooled commoner Katherine Ashley, who practically raised the young Elizabeth I and helped her become one of the most important monarchs in British history.

The Queen's Governess tells the story of Katherine Ashley, a young woman born into a common family. After a by-chance meeting with the notorious "climber" Thomas Cromwell, Katherine (usually known as "Kat"), becomes a lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne Bolyen -and spy for Cromwell. After Anne's demise, she becomes the tutor and eventually governess to the forgotten Princess Elizabeth. Under Kat's guidance, Elizabeth into an intelligent, clever woman more capable than any of her kin. While developing a strong attachment to Elizabeth, Kat observes Henry VIII's many queens, the short reigns of Edward Tudor, Lady Jane Grey and Mary Tudor and Elizabeth's dangerous journey to the throne.

The story, unlike many historical fiction novels out there, is fast-paced, thrilling and manages to keep readers hooked on nearly every page. Harper also has a powerful and fluid writing style that is comfortable and enjoyable. Most importantly, she has the ability to create compelling female characters. Though other characters are neglected in favor of Kat and Elizabeth, it's not so flat that it destroys the book overall.

As much as I enjoyed this book, there were a few flaws (and that's being really picky). The main problem I had was that everything just seemed to happen so fast. Perhaps that's just a result of being so quickly-paced, but at times I found myself stopping to take a deep breath and remind myself of where exactly we were in the Tudor period (basically, what wife are we on now?). Also, the ending was a little off. It seemed to just drift off into nothing, without a full resolution.

A must-read for any Tudor fiction fan, The Queen's Governess is a great book that shouldn't be missed. ( )
  BookAddictDiary | Jan 19, 2011 |
Meet Katherine Ashley (nee Champernowne) - the governess and friend of Queen Elizabeth. And what's a better way to meet and get to know someone than listening to them telling their own story? The novel's narrator is Kat herself and it spans from 1516 (and a single family tragedy) to 1562 (and a national tragedy-that-could-have-been).

The novel opens with the beheading of Anne Boleyn but it backtracks almost immediately to 1516 where Kat looses her mother - in a way that leaves more questions than explanations. But as bad this is for the young girl, it also turns out to be part of her luck because when Thomas Cromwell proposes to her a new life away from home (after almost an incidental meeting), she is ready to leave all behind. And the story begins. From the little village in Devon to the mansion of her distant relatives and from there to the Court (and occasionally the Tower) - the novel is following the life of the woman that had always been there for the last Tudor queen.

And through the memories of Kat, we see the history of England rolling in - Henry VIII courting Anne Boleyn and trying to dissolve his first marriage, Anne getting the crown, birthing Elizabeth and loosing her head, Edward VI being born and the last 4 of Henry's wives following their fates. But once Anne is dead, Kat sees the Court rarely because she takes care of the little girl that is not a princess anymore. The private life of Kat (and her to-be-husband and then husband John Ashley), the life of Elizabeth, the history of England and even the life of Mary get all tangled together.

The few glimpses in the life of Mary Tudor ( as a girl and as a queen) and Edward VI; the continuous story of Elizabeth's life -- all these add to the story. The book ends in 1562 - after the small pox that almost kills Elizabeth... even though Kat lives a few years beyond that.

The two things that did not really work for me is the handling of the story with Tom Seymour (it was clear from very early in the book where this one is going and that's Kat's book after all but still... something was really amiss (depending on the historian you read, the historical truth is different and the one here is away from what I believe had happened)) and Robert Dudley. And while the Seymour story can be just accepted as the way the author chose to see the truth, I cannot even start understanding what was the reasoning behind such an unsympathetic portrayal of Dudley. He is coming along as scheming and unscrupulous man whose only goal is to advance himself... and even if that had been the usual way to portray him for a long time, the last decades had the historians review this understanding... And even considering that Kat is writing the book, this is a strange way to portrait him - she had been there, she had been Elizabeth's confidant, she should not be suffering from the later ages misunderstanding of his character...

Add to that the fact that Kat comes off a bit too naive at moments, a bit too innocent. But that's her story - that's how she wants to remember it - and as such it is acceptable to bend the truth.

Despite these strange choices, the book is really enjoyable and worth reading - and the choice to tell it from the name of Kat herself allows the author to add details and bend the truth a lot (not that a historical novel cannot do it anyway).

4 stars for the book and I will be looking at some other of the author's books. ( )
  AnnieMod | Jan 10, 2011 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
First words
I could not fathom they were going to kill the queen.
Quotations
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0399156186, Hardcover)

A fresh and intriguing historical novel told in the voice of Queen Elizabeth I's governess.

Katherine Ashley, the daughter of a poor country squire, happily secures an education and a place for herself in a noble household. But when Thomas Cromwell, a henchman for King Henry VIII, brings her to the royal court as a spy, Kat enters into a thrilling new world of the Tudor monarchs.

Freed from a life of espionage by Cromwell's downfall, Kat eventually befriends Anne Boleyn. As a dying favor to the doomed queen, Kat becomes governess and surrogate-mother to the young Elizabeth Tudor. Together they suffer bitter exile, assassination attempts, and imprisonment, barely escaping with their lives. But they do, and when Elizabeth is crowned, Kat continues to serve her, faithfully guarding all the queen's secrets (including Elizabeth's affair with the dashing Robert Dudley) . . . and ultimately emerging as the lifelong confidante and true mother-figure to Queen Elizabeth.



(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:46:38 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Katherine Ashley, the daughter of a poor country squire, happily secures an education and a place for herself in the Tudor court of Henry VIII. As a dying favor to the doomed Anne Boleyn, Kat becomes governess and surrogate-mother to the young Elizabeth Tudor ... ultimately emerging as the lifelong confidante to Queen Elizabeth I.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
5 avail.
137 wanted
3 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.56)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 4
2.5 1
3 9
3.5 5
4 21
4.5
5 4

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 94,434,154 books! | Top bar: Always visible