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The Queen's Governess by Karen Harper
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The Queen's Governess (edition 2011)

by Karen Harper

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1901062,147 (3.59)10
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

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The queen's governess by Karen Harper

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This book is about Katherine Champernown Ashley, governess of Elizabeth I. It is historical fiction and written in the first person in form of a diary. It was interesting enough in that it relates the history of a well known historical figure and how she became the early main influence of Elizabeth....

Harper did her research, and the book is very interesting..... I have one other to read by her: "Mistress of Mourning" focusing on the mother of Henry VIII...

I much prefer Harper's Elizabeth "mysteries", but it seems as though she has stopped writing them years ago..... ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
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 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Karen Harperprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bronzino, AgnoloCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cavanaugh, MeighanDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fasciano, IsabellaCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:45 -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)

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