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Katherine Howard: A Tudor Conspiracy by…
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Katherine Howard: A Tudor Conspiracy (2005)

by Joanna Denny

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743247,676 (3.85)1
Denny plunges the reader into the heart of the ruthless intrigues of the Tudor court - and gives a sympathetic portrait of a beautiful young girl trapped and betrayed by her own family.

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For much of its duration, this is not really a biography, as not enough details of the subject's earliest life are known. It is really an account of the Howards' relationship with Henry VIII and is interesting for that, but the author's style is a bit journalistic and sometimes repetitive, for example the constant reiteration of the point that Katherine's uncle the Duke of Norfolk was simply using her as a pawn to pursue his dynastic ambitions. The author makes a good point that one's attitude towards Katherine depends in part on her assumed age at the time of her liaisons, about which there is disagreement, but she makes a good case for her birth as being in 1525, making her only 15 at her marriage to the King and probably less than 17 at her execution, thus making her less of the knowing late teenage flirt as which she has often been depicted and more of an abused victim. On the other hand, the author seems to be rather overly uncritical of Ann Boleyn and I feel no desire on this basis to read her biography of that earlier queen. Finally, the referencing is poor - there is a list of sources for each chapter, but no link given between these sources and quotes in the chapter itself; there are also random footnote references in the chapter that relate to nothing. Overall, somewhat disappointing. ( )
  john257hopper | Jul 19, 2008 |
Highly readable and sobering account of the life of Henry VIII's doomed fifth wife, Katherine Howard. Joanna Denny shines a new light on the previously accepted facts of Katherine's life and shows her for what she was: a very young girl used, abused and ultimately abandoned by her rapacious family. A deeply sad story that shows the Tudor court in all its savagery and callousness. ( )
  boleyn | May 28, 2008 |
Interesting account of the life of Katherine Howard. Scene setting and background information occasionally overtake the actual subject of the book. Well written and very interesting.
  Kiora | May 25, 2007 |
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On a cold and bright Sunday morning in early November, the sweet sound of singing echoed from the Chapel Royal, Hampton Court.
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