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Summary

Alison Weir, historian and author of the Sunday Times best-selling Six Tudor Queens series, relates one of the most tragic stories in English history: Katheryn Howard, Henry VIII's fifth queen.

A naive young woman at the mercy of her ambitious family. At just 19, Katheryn Howard is quick to trust and fall in love. She comes to court. She sings, she dances. She captures the heart of the king. Henry declares she is his rose without a thorn. But Katheryn has a past of which he knows nothing. It comes back increasingly to haunt her. For those who share her secrets are waiting in the shadows, whispering words of love...and blackmail. 

Katheryn Howard.

The fifth of Henry's queens.

Her story.

Acclaimed, best-selling historian Alison Weir draws on extensive research to recount one of the most tragic tales in English history - that of a lively, sweet but neglected girl, used by powerful men for their own gain. 

History tells us she died too soon.

This mesmerising novel brings her to life.

©2020 Alison Weir (P)2020 Headline Publishing Group Ltd

Critic reviews

"This six-book series looks likely to become a landmark in historical fiction." (The Times)

"With characteristic verve and stunning period detail, this novel will captivate you and break your heart. Utterly sublime." (Tracy Borman)

"Conveys the heart-rending pathos of a young woman executed, whose only real crime was her naïveté and her desire to be loved. It is a profoundly moving story that lingers long after the last page is turned." (Elizabeth Freemantle)

What listeners say about Six Tudor Queens: Katheryn Howard, the Tainted Queen

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Loved it

Narrator amazing, I have all good to say about this book... Well worth the wait..

4 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Would have been better if shortened

Katheryn Howard was chiefly known for having had relationships with two men at her grandmother's establishment before Katheryn went to court and supplanted Anna of Kleves. While married to the King, she fell in love with her cousin, Thomas Culpeper. The King found out and Katheryn was tried and executed as were Culpeper, Dereham (her former lover before she went to court, and Lady Rochford who aided Katheryn's and Culpeper's night-time meetings.

Sixteen hours is a long time over which to stretch out such material. For much of the latter half of the book, the King and Katheryn are on progress around England. So a great deal of space is taken up describing Katheryn and Culpeper's late-night trysts in various castles, palaces and great houses. After the first two or three this becomes rather tedious. However, it's not all lovey-dovey stuff. There's the (by now) familiar episode in which the protagonist sees a ghostly presence (at Fotheringhay this time). Then the King finds out and once again fails to find the virtue of forgiveness for those who have wronged him. Exeunt several characters, headless if they were lucky, minus several more body parts if they weren't.

The reading and characterisation is unremarkable, although Sophie Roberts isn't very good at trying to sound like a man. My basic criticism of the book however is that it contains too much padding and not enough story.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A great addition to the series

This book started a little slow for me, but as the drama escalated, I got hooked in further and further. The tedious house of cards kept building the tension, making you feel stressed as a reader, knowing the consequence that would follow.
The naivety of Katheryn makes you as a reader frustrated at times, but adds to the experience of the novel. Unlike Anne Boleyn, I knew little of Katheryn Howard prior to reading this book. I will now read other books to pick out the facts from the fiction to feed my new found curiosity surrounding the life of Katheryn Howard.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing

Been waiting for this for months and so glad I finally got to listen to it.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Such a good book

This is such a good book, so well written and narrated . I’ve read all 5 of this series and the quality has remained high throughout. Very much looking forward to the next one.




1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Excellent book but weak beginning

Having read all the books so far in this series It took a while me to get into this one and felt that the beginning was surprisingly weak. I’d almost go as far as saying it should have been re written. The writer noticeably gets into her flow of writing and what follows is all you would expect.Excellent.
Sophie Roberts is perfect as narrator and easy to listen too ,this added to an enjoyable listen and what began as a disappointing start was soon left behind. I would highly recommend this book just don’t be put off by the first chapters.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Amazing

Just so so so great, loved the narration so perfect, dreadfully sad, appalling and captivating. Katherine came to life in my kitchen, in my car, walking around the supermarket and in between the moments of my husband trying to talk to me :D

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    4 out of 5 stars
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My first Alison Weir

I pushed on through to theend. I didn't really bond with Katheryn or understand why she did what she did. The whole story was from her point of view so I didn't bond with or understand the motivation of any of the other characters either. If the point was that she was a vacuous youngster with no moral compass either internally or externally then the book succeeded but it made for an empty experience I'm afraid.

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Addictive listening

Thoroughly enjoyed, but did not like the narrator. Monotone and lacking animation and performance.
Sounded like a very dull Teacher, droning on.

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love it

very good for long days on your own working , very good story interesting