The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn

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The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn

Category: Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Most people will know the story but the value of this book lies in the way that Suzannah Dunn can evoke the life of ordinary people in extraordinary situations. An excellent, relaxing read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: May 2011
Publisher: Harper Press
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0007258307

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Katherine Howard was Henry VIII's fifth wife. She was perhaps the most seductive of his wives and a considerable contrast to her predecessor, Anna of Cleves. She's been consigned to history as a silly girl, but careful reading gives the lie to this. Suzannah Dunn begins her story when Katherine was twelve years old and went to live in her step-grandmother's household. There she met Cathryn – generally known as Cat – Tilney, but the two girls were very different and didn't hit it off initially. Cat was quietly ambitious, aware that she needed to make a good marriage, whilst Katherine was image-conscious and very interested in the boys.

When I began reading The Confession of Katherine Howard my immediate reaction was that there was nothing new. Her story might not be quite so well known as that of her cousin, Anne Boleyn, but if you have any interest in Tudor history you'll know that she met her executioner before she'd been Queen for many months. But as I read I realised that the joy of this book lies in the way that Suzannah Dunn can capture Tudor life -from the whiles of the Court right down to the way that the less wealthy lived.

Dunn uses real people in her story and is generally true to history. The main exception is her use of a relationship between Cat Tilney and Francis Dereham, one of Katherine Howard's first lovers and brought by her to Court. History gives us no evidence either way on this but you would have to be something of a purist to take exception. I knew the story well and had no doubts about what would happen to Katherine Howard, Thomas Culpepper and Francis Dereham but I still found myself deeply engrossed in the story – mainly because I wanted to know what happened to Cat.

If you're looking for a good read with an interesting background then this could be the book you. I read it over a couple of enjoyable days, despite not expecting a great deal from the experience. I've not read anything by Suzannah Dunn before, but I'd have no hesitation in seeking out some of her other books about the Tudor queens. I'd like to thank the publishers are sending a copy to the Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then you might enjoy The Tudor Wife by Emily Purdy. For another evocative look at Tudor England we can recommend Sovereign by C J Sansom, one of his Matthew Shardlake novels.

Buy The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn at Amazon.com.


Booklists.jpg The Confession of Katherine Howard by Suzannah Dunn is in the Richard and Judy's Summer Reading List 2011.

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