April 27, 2010
Plaidy = Historical Fiction Perfection!
The Rose Without A Thorn, by Jean Plaidy
This is the story of Katherine Howard, a lowly member of a prominent English family who would later become Queen of England. Katherine began her life living with her numerous brothers and sisters. Her father and mother, though Howards, did not have the wealth which is usually attributed to such a family. Even at a young age, Katherine exhibited immense beauty and resembled her beautiful cousin, Anne Boleyn (who would serve as her predicesor). Taken in by her grandmother, the Duchess, Katherine learned more than just how to play the lute. Here, she was exposed to all sorts of sexual behaviors, even at the young age of fourteen. The matter was quickly hushed up when Katherine was granted a spot at Court in Henry VIII's fourth queen's, Anne of Cleves, retinue. Unhappy with his German queen, Henry quickly divorced her and married the sensual Katherine. Needless to say, her wicked past caught up with her and led her to the same fate her cousin met: beheading at the block.
I am a huge Jean Plaidy fan. She is one of my favorite authors. She knows how to blend the worlds of history and fiction so well. The Rose Without A Thorn is no exception. There are not many historical fiction books out there that details the life of Henry's other wives. Because Anne Boleyn is arguably the most interesting of his six brides, historical fiction writers tend to focus on her. Not that I am complaining... everyone knows I love a good Anne Boleyn novel. But it is refreshing to read about the others: Catherine of Aragon, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, Catherine Parr, and my personal favorite for some reason Jane Seymour.
I would definitely recommend this book to any Tudor lover. I finished it in a matter of a few days. It's a quick and satisfying read. It will quench any historical fiction fan's thirst for courtly intrigue!