Reviewed by Claudia Robinson
“The old hands resented the Howard-ladies. They were too well bred to show it, but the disapproval was always there. Understandable, in a way, because they’d been born to the potential of a position in the queen’s household but their kin had had to work hard to secure each actual place – – petitioning, bartering and buttering up, calling in favors and promising others — whereas the Howard-ladies had simply come along with Kate, instantly elevated from a period of disgrace for which the family had as yet paid no dues.” – Cat’s perspective
Sometimes, a book just settles in to a reader’s hand, much like a favorite, old, well worn t-shirt to form. It fits perfectly, offering those who crease its spine comfort and a sweet tendering of familiar mixed with effortless innovation with each turn of the page. Suzannah Dunn’s The Confession of Katherine Howard is just that book.
Katherine Howard and Catherine Tilney are unlikely best friends. Having met for the first time, at the age of twelve, under the roof and tutelage of the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, their tentative and often volatile relationship, nevertheless, blossoms. Cat’s tale of her friend’s rise to Queen is one those familiar with the history of King Henry VIII and his many wives, will recognize, but spun by Dunn’s hand, takes on an exquisitely new light and life of it’s own.
Called to serve as her best friend’s lady in waiting at the palace, Cat finds herself immersed in a tragedy already in full swing upon her arrival. Taken in to the Queen’s confidence, her own lover invited to serve in the household alongside her, Cat quickly finds out that wearing a crown as King Henry’s newsiest Queen, comes with more responsibility and precipice than any hot blooded, hormone riddled 19-year-old girl can handle. Kate lives by her own agenda, strong willed and headstrong, confident, unaccustomed to being denied anything. When rumors of the Queen’s past indiscretions are suddenly exposed, Kate and Cat’s friendship is tested, loyalties are stretched and alliances are divided.
Honest, poignant, tender, merciless, The Confession of Katherine Howard offers an insider’s perspective of what it was like in Tudor England to aspire to be more than your family name. Dunn interlaces meticulously researched facts with poetic fiction, resulting in a tale that from the very beginning, grabs hold of the reader’s heart, immersing them in to the romance and brutality of a past time, where who you could become meant more than who you were. Beautifully written, detailed, sumptuous, and decadent, The Confession of Katherine Howard delivers a gem of novel that wraps itself intimately and lingeringly around the reader’s heart.
Claudia lives on beautiful Cape Cod, entertaining her passion for reading in between being a full-time Mother and Lineman’s wife, waxing philosophical on her blog, & expressing herself through photography.
Review and giveaway copies were provided free of any obligation by Harper Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.