Reviewed by Claudia Robinson

“If Kathryn was to do this, then let it be that she was the mildest and sweetest of wives, ever ready to bend to his will, treating Harry without the crown as though he were Harry with the crown, and making him–what was it the duchess had told her, so many years ago–making him believe he was her king, her sovereign deity, and that she existed only for him. ” – Kathryn Howard

Kathryn, cousin to Anne Boleyn, King Henry VIII’s beloved second wife, has been plucked from her father’s household by the Duchess, in order to be raised among the ranks and further the Howard name and reputation.

Young, a mere child, Kathryn is nevertheless indoctrinated in to court life, the passion of youth and the temptations of the flesh, her future decided for her, each succession of her life played much like a pawn upon a chessboard, the intention of the invisible hands that move her, only of one purpose. To win.

When her beautiful cousin Anne loses her head to the chopping block, Kathryn finds herself moving up the ranks far swifter than anticipated. When called to serve as Henry’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, remains a maid, she suddenly finds herself the center of the King’s attention and the realization that all has been predestined from the beginning marks home.

Unable to extricate herself from the old King’s attentions without losing her head like her cousin, Kathryn submits to his will and accepts her fate, becoming King Henry VIII’s fifth and youngest wife.

For Henry, Kathryn returns youth and innocence to his life, and he calls her his ‘rose without thorns’. Kathryn has his love and has restored his humor, bringing vigor and life back to a half-dead court. All seems to go according to plan.

Until the past and future meet and meld, destroying the lives of those involved, whether in truth or hearsay and Kathryn’s world comes apart at the seams.

Sarah Hoyt writes an exquisitely detailed rendition of Kathryn Howard’s rise to power and subsequent demise. Fascinated by Henry the VIII and a fan of the Tudors, No Will But His satisfied and delivered. A guilty pleasure, easy read, and heart wrenching story. Even knowing the outcome, No Will But His gripped and entertained.

Rating: 4/5

Claudia lives on beautiful Cape Cod with her husband and two children.

The review copy of this book was provided free of any obligation by Berkley Trade. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.