The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby
Release Date: March 19, 2009
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
King Henry VIII, in addition to reforming the church in England, was most well known for his six wives. Wife number 5 was Catherine Howard, pushed into the spotlight by her power-hungry relatives, the powerful Howard family. Beautiful, young, and naive, Catherine Howard was thrust into a cut-throat court fraught with heavy rivalries. But her family's plan worked: pretty Catherine caught the eye of the king, who was already disappointed by his fourth bride's looks...
Before you know it, King Henry is divorced from his fourth wife, and will soon wed Catherine. But Henry's "rose without a thorn" might not be as pure as he had thought, for Catherine holds her own secrets from her not-so-pure past. But Catherine is confident she can get rid of her past by burning the letters, keepsakes, and other tokens of the past. But can burning old letters really erase her numerous love affairs, endless flirtations, and other un-queenly actions of the past?
Unfortunately, when people from the past Catherine thought she had buried starts resurfacing, it seems that she may not be as free from her past misdeeds as she thought. It's hard to be married to a king nearly twice her age, especially when there are other young, handsome men in court. If her less-than-innocent past becomes public, Catherine could be ruined forever, and suffer severe consequences. And knowing that Henry has already had four wives before her, Catherine and her family realizes just how precarious her position as queen is. The only way to secure her position is to become pregnant and give birth to the king's son. But the king is aging, and Catherine other men are catching Catherine's eye, and such treachery is not helping her already precarious position...
But when you've caught King Henry VIII's attention, there's no going back...
The King's Rose was a different take on Catherine than I had previously read. Alisa Libby portrays Catherine not as a complete ditz, or at the very least, a completely foolish, solely materialistic girl (now and then a portray makes her seem a little too over the top), but as a girl who was undoubtedly foolish, but was a young girl forced into a court full of back-stabbing, power-hungry courtiers. Libby's version of Catherine was not entirely sensible, but not a complete airhead either. It was interesting and nice to see Catherine in a slightly better light. Sometimes I feel authors are rather harsh on Catherine: although her actions were hardly commendable, most people forget she was just a foolish girl thrown at the king by her greedy family that cared more about increasing their own power than her safety. At least Alisa Libby gave Catherine a little more credit and more depth. In this novel readers get an idea on Catherine's possible motives.
I'm a big fan of novels on the Tudor era, so I'm glad I got a chance to review The King's Rose. Recommended to historical fiction fans and/or people interested in the Tudor era!