Friday, March 26, 2010

The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby

At the young age of 15, Catherine Howard has become engaged to the king. She will marry him. That is what she's been told by her family. That's what she does.

But it's not quite that simple. In her marriage to King Henry, she must appear pure and virginal, which means she must leave behind her past, which isn't pure. She must also produce a male heir, quickly.

As time passes and Catherine is still not with child, she takes desperate measures, at the insistence of her family and in fear for her own life. But soon danger heightens, and producing an heir becomes the least of Catherine's worries.

A long time ago in fifth grade (which was actually not that long ago) I came across a book called Elizabeth I: Red Rose of The House Of Tudor, England 1544 which was a part of The Royal Diaries series by Kathryn Lasky. In the back of that book, there were a couple pages showing all of King Henry's wives. I was fascinated. He had six wives! Six! I remember wanting to know more about his wives, but I never looked into it. Within a couple months I had forgotten.

Then, a few months ago, I heard about The King's Rose, a historical fiction account about his fourth wive, Catherine Howard. I knew that I definitely wanted to read it, and when the chance came to review it as part of a Traveling to Teens tour, I was very excited.

At first, I had a bit of trouble getting into this novel. There are a lot of characters introduced quite quickly, and it took me a couple chapters before I could get everyone straight in my head.

Once I had that figured out, I absolutely loved it!

Catherine is aquite captivating. She has the classic case of wanting that one thing that you can't have, despite the fact you have everything else. Yet I couldn't quite fault her for it. What she wanted was such a common thing for a girl her age to want, an all consuming love.

Which brings me to another fact that intrigued me about Catherine; her age. She was only fifteen when she married the king. I'M fifteen, and I can't even imagine getting married, let alone to a king. I know that in that time period, it wasn't such an odd thing to get married young, but it still amazed me. To be put in such a position at such a young age, that had to be such a heady experience.

All the other characters in this book were intriguing to read about as well, especially Catherine's family. By the end of the book, I really wanted to have at the duchess.

The ending of this book was fabulous. Although I obviously wasn't a fan of what happened, the writing was amazing. It's one of those endings that you spend the next few days thinking about. I loved it.

The King's Rose is a book I heartily recommend for historical fiction lovers.

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