Friday, March 4, 2011

The King's Rose by Alisa M. Libby

     For some reason, I keep forgetting to push the publish button on a lot of my posts. I thought I had this scheduled for a while ago, but I guess not...
     Appointed to the queen’s household at the age of fourteen, Catherine Howard is not long at court before she catches the eye of King Henry VIII. The king is as enchanted with Catherine as he is disappointed with his newest wife — the German princess Anne of Cleves. Less than a year from her arrival at court, Catherine becomes the fifth wife of the overwhelmingly powerful, if aging, King of England.
     Caught up in a dazzling whirl of elaborate celebrations, rich gowns and royal jewels, young Catherine is dizzied by the absolute power that the king wields over his subjects. But does becoming the king’s wife make her safe above all others, or put her in more danger? Catherine must navigate the conspiracies, the silent enemies, the king’s unpredictable rages, as well as contend with the ghosts of King Henry’s former wives: the abandoned Catherine of Aragon, the tragic Jane Seymour, and her own cousin, the beheaded Anne Boleyn. The more Catherine learns about court, the more she can see the circles of danger constricting around her, the threats ever more dire.
--Alisa Libby's website

     This is what makes me love historical fiction. It was so vivid and real. Libby is a very talented writer for being able to bring history to life as she did in this novel.
     The characters said and did things that I could actually imagine the real Catherine or King Henry do. Catherine is a timid child to begin with, but she grows throughout the book. She grows into a woman through the trials of being Queen. This may not seem so terrible, but nothing is ever as it seems. She had responsibilities just as anyone else does and she had to bear the largest burden of all: pleasing the King. I think Catherine was a great character. She wasn't so naive as to believe that she could trust everyone, but at the same time she didn't try to seclude herself.
     Henry is an aging King. He isn't quite sure what to do to keep his position and status with his people. They are slipping away from him after all the years he has ruled. So, he turns to his
newest distraction: Catherine. I'm not quite sure how I felt about him. On one hand, I wanted to hate him. Knowing what I do about King Henry the Eigth (albeit very little), I was disgusted with his merciless actions towards women he supposedly loved. On the other hand, I could feel his desperation to have an heir to the throne.
     The plot of the novel was wonderful! It moved fast enough, but not too quickly, and of course it was interesting. I liked that we got to see Catherine's day-to-day activities and such. I could picture her chambers and the gardens. I could see her sneaking out late at night by the light of the moon to see... nope, can't tell you that. Her dresses sounded so beautiful! I also wish I could have heard her playing the lute in real life. It was just a very insightful book. Everything was imagined in detail and you can tell the author took great care to SHOW and not tell what happened.
     Rating: 8.5

1 comment:

Denise K. Rago said...

Historical fictions allows us to visit place we might only dream of! Sounds like a great book.