Sunday, November 22, 2009

I came to court last autumn to serve the new queen, and awaited her winter arrival with the rest of her ladies-in-waiting. But by early spring the gift of the sapphire made the focus of the king's affection clear for all to see. At fifteen years old, I am on the brink of gaining great wealth and great privilege for my family. Or so I have been told. I had best act properly, I am often reminded, or else squander all of our chances. The king is forty-nine and not as well as he once was. Time is precious, fleeting. (5)

Abby Libby presents a fictionalized account of Catherine Howard in The King's Rose. For those not familiar with the story, King Henry VIII is currently married to wife number four. But when he catches sight of fifteen year old Catherine Howard (cousin to wife number two Anne Boleyn), he promptly divorces his wife and weds Catherine. Catherine, however, is less than estatic, having been foisted on the king by her ambitious family instead of courting the man she actually loves. Court intrigue and politics make it dangerous for Catherine, who must produce an heir before the king looses interest in her or is convinced by his advisors to get rid of her.


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