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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir tells the tragic story of Henry VIII’s fifth wife, a 19-year-old beauty with a hidden past, in this fifth novel in the sweeping Six Tudor Queens series. 

In the spring of 1540, Henry VIII is desperate to be rid of his unappealing German queen, Anna of Kleve. A prematurely aged and ailing 49, with an ever-growing waistline, he casts an amorous eye on a pretty 19-year-old brunette, Katheryn Howard. Like her cousin Anne Boleyn, Katheryn is a niece of the Duke of Norfolk, England’s premier Catholic peer, who is scheming to replace Anna of Kleve with a good Catholic queen. A fun-loving, eager participant in the life of the royal court, Katheryn readily succumbs to the king’s attentions when she is intentionally pushed into his path by her ambitious family. 

Henry quickly becomes besotted and is soon laying siege to Katheryn’s virtue. But as instructed by her relations, she holds out for marriage and the wedding takes place a mere fortnight after the king’s union to Anna is annulled. Henry tells the world his new bride is a rose without a thorn, and extols her beauty and her virtue, while Katheryn delights in the pleasures of being queen and the rich gifts her adoring husband showers upon her: The gorgeous gowns, the exquisite jewels, and the darling lap-dogs. She comes to love the ailing, obese king, enduring his nightly embraces with fortitude and kindness. If she can bear him a son, her triumph will be complete. But Katheryn has a past of which Henry knows nothing, and which comes back increasingly to haunt her - even as she courts danger yet again. What happens next to this naïve and much-wronged girl is one of the saddest chapters in English history.

©2020 Alison Weir (P)2020 Recorded Books

What listeners say about Katheryn Howard, the Scandalous Queen

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Romance

Ok, this one is going back. I can’t, I just can’t. I guess I thought it was going to be. A historical/fiction, but it’s more like a gothic romance that portrays Kathryn as a dim-witted., love obsessed wanton women. I can’t, I just can’t. If you are a romance fan, this is perfect for you, otherwise, skip it. The narrator was fantastic.

19 people found this helpful

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Well Written But the Main Character is Flawed

Allison Weir has had a tough time because these queens are not always making bad choices. Stubborn (Catherine), Arrogant (Anne), Jane (Boring then died), Anne (best one took the divorce and ran) and now Katheryn. Poor dimwitted but pretty Katheryn falls in and out of love most likely because of some serious family issues.

She has no one to actually protect her and she makes some really REALLY poor choices which makes it hard because you just want to shake her. I think Allison Weir tries really hard to try and figure out the "why" but in this case I think this why is really just hard to swallow. At so many points she could have had her "happily ever after" but she sees something better and cuts off that "love" and moves to the next.

Then you get to the men and really they are probably dumber than her! I mean HELLO IDIOTS - if this was a work of fiction it would be unbelievable but sadly these idiots really drew breath. And when they got killed I had no remorse because their stupidity was only eclipsed by their arrogance.

And then her "friends" my goodness is hard to imagine that they helped as they did when many of them knew first hand of the consequences. I mean its not like he has not killed a good amount of their relatives - lets help commit treason (said no one with an IQ over 50). Which is why I think the book is well written but in the end they made me feel bad for Henry VIII which still shocks me.

I am very interested in Catherine Parr - probably the smartest of the bunch but also really bad at picking men. If you like the Tudors you will enjoy this but it is hard really to believe this many dumb people made it to the top of the food chain.

13 people found this helpful

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Alison Weir's Best

I've followed this series and read Weir's other fiction and nonfiction, but this book was easily the most engaging and addictive. I found it difficult to stop listening until the end. I also loved how believable it was to be in the moment with Katheryn and find even her most unfortunate choices understandable from her perspective.

A significant part of what makes it such a good book is how little of it Weir had to come up with on her own or overdramatize. Katheryn Howard has the most scandalous story of all the six queen consorts of Henry VIII. So it lends itself perfectly to a novel.

Another thing that helped bring this book to a higher level than the first three was how little Catherine Aragon and Anne Boleyn featured. Weir's bias in favor of Catherine and resulting hatred for Anne poisoned the first three queen's novels. Since Katheryn Howard had no direct contact with them, Weir was able to deliver a higher quality work, just as she did with Anna of Kleve.

Overall, this was a fantastic book!

12 people found this helpful

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It was okay

Alison Weir hit it out of the park with her first three books of this series. But unfortunately, it is starting to drag on. As much as I love her interpretation of history, and how she writes, I found myself bored during this story.

The narrator isn't my cup of tea. I found how much she fluctuated in volume irritating, her change of voice for men weird, and just didn't find it very engaging.

I hope Weir rallies for Katherine Parr, in spite of this okay, book, I still look forward to her finishing the series.

4 people found this helpful

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Worth The Wait

Excellent book. Alison Weir does not disappoint. Hopefully she’ll finish out the series soon with a book on Catherine Par.

4 people found this helpful

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Loved It!

I’m a fan of Alison Weir’s books and have enjoyed this series about King Henry VIII’s wives from their viewpoints. Katheryn Howard didn’t disappoint. I’d wondered how this young queen would be portrayed. After hearing her story, I had more sympathy for her as usually she is portrayed as a Tudor party girl. Instead, we discover simply a young girl who was without parents for much of her young life and made some regrettable decisions in her search for security and love. A combination of her own desire for fame and fortune and the manipulation of her family sealed her fate.

I’m already looking forward to the final book in the series!

3 people found this helpful

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Disappointing historical fiction

Alison Weir is the most interesting historian out there as far as I'm concerned. Her ability to find and extract tiny details left aside by other historians makes everything she writes vivid and wonderful.

Historical fiction, however, is a horse of a different color. I have read other works of fiction by Ms. Weir. While they weren't the best literature out there, they were peppered with enough facts to take away from the various issues with structure and dialogue. This book, however, was simply not one of those.

Katherine Howard was Henry VIII's teenaged fifth wife, who reigned just 15 months until she was executed. She is a fascinating historical character, and I have always been fascinated by her. When I heard that Ms. Weird had done a historical work of fiction about her, I grabbed it. The facts presented with the imagined dialogue and perceived story was well thought out, but there was just SO many speech tags mixed in with stage-direction that I felt as if I was reading a book meant for a younger audience, or someone who didn't understand the flow of dialogue.

It was beautifully read by Rosalyn Landor, one of my favorite British narrators, and her way of handling some of the awkward places filled with too many speech tags was to raise and lower her tone to reflect the action which I appreciated.

Disappointed or not, nothing will stop me from reading everything Alison Weir puts out. I just hope someone kicks some sense into her editor next time.

1 person found this helpful

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Very well over all

Every book you make and narrate is beautiful and its own way, Thank you for your knowledge encourage to write these books. ❤️ you!!!! Big fan!!!!

~Tonya Bible in . California

1 person found this helpful

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Another excellent Henry VIII’s wife book!

Elegant narration, intriguing plot, easy to follow storyline. I listen to everything I can by Weir and Landor.

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  • 06-13-20

Worth the buy

Katheryn is my favorite of the six after Anne. It was a nice change to have a book where Henry isn't a tyrant or just a total lecher for having such a young wife. Katheryn is not quite the victim in this book. towards the end she repeatedly admits knowing what she was doing was wrong and she should stop but refuses, so you have no sympathy for her and view her as selfish and thoughtless in fact towards the end of the book I was thinking "Just get on with it!"

1 person found this helpful