The King's Rose by Alisa M. Rose
In “The King’s Rose”, author Alisa M. Libby brings to life the fifth wife of King Henry VIII.
Born into a family that was notorious for using the women of their family as stepping stones to enhance their status at court, young Catherine Howard becomes their pawn in the devious game of court elevation. Allowed to behave in an unscrupulous manner while living in the house of her grandmother the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, Catherine must now burn her past and pretend it never existed. Knowing that the King’s marriage to Anne of Cleves is drawing close to an end, the Howard’s are once again determined to place one of their own back upon the English throne. Placing Catherine in front of the King, they have built her up as a woman of amazing virtue, much like Henry’s much beloved Queen Jane. Catherine soon finds that she has won the heart of the aging King. Concluding that combination of the King’s love, and the power of the Howard’s Catherine allows herself to believe that she would hold more power than any of Henry’s previous Queens, including her cousin Anne Boleyn. The new Queen soon finds herself surrounded by her old life. The girls that Catherine shared her lodgings and her secrets with during her stay with the Dowager Duchess come calling for a position in her Royal household. Allowing them to join her retinue, Catherine knows she must keep them close to avoid her past from coming to light. Unable to rid herself of the past she was told to destroy and unable to provide King Henry with an heir to throne, she is told that she must restart her affaire with her previous lover, Thomas Culpepper. Enlisting the aid of Lady Rochford, Anne Boleyn’s sister-in-law, who was the downfall of Ann, Catherine slips back into her old life. Suddenly Catherine’s fears become reality when a pair of familiar eyes greet her from behind the mask of a devil, she now realizes that her past is alive and raging like an inferno. The Howard’s now have come to the conclusion that Catherine is of no use to them and brings her transgressions to light. No longer is she the King’s rose without a thorn, she has hurt, betrayed, and humiliated the man who has loved her, the man who has the power to destroy those whom he has raised. Catherine finds herself condemned by her lover, Thomas, the man who has sworn to protect her, and betrayed by her family as well as Lady Rochford. Continuously haunted by her cousin Anne Boleyn, she now learns that she will share her fate as well as her final resting place. Anne and Catherine’s fate are now intertwined forever to be known as traitors to the Kings heart.
“The King’s Rose”, is a remarkable story showcasing the short life of Catherine Howard. Told from Catherine’s perspective, “The King’s Rose”, offers a fresh perspective on the life of this young, doomed queen. Alisa M. Libby has provided us with an up-close and personal narrative that truly brings Catherine to life. No detail has been overlooked, every aspect has been thoroughly researched. Alisa M. Libby has a way of writing that captivates the reader. You can feel the inner war that Catherine is constantly wagging within herself.
As a reader of both nonfiction and fiction works pertaining to the Tudors, I found this book to be a very interesting read. I enjoyed the fact that Alisa chose to write about one of Henry’s lesser known queens. I feel that she has given a voice to Catherine, so that her story though it may be fictional is told. One of the parts that will stay embedded in my memory from the book is at the end where Catherine is pleading to the King to show mercy and Henry just passes by without even a nod in her direction. Reading “The King’s Rose” is sure to provoke an endless steam of thoughts and discussions.