Catherine Howard has done it: she has attracted the eye of Henry VIII, the king of England. Now as his beautiful, youthful bride–his “rose without thorns”, Catherine now is faced with the task of satisfying Henry by producing an heir. As if political and familial pressures were not enough, Catherine also has to confront her own feelings of love.
I’m going to say right now that I am not a huge fan of Tudor-era fiction. I have yet to find a book or text that really drags me in. That being said, Alissa Libby’s The King’s Rose didn’t do half bad. The book covers Catherine’s time as Henry’s bride. Libby does a great job of getting the reader into Catherine’s head; I sympathized with Catherine’s feelings of confusion, doubt, and frustration. These emotions are what make Catherine a sympathetic character. Libby is very good at making the reader aware of the dangerous political situation Catherine is in, and that makes her problems all the more potent. That being said, there is a lot of telling in this book–probably due to the first person narrative. This choice is fairly common in young adult literature, but I think that really prevented me from enjoying it fully. That being said, The King’s Rose is one of the better Tudor-era books I’ve seen.