Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Queen's Governess-Karen Harper

The Queen's Governess
Karen Harper
Putnam, Jan 21 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9780399156182

Katherine Ashley has no hope for her future ever since her mother drowned and her father married Maud. Her stepmother treats Kat with contempt and uses her as a drone nursemaid to her half siblings.

Her impoverished slavish life changes when she does something for Thomas Cromwell, advisor to King Henry VIII. He takes her from her father’s home, has her educated and sent to the court serving Anne Boleyn, but actually is a spy for him. In 1536 when the Queen is executed, Kat survives becoming governess to Boleyn’s daughter, Elizabeth. She remains with the Princess through some hard times and continues to serve when Elizabeth becomes queen.

This is an intriguing look at the Tudor sixteenth century reign from the perspective of a servant caught in the middle several times during the rule of King Henry and Queen Mary while serving as s surrogate mother in many ways to Elizabeth before she becomes queen in 1558, over two decades after her mom was executed. Imprisoned twice during plots and counterplots, The Queen’s Governess survived family and court intrigue; as Karen Harper provides fans of English royal biographical fiction with a fresh perspective.

Harriet Klausner

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