The Queen’s Mistake – Diane Haeger

Title: The Queen’s Mistake: In the Court of Henry VIII
Author: Diane Haeger
ISBN: 9780451228000
Pages: 416
Release Date: October 6, 2009
Publisher: NAL Trade
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Catherine Howard was a silly girl living in the countryside, away from the temptations of court. Still, she managed to find plenty of excitement from the people living with her at her grandmother’s. But when her uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, decides that she should come to court in order to make a favorable match that will advance her family, Catherine becomes an unwitting pawn in her uncle’s quest for power.

Review:

I haven’t read much about Henry VIII’s fifth wife Catherine Howard, so I was eager to pick up Diane Haeger’s new novel The Queen’s Mistake. I was curious as to how Haeger would portray Catherine Howard, considering she’s generally accepted to have been a stupid young girl more interested in pretty clothes than anything else. She lost her head because of her indiscretions with men and her infidelity to the King.

Surprisingly, Haeger actually made Catherine Howard a sympathetic character while still staying true to her known flaws. Catherine isn’t necessarily stupid, but she is naive. She doesn’t realize what she is getting herself into by going to court – all she thinks of is escaping from the boring countryside and her grandmother’s iron fist. It’s clear that she’s being manipulated by those who should care for her, and it makes her whole situation sad.

At the same time, Catherine does sleep around a lot, which makes her kind of an irritating character. It’s not clear why she has sex with all these men besides sheer boredom (with some manipulation thrown in), so it’s difficult to understand. Additionally, sometimes she knows exactly what’s at stake and other times she’s a vapid girl who doesn’t think about the consequences of her actions. It seems like Haeger wanted to make Catherine a sympathetic, layered character while still staying true to historical descriptions of her. She had quite a difficult task on her hands, and did a commendable job with what she had.

The story of The Queen’s Mistake is engaging and suspenseful, despite the fact that the reader is aware of Catherine’s fate at the end of the book. By focusing on Catherine Howard’s life, rather than her arrest and execution, Diane Haeger was able to create an interesting and unique story. Additionally, her author’s note does state she stayed true to historical events, though she says she did embellish some sub-plots.

The Queen’s Mistake was a fun historical fiction novel that was quick and easy to read. I recommend this novel to fans of historical fiction, as well as those who want to know more about Catherine Howard.

Comments

  1. Great review! I didn’t read it as closely as I usually do because I just finished this book last week and I still need to write my review!

  2. Great review! I didn’t read it as closely as I usually do because I just finished this book last week and I still need to write my review!

  3. Very nice review. I have been seeing this book written about and am very interested, so I appreciate your thoughts on it.

  4. Very nice review. I have been seeing this book written about and am very interested, so I appreciate your thoughts on it.

  5. I just read this and I thought it was fun too. I kind of agree about Catherine’s strange motives for her sexual exploits. She was bored, so she did it with lots of men – but she never seemed to worry about the consequences.

  6. I just read this and I thought it was fun too. I kind of agree about Catherine’s strange motives for her sexual exploits. She was bored, so she did it with lots of men – but she never seemed to worry about the consequences.

  7. Catherine Howard is definitely one of Henry VIII’s wives on whom very little fictionalization has been attempted. Guess this will be a good read.. Thanks for the review.

  8. Catherine Howard is definitely one of Henry VIII’s wives on whom very little fictionalization has been attempted. Guess this will be a good read.. Thanks for the review.

  9. I agree with you and others, there doesn’t seem to be much HF about Catherine Howard, and that alone makes me interested in the book. I hadn’t thought about the challenges the author faced when trying to sort out Catherine’s life.

  10. I agree with you and others, there doesn’t seem to be much HF about Catherine Howard, and that alone makes me interested in the book. I hadn’t thought about the challenges the author faced when trying to sort out Catherine’s life.

  11. Yes, Catherine’s motives for sex did bother me a bit around the middle of the book, but then I enjoyed the rest so much I sort of forgot about it…

  12. Yes, Catherine’s motives for sex did bother me a bit around the middle of the book, but then I enjoyed the rest so much I sort of forgot about it…

  13. I always thought they were prudes back then. I love it when historical fiction is accurate.

  14. I always thought they were prudes back then. I love it when historical fiction is accurate.

  15. This sounds like a good one! I need to pick it up…

  16. This sounds like a good one! I need to pick it up…

  17. This is one of those authors that I keep on collecting books by, but I seem to have a hard time reading them… She does look good, though!

  18. This is one of those authors that I keep on collecting books by, but I seem to have a hard time reading them… She does look good, though!

  19. The more reviews I read, the more I think I should add this to my wish list. Thanks for the review.

  20. The more reviews I read, the more I think I should add this to my wish list. Thanks for the review.

  21. I read one book that suggested that peer pressure could be the reason for Catherine’s sleeping around.

    All the older ladies in the household were doing it, and it seemed to be the “in” thing to do.

    This explanation makes sense to me. I guess it is similar to teenage girls pressurized to have boyfriends these days 🙂

  22. I read one book that suggested that peer pressure could be the reason for Catherine’s sleeping around.

    All the older ladies in the household were doing it, and it seemed to be the “in” thing to do.

    This explanation makes sense to me. I guess it is similar to teenage girls pressurized to have boyfriends these days 🙂

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