Title: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy
(The Marquess House Trilogy #1)
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, What-If
Published: March 28th 2019
Where I Got It: My shelf (Given to me by the author/publisher for my honest and unbiased opinion)
What secrets were covered up at the court of Henry VIII …?
Whitehall Palace, England, 1539
When Catherine Howard arrives at the court of King Henry VIII to be a maid of honour in the household of the new queen, Anne of Cleves, she has no idea of the fate that awaits her.
Catching the king’s fancy, she finds herself caught up in her uncle’s ambition to get a Howard heir to the throne.
Terrified by the ageing king after the fate that befell her cousin, Anne Boleyn, Catherine begins to fear for her life…
Pembrokeshire, Wales, 2018
Dr Perdita Rivers receives news of the death of her estranged grandmother, renowned Tudor historian Mary Fitzroy.
Mary inexplicably cut all contact with Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, but she has left them Marquess House, her vast estate in Pembrokeshire.
Perdita sets out to unravel their grandmother’s motives for abandoning them, and is drawn into the mystery of an ancient document in the archives of Marquess House, a collection of letters and diaries claiming the records of Catherine Howard’s execution were falsified…
You all know my love for what-if and mystery tales! This was right up my alley so I couldn't deny it!
The story follows Perdita in 2018 and Catherine Howard in the 1500s. Perdita and her twin thought that they were cut off from their granny but after their granny dies they realize they are left the Marquess House and all of her money. After moving in, Perdita sets out to uncover the motive for the granny abandoning them. This leads to a darker and more intriguing mystery...did Catherine Howard really die?
I did really enjoy both POVs. I am always inclined to like the historical one a touch more and it was true in this one. Catherine Howard isn't given much love since she wasn't queen long. Her and poor Anne of Cleves are pretty much ignored in the wife series of Henry. *laughs at own joke*. Do I believe Catherine had an affair? I wouldn't blame her in the slightest! However, she was not dumb. I don't think she really did...c'mon the man already murdered one wife and it was your cousin! One would have to be daft for sure. That is why I always questioned the whole thing personally. But again...he was old and gross...can't blame a lass for wanting love!
This tale was a huge what-if. WHAT if Catherine's death was faked? How? Why? And by who? Certainly not by good ol' Henry. *grumbles about insanity and murder*
Now...I agree that Henry had the temper of a wild man, especially in his later years. Do I think he was physically abusive? Maybe...but I don't think he really was. The author really wanted to make sure you hated this man. It is nice and refreshing to see him in this light. Really filling in those bad guy shoes. Some people weren't a fan of this...but I think it fit and it was refreshing. It was also refreshing to see Catherine Howard differently. She wasn't some dumb little girl. She had a brain and I liked it. It was different.
I did enjoy the mystery and the what-if-ness. SO unlikely for 100 reasons, but that is why I liked it. History is written by the winners. We will never, ever truly know.
My only issue was the explanations of certain things. I know it is a what-if, but I felt they were a little weak in explanations.
Also, I wanted more in the ending! YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME LIKE THIS AUTHOR!!! NOO!
Overall, I did like this book. It was refreshing and I was glued from page one. I read it in a couple of sittings because I had to know what was going to happen next! I like that the author took risks with the characters and the story twists. All-in-all, not a bad what-if tale! I'll stamp this with 3 stars.