Thursday, May 27, 2010

Review: The Queen's Governess by Karen Harper

Title: The Queens Governess
Author: Karen Harper
Genre: Historical Fiction
A library find!

I don't know what it is about the Tudors that makes me want to read historical fiction books about them-especially ones that feature Anne Boleyn. Everyone knows how that story ends-but I'm still captivated and love being tossed back through time.  One of the things that drew me to this book was that it featured- Katherine "Kat" Ashley, the governess to Anne Boleyns daughter, the future Queen of England-Elizabeth.  In almost every book I've read about this time her name has come up, but she's never a central figure in any of the stories. I thought it would be interesting to see a perspective from a person who wasn't a key player in the whole Tudor drama.

The story begins with the beheading of Anne Boleyn, and how upset Kat is over what has happened to the Queen, and can't believe how far she has come since growing up in Devon. We then go back in time to Kats time in Devon, and see how she rises from a poor country girl to someone working in the Queens entourage.  A chance encounter with Thomas Cromwell-who hasn't yet come into his full power, makes him realize that Kat is super smart for a country girl, and would a perfect spy for him in the royal household. A few years go by, and Katherine thinks Cromwell has forgotten about their deal that would finally take her to London. Cromwell hasn't forgotten her-he was busy working his way up and becoming more and more powerful. When he sees that Anne Boleyn is close to in becoming the next Queen of England, Cromwell calls upon Kat to become a spy in her chamber.   In politics things are never as they seem, and Kat quickly becomes caught up in court life. There is a romance story and a semi love triangle that made this book enjoyable to read along with the tale of the Tudors.

I am so torn about this book. On the one hand, the story was engrossing, the characters were likable, and I enjoyed hearing about the Tudors from a third persons point of view. I was convinced I was going to absolutely love this book, when halfway through the book I started noticing that there was a lot of modern day English being used for a story being set in the 1500s. Normally this doesn't bother me-there's nothing I hate more then a lot of  "art thous" and  the like. However, I sincerely doubt that the word lame was ever thought of by Kat Ashley.  I also highly doubt that Queen Elizabeth ever said the words Like, now-but maybe I'm just being too judgmental. I didn't mind the tweaking of historical events to fit the storyline as much as the modern English thrown in did-it just took away something from the story for me.

Aside from the modern English used and a few tweaks of historical events that happen with all works of historical fiction, because it's well, fiction this was an enjoyable read-and I would like to read other books by the author because I'm a sucker for historical fiction.