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The Confession of Katherine Howard Paperback – 12 May 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: William Collins (12 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007258305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007258307
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (72 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 144,743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Suzannah Dunn is the author of nine previous novels including 'Darker Days Than Usual' and 'Venus Flaering'. Her more recent novel, 'The Queen of Subtleties', tells the story of Anne Boleyn's downfall and was followed by the bestselling 'The Sixth Wife', the heartrending downfall of Katherine Parr, in 2007 and 'The Queen's Sorrow', about the tragedy of Mary Tudor, in 2008. Her most rnew novel, 'The Confession of Katherine Howard' is a magisterial return to the court of Henry VIII. She lives in Shropshire.

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Review

'Dunn gives the story a vivid, contemporary feel, and Katherine's conversations with her closest friend, Cathryn Tilney, are gossipy and intimate, full of sly innuendo and confidences.' Marie Claire

'Those who have fallen in love with the drama of the Tudor period will devour the Confession of Katherine Howard…an insightful foray into the life of one of Henry VIII's most misunderstood yet fascinating wives.' Scottish Sunday Herald

‘Gripping, a pageturner, a thriller … Dunn’s book has an incisive insight into how manipulative people work.’ Dublin Evening Herald

About the Author

Suzannah Dunn is the author of ten previous books, all of which have been critically acclaimed. She has written three historical novels: ‘The Queen of Subtleties’, ‘The Sixth Wife’ and ‘The Queen’s Sorrow’. She lives in Shropshire.


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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Y. Hannon on 4 Aug. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I can sometimes be difficult to find a fresh writer to put on your 'favourite' list - but I have with Suzannah Dunn. I love this book so much I've now bought her earlier works: on Anne Boleyn (The Queen of Subtleties); Catherine Parr (The Sixth Wife); and Mary I (The Queen's Sorrow). For me, Suzannah is now right up there with Phillippa Gregory and Alison Weir. Although lots has been written about Katherine Howard, I can honestly couldn't put down 'The Confession'. The familiar story is told here with a renewed vigour, originality and suspense. A great book!
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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Charliecat on 26 April 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The story of the teenage Katherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, has been told numerous times in fact and in fiction but rarely so compellingly or with such style as in Susannah Dunn's new novel. The reader is plunged straight into the middle of the story, just days before Katherine Howard's fall from grace, and then taken back to Katherine's early years at the Duchess of Norfolk's house.

Told in the first person by Cat Tilney (a lady-in-waiting and childhood friend of Katherine's) we are told about their time together as teenagers where, with other girls, they were supposed to be learning to be ladies but were learning more about boys than anything else in the lax and slipshod Duchess' residence.

The story alternates between the claustrophobic Tudor court and the carefree life in the Duchess' house. This may sound confusing but the switch over between the past and present are always smooth and never jar on the reader.

Katherine Howard is portrayed as more knowing than I would have thought and she's a difficult character to warm to at times but the reader is always reminded of her youth, how little she really knew of the pitiless and vindictive Tudor court. Henry VIII is never really portrayed only glimpsed as a massive, monstrous and god-like figure who can destroy lives from a distance.

Susannah Dunn also tells a love story as the narrator falls in love with Francis Dereham only to have it all fall apart around her. It is a stunning story of betrayal, passion, innocence and fear packed with emotion and incident. Beautifully told, I was hooked until the last page.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Essex Girl on 6 July 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Confession of Katherine Howard is set over a few days in November 1541 and also told in flashback. We hear the story from the perspective of her best friend and lady-in-waiting Cat(herine) Tilney. Katherine is Henry VIII's fifth wife, she is only 19 and is really just a young girl from the country who happened to be related to the influential Howard family (The Duke and Duchess of Norfolk's family name). However, something is amiss and the lover of Cat (who was previously Katherine's boyfriend), Francis Dereham, is being interrogated about his previous relationship with the new Queen. This leads Cat to look back at the journey she and Katherine have taken, that brought them to the Tudor Court.

Cat first met Katherine whilst being tutored at the home of the Duchess of Norfolk with a number of other girls. They were supposed to be learning about becoming ladies and how to run their own household, but these teenage girls had lots of romantic dreams. I got the impression that Cat was quite naïve, she was bright but had been sheltered and knew little about `ways of the heart' and wanted desperately to please her family and make them proud. Katherine meanwhile had no real family, and was much more confident than Cat, but quietly so. She comes across as very enigmatic, and we only learn what she is prepared to reveal to Cat. Katherine has more romances than Cat, and knew how to catch the attention of men, which Cat was clueless about. Whilst neither girl could be considered sophisticated, it is Katherine's influential family connections that get her a place at court, as a lady-in-waiting to Anne of Cleves, something none of the other girls had even dreamed of.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Roman Clodia TOP 100 REVIEWER on 18 April 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a wonderfully-engaging re-telling of the story of Katherine Howard, Henry VIII's fifth wife, and manages to make a familiar tale genuinely fresh again. Set very much around a female court and household this is a story about female bodies, female duplicity and female sexuality.

Dunn, I think wisely, chooses not to have the narrative told by Katherine herself but, instead, by her girlhood friend and lady-in-waiting Cat Tilney. This allows her to maintain Katherine's own air of slightly enigmatic charisma and keeps us close to her without allowing us into Katherine's own head.

I particularly liked the way this doesn't portray Tudor women as closet modern-day women, as so many historical books do, always complaining about their lack of education and inability to choose their own husbands - something which no genuine C16th women do from the historical sources. Instead we see girls excited by the idea of arranged marriage because it gives them their own place at the head of the household. At the same time, women's ability to manage 'romance' as something outside of marriage, always problematic, is explored.

This Katherine is not particularly intelligent (but definitely not stupid either), not particularly pretty but still a powerful character in her self-belief and self-sufficiency, and pure inability to understand that anything can destroy her.

The narrative is split between long sections set in the present of the investigation against Katherine, and the past of her girlhood. But because the sections are long, the narrative avoids the choppy feel of similar structures and gives us time to settle into the story.

There are no 'good' and 'bad' characters in this book, it's far more nuanced than that.
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