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The Queen's Governess [Paperback]

Karen Harper
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
RRP: £6.99
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Book Description

4 Aug 2011

'I could not fathom they were going to kill the queen. Nor could I bear to witness Anne Boleyn's beheading...'

As a favour to a doomed queen, Kat Ashley agrees to become governess and confidante to the young Elizabeth Tudor. Together they suffer bitter exile, assassination attempts, and imprisonment, barely escaping with their reputations and their lives intact. But when Elizabeth is eventually crowned, Kat continues to serve her, faithfully guarding all of the queen's secrets, even the one that could bring down the monarchy...

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The Queen's Governess + The Queen's Confidante + The King's Concubine
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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Ebury Press (Fiction) (4 Aug 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091940419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091940416
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 208,165 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Harper's diligent research, realistic portrayal, and insider/outsider heroine will hook those who can't get enough of England's turbulent history...bestseller Harper maintains her focus on the roles of women - both powerful and powerless - in Tudor England, resulting in another enjoyable proto-feminist historical romp" (PUBLISHERS WEEKLY)

"A walk side by side with one of history's most dynamic characters" (Anne Perry)

"Well paced and full of pitch-perfect detail, Harper's novel brings new life to an old subject and, as good as the best of Philippa Gregory, is sure to be a big hit with historical fiction fans and book clubs" (LIBRARY JOURNAL)

"All in all, a lively and historically grounded reimagining of two Tudor survivors" (Kirkus)

"Taking a fresh view of Elizabeth I through the eyes of her confident governess, Harper delivers a strong story. Her keen sense of the role remarkable women played in history allows readers a fantastic view in this carefully researched, meticulously crafted book" (Romantic Times)

Book Description

A brilliant, intriguing historical novel set in Queen Elizabeth I's court and told from the unique perspective of her most trusted adviser...Kat Ashley

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars captivating well written book 31 July 2011
By Mrs. A. Wright VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I thoroughly enjoyed this description of tudor life. It is partly the story of Elizabeth the first told by her nurse/governess Cat Ashley. I was not particularly looking forward to reading this book because there has been so much written about Elizabeth (some by my favourite authors) that I felt tt was just another tudor novel. I didnt really think there could be anything new left to write about. However this part fact part fiction novel is well written with excellent descriptions and wonderful characterisation. It deals with Cat's early life and also her personal life as well as her life during service to the Tudors. Parts of the book was fiction and we can't really know how strong Cat's influence was on Elizabeth. All we really know is that she was without doubt a great queen. I found the descriptions of Tudor life really well done and loved hearing about the private Cat. Without hesitation I would recommend this book not only to history buffs but to anyone who enjoys a good tale.
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45 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Historical gem 12 Aug 2011
By K. Glaister VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I took five books with me on holiday last week. This was the last of the five that I read; I think I thought it might be too heavy to be enjoyed on a sun lounger but I was very wrong, a couple of pages in and I was hooked! I then worried that I would not have time to finish the book once I got home but I needn't have worried, my plane was delayed by 24 hours and I therefore had plenty of time!
This book is extremely well researched, and it is evident from the notes pages at the end, that much time and effort has gone into making this book as 'true' as possible.
This story tells the story of Kat Ashley, very much a minor player in the scheme of things and starts with her as a young girl and finishes some 30 years later with the crowning of Elizabeth Tudor (Queen Elizabeth I) to whom Kat was fist companion, then governess and finally a trusted friend.
The years 1516 - 1559 were facinating with more twists, plots and schemes than East Enders! Henry VIII and his wives, Cromwell, the Seymours, Queen Mary I and many, many others are all brought to life in this very enjoyable and believable book. I have read many books on this period in time and it was refreshing to read about all the great and good (and bad) in the eyes of a servant rather than one of the main players.
If you enjoy historical fiction then you will enjoy this one.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
I admit I am slightly hooked on novels on the Tudors and have read a fair few of them from a variety of authors. So it was mixed feelings that I picked up this book - part of me felt that familiar attraction to a novel of this time period, and part was wondering whether it could stand out from the rest or whether it would be just another story of Elizabeth Tudor. I was pleasantly surprised - this novel has a completely different feel to it and that is mainly due to perspective.

Unlike the other similar novels I have read, this one is supposedly told by Kat Ashley, Elizabeth's governess and later companion and therefore, the one who probably knows her best. The story of Elizabeth is told from her viewpoint and this gives it a perspective that I have not come across before. Even more interesting is the author's inclusion of Kat's early years - despite this novel being ostensibly Elizabeth's story, the Tudor princess does not even feature for a considerable time. Instead the author focuses on Kat's childhood, her meeting with Cromwell, her upbringing and her eventual placement as one of Anne Boleyn's companions. It was interesting to read of the life of an ordinary person as well as that of one of royal birth. We do have to accept that much of the detail of Kat's early years is speculation but the author is honest about this and includes an interesting section at the end of the novel where she cites her sources and explains how she selected the evidence for her tale.

As far as writing style is concerned, this is an easy novel to digest. It perhaps lacks some of the rich description found in the works of Philippa Gregory, but makes up for it with strong character development and realistic dialogue. The characters are realistic and credible, and it is easy to lose oneself in their world. I would think that those who enjoy the works of Gregory or Weir would similarly enjoy this novel.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars been there, read that 30 Aug 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Yet another novel written on the Tudors, especially Elizabeth, this book is, by turns, a romance, an historical, and a soap opera. The main problem seems to be that it is written in first person - so little is known about Katherine Champernowne, later Kat Ashley, that a personal retelling doesn't really flesh out the bones of her story. It would have been more interesting to have another person's account of the same incidents running parallel to hers. As it is, it's not exactly gripping reading, beacause any Tudor afficionado will already know 'what happens next'. Making the reader care about it is something else. It is well researched,which is great, but tends to be a little dry. Also, in spite of that research, there are some howling modern language clunkers that slip through. Whilst not expecting the story in the original Tudor (!) I was a bit irked to see modern American language like:'don't you 'sass' me' - not ever a British turn of phrase, surely?! I counted at least three such mistakes, so the editing was also at fault. Character wise, Kat and Elizabeth stand out from the rest of the cast, well, it's their 'love story', so fair enough. However, the rest of the glittering cast is so much wallpaper. Aside from that, Kat is the heroine of a HP novel - a beautiful orphan who leaps at the chance to spy for her betters and so rise in society, from Anne Boleyn's servant to that of her daughter. There's the obligatory rape, a romance that eventually leads to marriage, pursuit by enemies, imprisonment, release,etc etc. The author also doesn't properly round off the story, so Kat's death is dealt with in the notes that follow. Everyone seems interested in these notes,the writer's bio, and the advert for the 'next' book (on Shakespeare's 'wife' apparently) but having persevered that far, I would have preferred the book to follow through.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Published 10 days ago by cantoris
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read
Love the way Karen Harper writes her novels. Very believable and down to earth. Would recommend Shakespeare's Mistress if you haven't already had the pleasure.
Published 4 months ago by Angela Slater
4.0 out of 5 stars Karen Harper historical Novel
I enjoyed this book almost as much as I did Phillipa Gregory's books of a similar vein. A good historical novelist to add to my list.
Published 5 months ago by Carol A Martell
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical fiction
A good read Very educational. Karen Harper really brings the characters to life. it also makes you realise all the treachery that went on in the courts and the power played out by... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Donald Ducky
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, different perspective
I loved this book, really enjoy history, and nice to read something from a different perspective. The facts are true, with an interesting story woven around them.
Published 11 months ago by suei
3.0 out of 5 stars The Queen's Governess
I was quite intrigued by The Queen's Governess initially. Harper creates an interesting background for Kat Ashley, and I was interested to see how she would get from these... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Isis
4.0 out of 5 stars The Tudor Court from the inside.
An interesting insight into life from the perspective of one of the lesser known but important characters of the Tudor court spanning four reigns
Published 14 months ago by History lover
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good and well written
excellent. I thought i knew the story but this was another slant on it.
I love the references to Katherine Parr - she is one of my favourite characters
Published 14 months ago by sue stretton
5.0 out of 5 stars Good reading 2
After reading Karens Irish princess my wife just had to carry on with The Queens Governess which she enjoyed and it gave me peace so carry on writing Karen
Published 16 months ago by Mr. J. Cooper
4.0 out of 5 stars The Queens Governess
Excellent reading which held my full interest until the very end. Good story. The ending was a little abrupt but this didn't affect my view on the book.
Published 16 months ago by Mr J W Simpson
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