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The Queen's Governess Hardcover – 21 Jan 2010


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 359 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (21 Jan. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399156186
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399156182
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 19.4 x 3.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (82 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,040,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

"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) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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 --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. A. Wright VINE VOICE on 31 July 2011
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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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By K. Glaister VINE VOICE on 12 Aug. 2011
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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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Debs VINE VOICE on 11 Sept. 2011
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Cleopatra on 15 July 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Queen's Governess is the story of Kat Ashley, an innocent girl who is plucked from obscurity by Thomas Cromwell and placed in the household of Anne Boleyn. In 1537 she becomes the governess for Princess Elizabeth, eventually becoming one of Elizabeth's closest confidants and First Lady of the Bedchamber.

This period of this book has been researched well, providing a factual account of many events during this time. Karen Harper makes the characters come to life, adding an ease to reading her work. However, I often find that books written from the perspective of others within the household and not the main historic characters themselves can appear rather false. They seem more unreal then if the story had been about Elizabeth herself...and sadly I felt that this was the case here. Whilst there are many factual accounts that occur, Kat's story is not as engrossing as Elizabeth's would have been (although I appreciate that her story has been told many times before).

Although this book is not as good as Karen Harper's Mistress Shakepeare, it is certainly factual and entertaining.
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