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The Queen's Governess (Thorndike Core) Hardcover – Large Print, 2 Apr 2010

86 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 501 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (2 April 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1410425517
  • ISBN-13: 978-1410425515
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 3,734,146 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 42 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 50 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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Turner VINE VOICE on 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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth S. Wells VINE VOICE on 30 Dec. 2011
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
As a lover of historical novels, I enjoyed The Queen's Governess by Karen Harper, very much. I have read this lovely book swiftly, from cover to cover, including the author's note and the transcript of an interview with her at the end. The book could have stood alone without this, but, it was useful to confirm historicity.

Having watched so many dramatisations of the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, I am fascinated by the character of Kat (Ashley?), the Queen's governess, lady in waiting and companion and it was good to have this chance to focus on her own life, and her friendship with Elizabeth I.

Writing of this shadowy lady, the author immediately takes us into the mind of Kat and the settings she lived and breathed within. You even feel the stiffness and rustle of her heavy brocade dresses. This accuracy of imagination was explained when I read that Karen Harper has an authentic, early Tudor era dress, made by her daughter-in-law, and says, "Wearing it gives me an entirely new view of how my main characters can move - or not move - through a scene".

Written in first person in extended diary form, we see through Kat's eyes, the momentous years from 1516 to 1560; from her home and childhood in Devon right through to her service in various Royal households and Palaces. I would say more, but I do not want to spoil this wonderful read for anyone.

The question must arise, just how historical is this novel? I find that the author has "been praised for her historically accurate attention to detail" and has previously taught English at Ohio State University. So an author who has made the historic novel her own, and is to be trusted in this field and a book that is well-worth reading.
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