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on 4 January 2014
This book picks up where The Agincourt Bride finishes. Catherine of Valois is now Queen of England and waiting to be crowned. She is also eager to produce an heir to the throne.

I am a HUGE fan of historical fiction. Catherine's story is told from the point of view of her ex-nursemaid Mette. Catherine at times is unpredictable resorting back to childish ways if she appears not to get her own way.

As a historical work of fiction, it is beautifully written. Immersing the reader into a sumptuous world before the Wars of The Roses. In a court full of intrigue and plotting. Not forgetting of course the clandestine romance between Owain Tudor and the Dowager Queen. Historical buffs will know that their grandson became Henry VII of England.

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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 January 2014
The Agincourt Bride, the powerful and utterly compelling account of the childhood and youth of Catherine de Valois and her betrothal and marriage to Henry V, was one of my favourite reads of 2013. The Tudor Bride, its sequel, is every bit as wonderful.

The Tudor Bride picks up Catherine's story just where we left it. The young woman and bride arrives in England, carried ashore on the shoulders of her new courtiers, ready to take her place as queen of a foreign land beside the almost godlike figure of England's lion, Henry V. But for Catherine the difficulty doesn't come from learning a new language or getting to know new customs, or even a new husband, it comes from the gentleman and ladies of her court. Young women like Eleanor Cobham compete for position in her household and Catherine soon learns that a slight, however unintentional, may become a wound never to be forgotten. Likewise, trouble brews between Henry's brothers. The Duke of Gloucester in particular is a man to be watched by this young woman, fulfilling her duty, trying so hard to produce heirs for a country that hates her home. All, though, might have been bearable if Henry V had lived. But he didn't.

In this deeply evocative and consuming novel, Joanna Hickson presents a living, breathing portrait of Catherine during the best and worst of times. As a widow and mother to a small boy king, her position is precarious at best. Aside from the political and social difficulties Catherine faces, she is a very young woman, beautiful and kind, who has to fight against people who would willingly destroy her rather than allow her any future happiness. For others, her hand in marriage is a great temptation. Kept from her son, spied upon by his regents and tormented by those who once served her, Catherine's lot is laid out before us in a novel that I couldn't let out of my sight.

To bring us even closer, Catherine's story is told, just as it was in the previous novel, in the first person by her wetnurse, companion and faithful loving servant, Mette. Mette has her own sacrifices to make as well as her own future to hope for and the relationship between Mette and her mistress is not always an easy one. Their upheavals only serve to make their story all the more real for the reader. Mette's tale also permits us to see more than Catherine can. It takes us out of the claustrophobic court, into the streets of London or Paris, and also gives us a wider perspective on what Catherine is enduring. Here we have the origins of the Wars of the Roses (not to mention a glimpse of their end) but told in the most personal way.

But this is not a sad tale, even though there are moments when I cried my eyes out (even on the bus and in the office at lunchtime!). There are moments that are so full of happiness as both Catherine and Mette experience love. The drama of the sinister court goes hand in hand with the more domestic but equally deadly drama of childbirth. Catherine the haughty Queen is matched by Catherine the loving wife, mother and friend. I felt my emotions being pulled up and down like a yoyo and by the end I was drained!

This is historical fiction at its very finest and every bit as wonderful and mesmerising as its predecessor The Agincourt Bride. Characters both historic and fictional shine in this novel, each leaving their own mark, led by Catherine de Valois, Henry V's queen and widow, and her faithful servant and companion Mette. I cannot praise this superb novel enough, I only wish I hadn't finished it. I am very grateful for the review copy.
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on 25 February 2014
I didn't realise this was a sequel until I had got to the end and read the notes. I've read The White Queen and The Red Queen in the last year and, as good as they were, I found this so much more gripping. As I approached the final section I wondered how it would end. I had to stop reading to get on with work but kept waking in the night, wondering what would happen. I resisted googling to learn the historical facts about Catherine.

I just happened to pick this up in the supermarket. There's quite a lot of historical fiction about now and this is superior.
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on 13 December 2014
Unfortunately I didn't find this sequel to be as good as "The Agincourt Bride". The first novel really allowed us to get to know Katherine of Valois on a very human level, whereas within these pages she was somewhat lost. By distancing herself from her companion and former wet nurse, Mette, she became distant from the reader also, which was a shame as in the first novel her personality really shone through the pages. In this novel however it was Mette who glowed, which did a lot to improve the story in my opinion.
Mette is incredibly loyal to Katherine, often to the detriment of her own personal life. Her family takes second place to Katherine and it has always been something that has played on Mette's conscience. In this novel this issue is explored deeply and I was very happy for the way that the author chose to end Mette's story. Although a tragic end for Katherine, Mette and her family found happiness, which gave the novel a very bittersweet ending.
The thing I enjoyed most about this novel were the little bits of fact that I learnt throughout. Things I had previously not known about the beginnings of the Tudor family. For example, that Owen and Katherine had a daughter as well, although she is lost to history. I love how the author chose to include Margaret in her story. Furthermore, I learnt that any record of Owen and Katherine's marriage is also lost to history. It is generally accepted that it did take place, but it's interesting to me that there is technically no proof, especially considering who Katherine's grandson ended up becoming. Food for thought.
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on 7 February 2014
This was by far the best historical fiction I have read in years, the characters are written beautifully, the storyline captivated me in such a way that I finished the two books within two days. With an ending that brought me to tears, I would recommend this book to anyone, be they a lover of historical fiction or not!
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on 27 August 2014
As an avid reader of historical fiction, I couldn't wait to read this book, although doubted it would surpass Alison Weir or Phillipa Gregory, however I was pleasantly surprised. Joanna Hickson adds and exciting 'human' quality; the characters come alive, particularly that of the relationship between Mette and Katherine, which explores maternal relationships and class issues and expectations of the day. This book is the sequel to 'The Agincourt Bride' which is also excellent. I would recommend reading this book first as the book I'm reviewing is a sequel. You get a real glimpse of medieval society, but I enjoyed the human natures of the characters. I have Joanna Hicksons new book on pre-order & look forward to it's release in December! Please keep writing!! 😃
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on 1 February 2014
I couldn't wait to read this novel after having read the previous instalment of Catherine's story, 'The Agincourt bride". This continues on from that one and is told by the same character, Mette, Catherine's former wet nurse and confidante, a device that works wonderfully well as we see the life of the court throughout the eyes of a servant rather than a high born protagonist whilst seeing Catherine through another's eyes rather than her telling her own story.
The only gripe I have with this book is that, if one had read the previous novel, this one was slightly repetitive, especially at first, as the author retold some of the story and referred to events that had happened in The Agincourt Bride in order to set the scene for those readers who had not read that book, or remind those who had read it some time ago. Once that was done however, the pace improved and it was as gripping and well written as Hickson's other work.
It evokes the period well, with wonderful descriptive writing which does not slow down the pace of the story but adds to it. It was particularly interesting that this rendition of the History of Catherine does not end in mod air but takes us right throughout to her eventual her death….something have not read before.
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on 11 June 2014
After having thoroughly enjoyed The Agincourt Bride I looked forward to reading this. Although enjoyable I did not enjoy it as much as The Agincourt Bride, it just seemed to have something missing. The Tudor Bride picks up after Catherine and Henry have married and tells what happens in their life together and after. I felt that the second half of this was more enjoyable and had more going on and therefore more exciting but the first half was a bit hard going to get through. The characters of Catherine and Mette are just as likeable and enjoyable to read about as are the characters of Owen and Geoffrey. The book is well written and it does feel like you are really there with them and experiencing what they went through. As with good historical fiction I end up wishing for a different ending to the one that I know is coming because of history. I would recommend reading The Agincourt Bride first but definitely give this a read too.
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on 25 January 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Agincourt Bride and waited for the conclusion of the story with The Tudor Bride. So little is written about Katharine de Valios, it was refreshing to see life brought into a historical character who seems to have been air brushed by history, even her grandson, Henry VII, removed her tomb and left it on show to the public until the Victorians decided to give her a fitting place beside her husband. It sees her as a young bride and mother and then at the age of 21, a widow, with manipulative characters such as Gloucester and his wife, Eleanor Cobham edging her away from her son, King Henry VI. It shows her love growing for Owen Tudor, her marriage to him and the births of some of their children. Even then, they could not leave her alone in peace. A thoroughly enjoyable read, but such a sad life and death for the grandmother of the Tudor dynasty.
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on 4 May 2014
This was the second book about Catherine I started reading in the same week - the other being The Forbidden Queen - and I ended up stopping reading both of them within the first quarter. I normally enjoy historical fiction, but found both of these books to be without substance.
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