5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
An enjoyable read!,
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This review is from: King's Mistress, Queen's Servant: The Life and Times of Henrietta Howard (Paperback)
I bought this on the strength of the other reviews and I have to say that this is one of the best-flowing biographies I have read for a while. Tracy Borman tells the interesting story of Henrietta Howard in a straightforward way - she does not pepper the page with reference numbers (the times I've read a book and come to the end abruptly, only to find that almost half the pages are actually taken up with notes!), and she also does not commit the cardinal sin of jumping around with the time lines, wandering off to cover the stories of other people, only to pop back about 20 years and you find you have literally lost the plot! Nor does she refer to people by various titles, but keeps to a consistent name. (I appreciate that the nobility can start as one thing and then become a Count or a Duke, or be Madame this, Lady that and then Princess the other ... but I have sometimes become confused and had to turn back several pages or chapters to be certain!) Therefore I read this book straight through and understood and enjoyed it.
It certainly helps if the subject has a straightforward career - but it cannot be said that Henrietta Howard led an ordinary life. Orphaned early, she was married to an absolute bounder who spent all her money and deprived her of her only son. She might have been a King's mistress but there is not much suggestion that she got anything out of it other than a secure job and living quarters...she was certainly no Anne Boleyn with an eye on the main prize.
This is an area of history that I have not previously delved into, but the court intrigue of the time is quite fascinating, even if the kings are not made of the flambouant stuff of the Tudors.
Tracy Borman deals with Henrietta sympathetically, and I will certainly be on the look out for any other biographies by her.