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Young and Damned and Fair: The Life and Tragedy of Catherine Howard at the Court of Henry VIII Hardcover – 12 Jan 2017
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A Daily Mail Book of the Week
‘A stunning reappraisal of the tragic life of Henry VIII’S fifth wife’ The Times
‘A timely and powerful re-examination of Henry's fifth queen … Gareth Russell has done some beautiful new research to indicate that Catherine was not as foolish as some historians have suggested, and that her death was managed and manipulated by her offended husband, purely for his own revenge … I love it when historians take the women who have been neglected by history seriously and study their lives rather than accepting stereotypes’ Philippa Gregory
‘“Young and Damned and Fair” is everything a historical biography should be’ Kathryn Warner, author of "Edward II: The Unconventional King"
‘Russell marries slick storytelling with a great wealth of learning about sixteenth-century personalities and politics. The result is a book that leads us deep into the nightmarish final years of Henry VIII's reign, wrenching open the intrigues of a poisonous court in a realm seething with discontent. At the heart of it all is the fragile, tragic figure of Catherine Howard, whose awful fate is almost unbearable to watch as it unfolds. This is authoritative Tudor history written with a novelist's lightness of touch. A terrific achievement’ Dan Jones
‘A magnificent account of the rise and fall of Henry VIII's tragic fifth queen – compelling, thought-provoking and above all real. In Russell's meticulously researched narrative Catherine Howard and her household are brought to life as never before. Hugely enjoyable’ Adrian Tinniswood
‘This fascinating and ultimately heartbreaking account of Henry VIII's doomed fifth wife brings to life the cruel, gossip-fuelled, back-stabbing world of the court in which Catherine Howard rose and fell. The uncommonly talented Gareth Russell has produced a masterly work of Tudor history that is engrossing, sympathetic, suspenseful, and illuminating’ Charlotte Gordon, author of Romantic Outlaws
About the Author
Gareth Russell read Modern History at St Peter’s College at the University of Oxford and completed his postgraduate at
Queen’s University, Belfast with a study of Catherine Howard’s household. He has written for the Sunday Times, Tatler and the Irish News and is the author of two novels set in his native Belfast and several books on royal history. He divides his time between Belfast and New York.
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From the moment I picked this up, I couldn’t put it down. Russell’s writing style made me feel less like I was reading a heavy biography and more like I was reading something that had been written for the reader to enjoy. From the first word you find yourself immersed in the world of the Tudor court and that is simply because of the wealth of research that Russell has put into this work. Everything is taken as is. Assumptions are something that just aren’t there in this. Here we see every character of the Tudor court with their flaws written out for all to see – these people come across as human which is incredibly rare in biographies of Catherine Howard. Either Catherine is vilified as a young teenaged whore or those she had dealings with are seen as demons who deserved everything they got. Nothing is black and white in this book. Which is precisely as it would have been.
Having read other biographies on Catherine, and read about her in books on Henry VIII’s six wives, I can one hundred percent tell you all that this book deserves to be seen as the bible on Catherine Howard and her life. It is superbly well researched and excellently written – I can see this book opening up the door to Tudor history for a lot of people, and Gareth Russell deserves some high praise for this wonderful piece of work.
I've been studying the Tudors for many years and even I learnt new things in this book. For example, I always thought that Margaret, Countess of Salisbury was executed within The Tower. But she wasn't. As recorded by Eustace Chapuys and Thomas Writhiosley, the poor old lady was executed OUTSIDE the Tower precincts near Tower Hill.
I would highly recommend this book to any who want to read a good account of Catherine Howard's life, her short time as consort and her death.
Beautifully written, and meticulous, intricate research makes this a must-have volume for anybody interested in the Tudors. It deserves every acclamation it has so far received and I trust it will receive a great many more. Most highly recommended.
Please Mr.Russell, continue writing - you are a genius! When is your next book coming out?
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