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The Confession of Katherine Howard
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The Confession of Katherine Howard

3.22  ·  Rating details ·  1,393 Ratings  ·  213 Reviews
From Suzannah Dunn, the critically acclaimed author of The Queen of Subtleties, The Sixth Wife and The Queen’s Sorrow, comes the tragic, gripping, and intensely moving story of Katherine Howard—the fifth wife of England’s King Henry VIII—and the best friend she nearly took down with her. The Confession of Katherine Howard is masterful historical fiction, ideal for fans of ...more
Kindle Edition, 323 pages
Published April 5th 2011 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2010)
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The Book Maven
This was such an annoyingly anachronistic read! GAAAAR! Phrases you will encounter: "I bet..." "Yup." "Kidding!" "It'll blow over." And my personal favorite: "What goes up must come down." (Although I don't have proof, I think it's conventional knowledge that Isaac Newton came up with that phrase, and he wasn't around for another 100 years or so.)

If anything, this is like Gossip Girls set in Tudor England. And while I did keep turning the pages, I was underwhelmed most of the time.

Basic premise
Jul 15, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tudor
The author sabatoged her own work. One cannot read a tudor era novel and not be bothered by modern day phrases/slang and attitudes. I don't understand why Dunn insists on writing Tudor fiction. She should stick to contemporary. She does, I think, have a good handle on human behaviour, particularily the teenage girl. So why not write modern fiction? Also, the title is misleading. It should be called...Katherine Howard as told by Cat. Pass on this one. Pass on this author actually.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed the first part of the book and how it skipped between the past and the present. What I didn't like was how it ended. I felt there was so much more that could have been written - it ended rather awkwardly. There is so much more the author could have used; she didn't incorporate Katherine's frantic plea for survival - running down the hall of the Tower of London, banging on the door where King Henry was - how juicy of a narrative is that? You could do wonders with that or how she asked f ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachael Hewison
I always enjoy learning about Tudor history as I find it such a fascinating period that is full of interesting characters. I’ve read quite a few historical fiction novels delving into the lives of Henry VIII, his wives and Elizabeth I. I’d mainly read books by Philippa Gregory and was keen to try another author of the genre. Step forward Suzannah Dunn. I’d had such hopes for this novel but unfortunately it did not quite live up to my expectations.
I think one of my main issues with the book was i
Apr 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Katherine Howard told through the eyes of Cat Tilney, one of her ladies in waiting. Cat is attendant upon Katherine before she becomes queen and is a witness to the at first sweet and then sexual affair between Katherine and Francis Dereham. Cat herself falls hard for Dereham, but recognises that he is Katherine's. When Katherine becomes queen, she leaves Dereham behind and Cat takes up with him, first as a comforter, then a lover. Queen Katherine, meanwhile, has moved on to ...more
Dick Edwards
May 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I am a big fan of Historial Fiction that takes place during the Tudor period, so perhaps that influenced my opinion of this novel. To put it bluntly: I've read better. Much better. Suzannah Dunn takes perhaps one of the least understood and fictionalized Tudor Queens and somehow fails to deliver a good story about Katherine Howard. Told from the point of view of her friend Cat, the novel is plagued by uneven character development, pages of vague "conversations" between the two main characters th ...more
I assign this to the YoungAdult shelf even though it is published as an adult book. It is a relatively short novel (307 pages) and most of the book takes place when the protagonists (Katherine Howard, later Queen Katherine, and Cat Tylney, her childhood friend and later lady in waiting) are teenagers. There are, however, some explicit sex scenes. Several other reviewers have remarked on the inaccuracy of the title, since the book is not Katherine Howard's confession at all, but Kat Tylney's. The ...more
Jennifer Rayment
The Good Stuff

* Beautifully descriptive
* historically accurate descriptions of the daily lives of the aristocratic young women in Howards life
* Unusual way of dealing with the story of K(C)atherine Howard
* Some great dry humour
* enjoyed the descriptions of Katherine's early life at the duchess' estate

The Not so Good Stuff

* It's uneven in terms of characters motivations and actions
* A little dull
* I have read many books on Katherine Howard and this one just isn't as compelling, I have rea
Jane Botten
Jan 17, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm sorry but I loathe this kind of book, shallow minded, unintelligent women and their narrow minded preoccupation with sex. I flatly cannot believe they were as dim witted as they were portrayed.
Janet Wertman
Aug 19, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tudors
I was conflicted about this one. Loved the writing itself, the way the words flowed. Felt cheated that the title implied a different approach (I expected a story written from Catherine Howard's POV), didn't really like the first person narrative (I rarely do), and got annoyed at some of the too-modern dialogue. I also was in two very different minds about the ending. On the one hand, I found it far too sudden - but at the same time, it really stayed with me (to the point where I reread just thos ...more
This was a struggle to read, a book that takes me longer than three days to read is one I'm not too interested in and this was one of them.

I love historical fiction and this wasn't what I would called 'historical'. I didn't feel as though I was in a duchess' household and then the court of Henry VIII, words such 'kidding' 'stuff'and 'yup' were used which, to my knowledge, were not words of Tudor England. It felt more like a chick flick/teen drama than a time in one of the most dangerous years in
Dec 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life in the household of the Dutchess of Norfolk was susposed to be a stepping stone to social graces and eduction. Mother's sent their noble daughters to be taught to read Latin, play the virginals and dance. What the girls really learned was very little in the way of prep for a position at court. The improvished noblewoman kept up a front, all the while keeping very little control over the doings in her household. In fact, the girls were allowed to 'run a little wild'.

Writen not by Katherine,
Teresa Gibson
I'm really on the fence about this one. There is much to admire about it, but also much to dislike. First of all, what I didn't like--another first person narrative, although I do understand why it's used--to keep Katherine at a distance and to judge her strictly by her actions, without letting the character's inner motivations justify her deeds. I also dislike the modern dialogue. It's not that difficult to make dialogue read and sound authentic to the time period (see Margaret Irwin's Elizabet ...more
Brittany B.
I think the author just gave up. The book had potential, but the author seems to have lost focus. The stories got muddled up, and the narrative ended abruptly. I don't know what the point of this book was:
This book is not the confessions of Katherine Howard, at all. Instead, it is told from her friend Kat's POV. Kat tells us about Howard and Francis Dereham's early relationship. She also describes growing up in the Duchess' household with Katherine. We are told about Katherine and Thomas's liai
Queen Katherine, the fifth Queen of Henry VIII, has always been a character overlooked often. She has often been described as a teenager girl who was made the Queen to satisfy her uncle's ambitious plans for her family and she was equally naive about it. It gets difficult to comprehend the character as such, with a crown on head and a giggle on face, married to a persona like Henry VIII. Curious to find out more about the Queen, I stumbled upon this book in a book store and decided it will help ...more
Sandra Fahrlender
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good! I love all things King Henry the VIII, and really anything about England History. I just recently watched The Tudors and felt like Katherine Howard was thrown into the position (fully willing) but not completely "trained" on what a good queen should be. She was only 19 years old when she became Queen and this book details her teen life and then the days before she was beheaded. I enjoyed this book and would recommend to others if you are interested knowing the back history of Katherine How ...more
I was slightly disappointed with this book as the "confession of Katherine Howard" is not actually in Katherine's voice, but rather one of her maids-in-waiting. In a way I don't feel that Katherine plays a big enough role in her own "confession", and am left ambivalent about her character.

I have given the book three stars largely due to the amount of historical research and facts about every-day living in Tudor England, with a pleasing amount of detail being included.
Richard Lee
Apr 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was beguiled by this novel. Some people feel that Suzannah writes with too modern a voice, but that's not a barrier for me. This was an intimate, very normalising portrait of people in an utterly bizarre situation. It's cleverly structured too, so that you could revisit the lightest filigree moments and realise there was weight to them that you had not at first perceived.
Apr 20, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book being historical fiction was a fun read to see what Katerine Howard may have been thinking or acting like during her times at "boarding school" and while she King Henry VIII's wife. The ending we all know is that she is beheaded.

Feb 23, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just could not get into this one. I loved the idea of this book, but the story just fell flat for me. The characters did not feel believable and honestly I just could care less about most of them.
This was a bummer since I really wanted to love this story.
Sarah u

I enjoyed this. It was a nice easy read while I was ill. It was a good story, well written, though I think the potential audience are (slightly) younger than me.
Jori Richardson
This brief story recounts portions of Katherine Howard's girlhood, as well as her days as queen and her disastrous fate. It is told from the viewpoint of Cat, a naive girl who grew up with Katherine and now serves as her lady in waiting.

The book starts out ominously:
"I was thinking... this is who we are: the perfect queen and her faithful retinue. Now, I wish I could go back, patter over the lavish carpets to tap us on the shoulders, whisper in our ears and get us out alive." (page 4)
I found thi
The Confession of Katherine Howard is the third book of Dunn's that I've read and I'm pretty clear on what her style is now. In fact, I'm so clear on it that I could almost use the review I wrote four years ago on The Sixth Wife verbatim as my review for Confession.

The similarities range from having a protagonist who is not the character implied in the title (and all four of them different takes on "Katherine"s) to a modern style of speech and slang to liberal use of poetic licence. From said ea
Michelle Cristiani
It is always hard to read historical fiction when you know the end, and that it is not a happy one. This story is told by Cat Tilney, who did exist, but Dunn makes central a romance between her and Francis Dereham - so that from the first page, the reader knows what Tilney's hopes will amount to.

The book starts slowly and somewhat awkwardly, but steadily picks up steam, so that by midway the writing is tighter, indeed very poetic. The last chapter or two are exciting because there is just enoug
Someone must someday define what exactly it is that makes some books devouringly readable and others simply dry and tedious. Sadly, this book was the latter. Something about the syntax made this feel too modern--the far-too-familiar turns of phrase, the use of so many lazy contractions in casual speech--and I couldn't ever quite buy in.
Further, I couldn't buy the whole "Kate as Cat's best friend" notion. I couldn't understand at what point that bond of loyalty was forged, because honestly, Kate
Jan 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is not really about the confessions of Katherine. It is a story told by her friend/ Lady in Waiting about Katherine Howards, how Katherine was in her youth, before meeting the King and what happened to her in the end.

Really interesting to find out about the intrigues at Court and how short your life could be. Also sad to see that the 12-years-old girls were chasing only one dream: to get married with a rich man and have lots of properties to administrate.

Some pages were a lil'bit boring thou
Clare Smith
the only thing that let this book down for me was the irritating usage of modern language and idioms. I found this made the whole book nonsensical considering it was a historical novel. Lazy writing in my opinion.
2.5 stars. Typical characterization of Katherine Howard. The author brought nothing new to the existing narrative. The use of Cat Tilney as a narrator didn't really work for me. More of a young adult novel than anything else.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 24, 2015 09:07AM  
  • Rivals in the Tudor Court (Tudor Court #2)
  • Death And The Virgin: Elizabeth, Dudley and the Mysterious Fate of Amy Robsart
  • Her Mother's Daughter: A Novel of Queen Mary Tudor
  • Mary & Elizabeth
  • His Last Letter: Elizabeth I and the Earl of Leicester
  • The King's Diamond
  • All the Queen's Players
  • To Serve a King
  • The Queen's Governess
  • Mary, Queen of France (Tudor Saga, #9)
  • Rival to the Queen
  • No Will But His: A Novel of Kathryn Howard
  • The Tudor Throne
  • The Girl in the Mirror
  • The Queen's Mistake (In the Court of Henry VIII, #2)
  • Blood Royal
  • Pale Rose of England
  • The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr (Ladies in Waiting #2)
Suzannah Dunn was born in London, and grew up in the village of Northaw in Hertfordshire (for Tudor ‘fans’: Northaw Manor was the first married home of Bess Hardwick, in the late 1540s). Having lived in Brighton for nineteen years, she now lives in Shropshire. Her novel about Anne Boleyn (The Queen of Subtleties) was followed by The Sixth Wife, on Katherine Parr, and The Queen's Sorrow, set during ...more
More about Suzannah Dunn