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Rose Without a Thorn (Queens of England #11)

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  2,589 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
From the pen of legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy comes an unforgettable true story of royalty, passion, and innocence lost.

Born into an impoverished branch of the noble Howard family, young Katherine is plucked from her home to live with her grandmother, the Duchess of Norfolk. The innocent girl quickly learns that her grandmother's puritanism is not shared by Kat
Published January 23rd 1995 by HarperCollins (first published January 1st 1993)
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Nov 06, 2011 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Katherine Howard has always been my least favorite of the wives of Henry VIII. She lacked the royal dignity of Katherine of Aragon, the wit and sophistication of her cousin Anne Boleyn, the quiet calculation of Jane Seymour, the sweet (yet canny) acceptance of Anne of Cleves, and the mature calm of Katherine Parr. Katherine Howard was little more then a uneducated, teenage nitwit. The fact that she was uneducated was completely out of her control. The fact of her youth is more an indictment agai ...more
In the books about Katherine Howard she is either portrayed as the sluttish Queen who cheated on Henry VIII or a young and hapless girl who was never taught proper behaviour and ended up dead at her family's ambition. The author casts Katherine in this book as a bit silly, over enthusiastic with her feelings and a victim.

I have always liked Jean Plaidy as a Tudor writer because she really brings the characters to life and takes time to develop them through the story. This book is the same. Kathe
Rio (Lynne)
Dec 02, 2011 Rio (Lynne) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone wanting to learn about Katherine Howard
When I saw this book at the library I thought it might give me some new information on Katherine. I know of her life at court and what brought her downfall, but was hoping for a new look into her childhood and what made her make the decisions she made. This is also my first Plaidy novel. This book was not fluffy, but not heavy either. I felt it was accurate, from Kat's poor upbringing due to her great-grandfather fighting for Richard III, to her moving into her aunt's house where there was littl ...more
This is the first Jean Plaidy book that I have read. The story is told from the perspective of Katherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry the VIII. I picked it up after watching season 3 of the The Tudors, where she is introduced. I realized I knew nothing about her and thought the way she was portrayed was totally scandalous and I needed to know more! This book isn't quite as titillating as the TV show, of course, but it is probably closer to the truth.

I found the writing very repetitive. I kno
Ashley W
First let me say this: I don't care what anyone else says about Katherine Howard. She was definitely a VICTIM of her time period and the patriarchal traditions of England at the time. She was not a dumb blond, a slut, or any other derogatory name given to women who might be a little too friendly with the opposite sex. From a young age, Katherine has been a VICTIM, and I absolutely commend Jean Plaidy for portraying her thus. Jean Plaidy made Katherine Howard a strong character where usually she ...more
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I read quite a few of the books by Jean Plaidy in the Queen's of England series when I was younger. They're hard to come by since they are out of print. I decided to collect the rest (still missing one) and catch up on my royal reading. I'm hoping my feelings for this book have more to do with the fact that I've read a better one about Katherine Howard than I may no longer like the writing style. It started out fine, although I was a little disgusted by the way Katherine was allowed to behave wh ...more
I love Jean Plaidy's ability to tell a story of the history in her novels and I liked the way she has articulated Katherine Howard. Plaidy has made Katherine likeable. Katherine is naive, and comes of age very quickly at a time when one needed to fully understand the world around them.

The story starts out with Katherine Howard talking to a scribe/friend, and it is all presented as the story she is telling to that person in the days leading up to her death.

Although the story is not a new one, it
Jul 09, 2017 Vasilena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jean Plaidy weaves a good story - sadly the life of Katherine Howard is short but the story is deepy nuanced.
Whitney White
This wasn't a great book, but it wasn't a bad book, either. It was mediocre. However, I did learn a lot about Catherine Howard that I had not known before.
The Rose Without A Thorn was my first historical fiction book and I chose it thanks to Tamzin Merchant's performance of Katherine Howard in the fourth season of The Tudors.
The book tells the story of the fifth queen of Henry the VIII ,Katherine Howard being the narrator.

Spoilers and plot alert !!
The story begins with Katherine in The Tower talking to The Scribe, deciding to tell the truth version of the facts that led her to this place.
This way we are taken back to the time Katherine was a litt
Kylie Cheung
May 27, 2013 Kylie Cheung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tudors, six-wives
Of all of Henry VIII's six wives, Katherine Howard stood out -- and still does today -- because she was the least meant for the crown. Catherine of Aragon was essentially born into her betrothal with the English throne, Anne Boleyn had all the intelligence and charisma the position required and more, Jane Seymour knew how to stay in the good graces of a royal husband, Anne of Cleves was a German princess, and Katherine Parr was dutiful and smart. Yet Katherine Howard grew up in what is the femal ...more
Lisa (Harmonybites)
Mar 26, 2011 Lisa (Harmonybites) rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No One
Recommended to Lisa (Harmonybites) by: The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Ultimate Reading List
"Rose without a thorn" is what Henry VIII called his fifth wife, Katherine Howard, a callow teen when he married her. The prologue already begins with her in the Tower and sure she's about to suffer the fate of her cousin and predecessor, Anne Boleyn, who was beheaded by Henry. Katherine asks a woman with her to set down her story so she can better understand what led her to this point--the conceit of the novel that what follows is the story of her life as told to this lady.

Katherine comes acro
Aug 29, 2010 Marci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
I've long known the history of King Henry VIII of England--he and his many wives. (Think "divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Ha!)The most well known to me was Anne Boleyn, his 2nd wife. Most probably from the movie ANNE OF THE THOUSAND DAYS, with Genevieve Bujold and Richard Burton. Anne lost her head over her husband, quite literally. I did not, however, know very much about Henry's 4th wife, Anne Boleyn's 1st cousin, Katherine Howard. I did know she met much the same fate ...more
Linda Lipko
Dec 26, 2010 Linda Lipko rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tudor-history
From the start, Catherine Howard didn't stand a chance of survival in Henry VIII's snake pit of a court.

Unlike Catherine of Aragon, she lacked depth of spirtual quality; unlike her clever, quick-witted cousin Anne Bolyen, she lacked savvy; unlike Jane Seymour, she lacked grace; unlike Anne of Cleves, she lacked the ability to sit quietly and learn the strange customs of a court filled with political intrigue and danger.

A mere child when she arrived at her grandmother's lax household, she blindly
Mar 10, 2012 lia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure about this book. I want to like it but found that i couldn't.

The positive side is this book is easy to read and with only 200 pages or so, hence making it a fast read.

The things that i don't like very much are:
- first person narrative. Never really like it. And in this case, making the story unbelievable. Katherine Howard is being pictured as simpleton, naive and innocent. So it doesn't make any sense when several times in this book she knows what she knows.

- I don't believe Kat
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
Katherine Howard among those of Henry's queens that I knew the least about (her and Catherine Parr). In fact all I knew about her was that she was related to Anne Boleyn. Plaidy does give a good account of her life and a very readable one at that. Some chapters into the book, I thought back to the only other Plaidy I've read so far- on Sir Thomas More, and how much 'richer' the descriptions of his life in that book seemed than this one, but then it occurred to me that this was probably because h ...more
Sep 29, 2011 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Katherine Howard grew up in an impoverished family. Her father was often away at Calis. Her overwhelmed mother died young. Katherine, one of eight children, had little education or direction. The Duchess of Norfolk (Katherine's grandmother) favors Katherine and offers her a home. Katherine now has regular meals and adequate clothing. She is instructed in music-the virginals.

In the years that follow, Katherine becomes romantically involved with Henry Manox, Frances Derham, and Thomas Culpepper. T
Mirah W
Jul 22, 2011 Mirah W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this Plaidy book about Katherine Howard. In this version Katherine is portrayed as the lovable one of the Howard family whose primary fault is giving away her heart too easily. At times I was annoyed by her but most of the time I felt bad that she was born into such a cunning and manipulative family. I liked that it is told in hindsight and Katherine acknowledges throughout the story where she might have gone wrong and what she could have done differently. I liked both Francis a ...more
Dec 23, 2012 Luci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have really become fond of Philippa Gregory. With Gregory, the reader can indulge a love of history, but still be entertained with a good story and interesting characters. The Queen's Fool is no exception.

Told from the vantage point of Hannah Verde, a clairvoyant, the reader experiences the death of Edward and the ascention of Mary Tudor. Hannah still has many of her own adventures outside of court life, but her connection with the ruling class is always at the forefront of this tale.

This book
Henry VIII's fifth wife, Katharine Howard was very young. Many at the time saw a difference in Henry after he married Katharine. He felt younger and seemed in better health. In this historical novel, Jean Plaidy examines just how Katharine may have felt. She paints a picture of a young girl who didn't understand what she was getting into. Katharine is someone who was born to love and that love is what ultimately doomed her. When she went to live with her grandmother, she entered a place where da ...more
I read this book immediately following Philippa Gregory's "The Boleyn Inheritance", which made sense seeing as they both cover the same characters. I liked reading them back to back in order to get a more well rounded view of her character.

Plaidy's Katherine is looking back on her life retelling all of the events that have led up to her present state. You even get some little side notes like "if I had only known" or "I would have done that differently". It's refreshing to see someone of that ti
Katie Bliss
Apr 02, 2016 Katie Bliss rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I've read "The Other Boleyn Girl", which was far more sensational (and covered Henry VIII's marriage to Anne Boleyn), whereas this book is told from the point of view of Henry's fifth wife, Catherine Howard. This is a much cleaner historical novel and did a good job showing what it would've been like to be young, beautiful and naive, but with a strong family name that eventually took you places - like marriage to the king.

That part also made the book a little frustrating; you just wanted to sha
Apr 30, 2013 Eva rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
The Rose Without a Thorn is the story of Catherine Howard (cousin of Anne Boleyn), the young and vibrant fifth wife of Henry VIII. Jean Plaidy weaves a enthralling account of her young, poor, uneducated and unsupervised life.

In a first person narrative, Catherine tells us how she came to court and to the notice of the fat, old (49 to Catherine's 19)king, her short stint as queen and her demise.

Having read several accounts of the young Catherine, Plaidy's had me liking her, sympathizing for the
Mar 07, 2009 Lauren rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a short novella about Katherine Howard, fourth wife of Henry VIII. Jean Plaidy does a good job of getting across that Katherine was a ditzy teenager with poor supervision and lax parenting who inadvertently captured a king. She was a pawn of her powerful uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, but little loved by her family. Her downfall was of her own doing - she was unfaithful to a vain, violent, vengeful king who had already murdered one wife. Yet, Katherine is a sympathetic character, yoked to a ...more
I didn't like this book as much as some other similar historical fiction I've read. It told the story of Katherine Howard, another of Hnery VIII's wives. I much preferred the book about Anne Boleyn to this one. Maybe I am getting tired of the first-person narrative by someone at Court who feels caught up in something against their will. I think the premise has been overdone. It was a pleasant read, interesting in the historical details, but repetitive. I really had little sympathy for Katherine ...more
Jan 01, 2010 Crystal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I love Jean Plaidy, I’ve never made any secret of that fact, and I found that she does a fabulous job of articulating what I’ve always thought about Katherine Howard, Henri VIII’s ill fated fifth wife. The writing is as masterful as always, and even if you’re familiar with the tale of Katherine Howard, I think you’ll find yourself wrapped up in this book. The story starts out with Katherine talking to her friend, the scribe, and it is all presented as the story she is telling to the scribe in th ...more
This is a short book, which inherently means the story progresses rather quickly.

Of the wives of Henry VIII, this is not my favorite one. She is always portrayed to have very little intelligence, and this book follows suit. But it was done in a way where you felt sorry for Katherine, not annoyed (well, most of the time).

Someone who is just jumping in to historical fiction of this period may want to start with a different book to have the context around Henry VIII's numerous wives. This is a det
Jul 08, 2011 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed the story of Henry VIII's 5th wife, Katherine Howard. It is historical fiction so I know the story may not reflect the truth in its entirety. However I do appreciate the interesting picture it paints of the dangers of Court life during that period. Fortunes of families and individuals could be changed so rapidly depending on the monarch's favor. To be at the mercy of such whimsy must have been agonizing. The author did a great job of portraying what that must have felt like.

Oct 17, 2010 Jill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was pretty good. It told the story of Katherine Howard, Henry VII's 5th wife. Jean Plaidy told the story a bit differently from other writers that write historical fiction about this time period and did not focus much at all on Katherine's relationship with Thomas Culpepper. In fact, this novel gave the point of view that Katherine was enamored with the King and did not emphasize Katherine's obsession with clothes and jewels as Philippa Gregory did in her novels about this time period. ...more
Kathy  Petersen
I picked this up with some trepidation because I somehow identified Jean Plaidy with romance writers and because I have been burned by historical fiction too often in the past. How lovely to be wrong. The Rose herein is Henry VIII's fifth wife, a naive but lively girl named Katherine Howard. Plaidy has her dictating her life to a scribe in the days before her execution, with an addendum by the scribe of her final moments. This Katherine seems frank and truthful, neither excusing herself nor taki ...more
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Eleanor Alice Burford, Mrs. George Percival Hibbert was a British author of about 200 historical novels, most of them under the pen name Jean Plaidy which had sold 14 million copies by the time of her death. She chose to use various names because of the differences in subject matter between her books; the best-known, apart from Plaidy, are Victoria Holt (56 million) and Philippa Carr (3 million). ...more
More about Jean Plaidy...

Other Books in the Series

Queens of England (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Myself, My Enemy (Queens of England, #1)
  • Queen of This Realm (Queens of England, #2)
  • Victoria Victorious: The Story of Queen Victoria (Queens of England, #3)
  • The Lady in the Tower (Queens of England, #4)
  • The Courts of Love (Queens of England, #5)
  • In the Shadow of the Crown (Queens of England, #6)
  • The Queen's Secret (Queens of England, #7)
  • The Reluctant Queen: The Story of Anne of York (Queens of England, #8)
  • The Merry Monarch's Wife (Queens of England, #9)
  • William's Wife (Queens of England, #10)

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“People often vented their rage on those who were the victims of their neglect because they were in truth blaming themselves.” 4 likes
“He had been so friendly, and he had shown clearly that he did not think me in the least stupid--or, if he did, he liked it.” 2 likes
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