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The Queen's Secret (Queens of England, #7)
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The Queen's Secret (Queens of England #7)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  881 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
At the power and mercy of the court her life was a struggle to keep the Queen's Secret.

Katherine of Valois is born a princess, the daughter of King Charles VI of France. But by the time Katherine is old enough to know her father, he is called "Charles the Mad," given to unpredictable fits of insanity. Aged 19, she marries Henry V of England in what was a happy but tragical
Paperback, 416 pages
Published April 24th 2007 by Broadway Books (first published 1989)
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Oct 06, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: historical fiction fans.
Recommended to Michele by: historical fiction forum
For many fans of historical fiction, Jean Plaidy's books are a treasure. For me, they are like a favorite blanket: perhaps a little dated and not on the cutting edge of a fad, but something familiar and comfortable.

The Queen's Secret, originally published in 1990 by G.P. Putnam's Sons and then reissued by Three Rivers Press in 2007, was one of Plaidy's later works and tells the story of Katherine of Valois, wife of Henry V, mother to Henry VII and by virtue of her second marriage to Owen Tudor,
I have memories of always enjoying Jean Plaidy's historical fiction, but this one fell flat for me.

It had momentum in the beginning, during Katharine's childhood with her mad King father (Charles VI of France) and her seductress mother (Isabeau of France). It kept that momentum when Katharine was given in marriage to the new conqueror of their country, Henry V of England. It lost that momentum after Henry's death, which disappointed me because at that point in the story Katharine enters into an
Stacie (MagicOfBooks)
I will also do a video review here at my channel:

"The Queen's Secret" by Jean Plaidy tells the story of Katherine of Valois, daughter of King Charles VI of France, wife of King Henry V, mother of King Henry VI, and grandmother to King Henry VII. Katherine grows from a princess to a queen and witnesses the wars between France and England and the inspiration of Joan of Arc.

My first Jean Plaidy novel. I've heard nothing but good things about her historical ficti
Oct 19, 2009 rated it it was ok
This was the first Plaidy book I'd read in years, ever since high school actually. I remembered loving her stuff back then, but as I read this one & The Sun in Splendour, I had the sense that the books were copiously cribbed histories with a minimal effort at dramatizing the whole thing. (No doubt a reason why she was so prolific.)

I still like Plaidy, and will go to her first before a wealth of other HF authors (including such hyped stars of today like Elizabeth Chadwick and Sharon Kay Penma
Bonnie Wilson
Mar 05, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
This is one of the "mystery books" that's been laying around the house for years .... have no idea where it came from - some bag sale years ago? Someone left it? I'd never picked it up because I knew that Plaidy was Victoria Holt, but it somehow never made it into one of the donate bags. I finally decided to give it a try.

All I can say is how on earth has this writer sold many millions of books - as of the publication of this edition in '07 was "over 14 million" -? The writing is unbelievably f
Mandy Moody
Oct 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
The story of Katherine of Valois, from her childhood in France to her death. I really loved this book, it's my favorite Plaidy so far.
I did find the writing a bit formal and stilted feeling, but that didn't take away from the story. I felt like it actually made Katherine come alive more - as if it was her upbringing and strict manners that influenced the writing.
This book clears up where the Tudor claim to the throne came from...and boy was it tenuous! Not that it ended up mattering, but it was
H.A. Mims
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic retelling of the life of Katherine, wife of Henry V and later mother to the Tudor dynasty. One thing I particularly enjoyed about her story is that unlike the majority of other women you read about in this genre, she wasn't particularly concerned with power or advancement. Nothing wrong with those stories either, of course, but I do enjoy a little variety in this respect. I found it lovely to read about her devotion to her family and enduring love for Owen Tudor.
Sara G
Mar 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-kindle
This is a lovely historical fiction book about Katherine of Valois, and her relationships with both Henry V of England and Owen Tudor. It's told entirely from Katherine's point of view, but manages to discuss the main events of the time, mainly because she was in the middle of most of it! Katherine is a lesser known queen in English history, probably because of her scandalous relationship with the Tudor as well as her short reign, so it was fun to read a decently written book about her.
I forget which book I read recently that made me decide to try a Jean Plaidy title again. I guess I wanted to know more about some of the more obscure queens of England or some such. Well, you learn from your mistakes! I forgot that these books are romances with a thin veneer of history added to them. The main character, the one recounting her memories, is Katherine, widow of Henry V, mistress of Owen Tudor, of utterly no interest whatsoever except accidentally being the ancestor of Henry VII an ...more
Finding this book sitting of my Grandmother's bookshelf, I gravitated towards it because it involved the wife of Henry V, and so Henry himself, who I am perhaps a little obsessed with.

It is written in the 1st person from the perspective of Katherine de Valois herself (Henry's wife) in the form of a diary of sorts. The details of Katherine's early life were interesting, and the subject of her father's madness was treated sensitively. I utterly despised her sex- mad megalomaniac mother, Isabeau o
Jean Plaidy isn't one to disappoint.

Even though her historical accurancy is now somewhat disputed, at the time she held great accordance with the known facts of the time. This novel explores the life of Katherine of Valois, a daughter of France neglected by her mother and disturbed by her father's mental health. She goes on to become of Queen of England, marrying Henry V and bearing him one son, Henry VI before his untimely death. When her son is raised without her, she seeks comfort in Owen Tu
Mar 11, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: british, historical
A fictionalized account of the life of Katherine of Valois, a French princess who lived in the 15th century. Katherine was married off to King Henry V of England, and luckily, she and Henry apparently were a good match. Strategically, the marriage between the English and French royal houses helped solidify King Henry's conquest of France. Sadly, Henry died shortly after their first son was born. This left Katherine in the difficult position of being the "Dowager Queen" when she was barely 21. As ...more
Unlike most of Plaidy's books, I don't feel like I learned anything new about the motives of her subject, which is surprising since I didn't think I knew much about Katherine of Valois. The broad historical outlines are all there, along with the author's great attention to detail and the realistic psychology of people in unusual circumstances. But somehow the story just left me flat, almost "so what?" Maybe I'm being unfair and there isn't anything new to be learned about the story of the wife o ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gail Amendt
Feb 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jean Plaidy is known for making royal history interesting by fictionalizing it and making it a personal story. Her work is not fancy and her character development is somewhat lacking, but she makes history very readable. This is the story of Katherine of Valois, a French princess who was married to England's King Henry V for political reasons and widowed at a young age, her young son becoming King in infancy. Her place in history would probably be largely forgotten had she not married a second t ...more
Jan 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Feeling a bit divided on this one, not sure it is because of Catherine's personality itself or the inconsistencies in the narration. On the one side, I have to admire what Jean Plaidy does with the little historical proof that is available for the events of the later life of Catherine. On the other side it's still insufficient to give a lot of nuance to her personality. The heroine of Plaidy strives for simplicity and normality in the royal world but that could also be taken as lack of ambition ...more
Mar 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
I thouroughly enjoyed this novel. I'm a sucker for historical characters and I always liked Shakespeare's Henry V -this is about his wife, Kathrine (or Catherine) of Valois. It was a very easy read, not deep, but the story line kept me interested. A little repetitive in the complaints/fears of Katherine's voice (first person narrative) but still fun to read and very innocent - unlike some other novels about the Tudor family (it doesn't hide indiscretions, but doesn't dwell on them or get graphic ...more
I was really excited to begin my first Jean Plaidy book, as I had heard such good things. The book wasn't very well-written, but I plowed ahead, until I realized that every other page was full of abused ellipses. When used sparingly, I don't mind them, but when the pages are coated with ellipses and mediocre writing, I don't have much motivation to continue reading.

We are told Katherine's mother can be coy and cunning and then burst into fits of anger, so Katherine won't speak up against her. Ho
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
So super pysched I found out this book is a series about queens (must find the rest) and I enjoyed this quick tale of Queen Katherine, mother of Henry VI and her role in the fascinating Tudor dynasty..I quickly breezed through this historical drama/romance and knew the author was familiar and recognized the writing style right away as Phillippa Gregory, one of my favorite authors...Gregory has a way of giving you the direct storyline and surrounding politics brilliantly and before you know it yo ...more
Mirah W
Jul 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
I think over the years Plaidy wrote so many novels about the royals that she started to repeat herself. This novel could have been about so many other princesses/queens and the story would have been the to someone for family power, dealing with the gossip of the royal court, others always wanting to take the power away. It just gets boring. I think if the story would have been more about Katherine's life with Owen instead of the broad overview of her life it would have been more inter ...more
Mar 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
The book was actually good - my beef is that the 'teaser' pretty much gave away the whole plot. So reading the book was just finding out the details to what I already (sort of) knew. My English history isn't so great (I'm re-learning a lot thru novels like these) and I would love to know which novel (of hers) comes next to pick up the beginning of the Tudor dynasty.

Another thing that's interesting with any of these royal historical fiction (Plaidy or others) is this: the royals are either power
I was really disappointed with this book. I'm usually a big fan of Plaidy's work but this just wasn't up to scratch for me.
I felt that as the reader, I didn't get to know any of the characters at all. I've used the knowledge I already have of this period and the people involved to imagine the story.
For me, the story never really got started. It just seemed that Katherine was permanently pregnant yet without any details, dates, timescales etc. I like to imagine that Katherine and Owen's story i
Aug 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
A pleasant and enjoyable historical novel about an era and person about whom and I didn't know much. It made me think of the lives of the "royals" as they're called nowadays, in a different ways. The one thing that Katherine reiterated often was how nice it would have been to have been born as an "ordinary" person who would have been allowed to live her life as she wanted to, in peace. But of course then, she would have been working at a time when life for ordinary folks was difficult. Her life ...more
Phil Syphe
Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it
I knew little of Katherine of Valois before reading this fiction based on fact account of her life, therefore I read this with interest.

Had this been written in third person I may have enjoyed it more, as trying to relate to so many events that the first-person narrator wasn’t involved with does not work all that well. Little gets dramatized.

Although I admire Jean Palidy’s works in general, every so often I come across something that reads a little flat, usually through too much telling and no
#7 in series - #2 in historical order

I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I was really going to give it only 2 stars but it picked up towards the end, earning itself 3 stars.

I'm actually glad I read this book because it goes further back in history then I've read before which helps put everything in perspective with what happens next. It's also nice to figure out who all these people were and what role they played in history. I really should have read the #1 in historical order
Carolina Casas
To this day, Jean Plaidy (real name, Eleanor Hibbert), remains one of my favorite novelists because while she did take liberties, she did a good job making her characters human. And while it has become very popular to make villains or heroes out of these royals, she added a lot of nuance to her novels, especially when it came to forbidden relationships like Owen and Catherine of Valois.
It remains the best depiction of Catherine and Owen Tudor to this day.
Kally Sheng
Jan 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: jean-plaidy
"There is ofte as much strife in holding what one has gained as in taking possession of it. To have is important, but it must not be forgotten that one must hold." - King Henry V, Pg. 112

People were as they were, and to attempt to change them could prove fatal to any relationship. - Pg. 134

Great planners only took risks when it was necessary to do so. - Pg. 137

"Be happy in the moment." - Guillemote, Pg. 190

"One country's victory must be another's defeat." - Katherine of Valois, Pg. 183
Feb 14, 2015 rated it liked it
This chronicles the life of Katherine of Valois, the English queen who started the Tudor dynasty by running off with a lowly Welshman named Owen Tudor. This was a quick and easy read. I usually rate Plaidy's queen series higher but Katherine was frankly irritating. She was constantly commenting on how they were going take her son away. I felt like I was reading the same conversation over and over.
Dec 01, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
If you want to read a touching story about love in various forms,read this. If you want to learn more about royal families, particularly those of England and France, read this. If you want to read a good work of historical fiction that combines both, then DEFINITELY read this. Special thanks to Sara for giving this to me on my birthday.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 12, 2015 11:38AM  
  • Within the Hollow Crown: A Reluctant King, a Desperate Nation, and the Most Misunderstood Reign in History
  • Queens of England
  • The Forbidden Queen
  • The Queen of Last Hopes: The Story of Margaret of Anjou
  • A Lady Raised High: A Novel of Anne Boleyn
  • Lady of the Roses: A Novel of the Wars of the Roses
  • The King's Damsel (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #5)
  • Virgin: Prelude to the Throne
  • The Falcons of Montabard
  • Harlot Queen
  • The Perfect Royal Mistress
  • Vengeance Is Mine: A Novel Of Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, And Lady Rochford  The Woman Who Helped Destroy Them Both
  • The Favored Queen
  • Blood Royal
  • The King's Grace
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 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)
  • The Rose Without a Thorn (Queens of England, #11)

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