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Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  667 ratings  ·  149 reviews
Written with an exciting combination of narrative flair and historical authority, this interpretation of the tragic life of Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, breaks new ground in our understanding of the very young woman who became queen at a time of unprecedented social and political tension and whose terrible errors in judgment quickly led her to the ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published April 4th 2017 by Simon Schuster (first published January 12th 2017)
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Angela Ryser Bahling Hi Ladies, I don't know if this will help at this late date but if you go to the main Giveaways page (via "Browse"), choose "Giveaways You've Entered"…moreHi Ladies, I don't know if this will help at this late date but if you go to the main Giveaways page (via "Browse"), choose "Giveaways You've Entered" from the rightish side of the page, sort by "Won". Find the title and there is a button to click for having received the book, or not in this instance. Perhaps that might get you a copy, albeit delayed!(less)

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Start your review of Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Tudor enthusiasts
Of the six wives of Henry VIII, Catherine Howard is usually the least enviable and least admired of the lot. Portrayed by contemporary and modern writers as a vixen, temptress, whore, idiot, pawn, simpleton, innocent and thought of as empty-headed, frivolous, lewd, lascivious, faithless, deceptive, ignorant, only in Gareth Russell's extremely engaging and readable biography do we finally achieve a comprehensive picture of the elusive fifth consort of Henry. Throughout Russell weighs various ...more
Diane S ☔
Apr 21, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 An ominous beginning. A very young Catherine Howard, marries Haney VIII, on the same day his former favorite Cromwell is beheaded. This man child of a king has discarded precious wives like used candy wrappers, and keeps his court in a state of fear. He rewards greatly but punishes in horrific ways.

One probably would not be reading this unless they were a Tudor fan or have a interest in this much married King and his unfortunate wives. Catherine Howard was the last to lose her head, but why
May 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As queen, Anne Boleyn did well by her extended family, capturing a post in Calais for her mothers brother who was Catherine Howards debt-ridden father. Catherine was then sent as a ward to the estate of her step-grandmother to be prepared for court life. By day she learned the art of conversation, music, protocol, obedience and ceremony. Other young wards lived there too in close quarters; their evenings were unsupervised. Catherine was beautiful and popular. It was here, in the care of the ...more
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit I never thought I'd want to read another bio of one of Henry VIII's wives again (agh, the Tudors yet again, agh!), and especially not Catherine Howard - I mean, how could there possibly be anything new or interesting to say about a young woman who was dead when she was barely out of her teens? But I've enjoyed reading Gareth Russell's blog and one or two of his previous books, so when I received an advance copy of Young, Damned and Fair (thank you to the publisher!) I decided to ...more
Claire Ridgway
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is now my go-to book on Catherine Howard. It is detailed, meticulously researched and well-referenced. It also has the benefit of Gareth's engaging reading style.
Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII, is generally portrayed as the young, superficial, fluttery, promiscuous, stupid, slut of the six wives. Although her image has been receiving some rehabilitation; it rather continues in this strain. Historian Gareth Russell questions these views and dives into finding out who Catherine truly was as both an individual and public figure in opposition to the frilly girl in, Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of ...more
Adrienne Dillard
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016

Since that frigid day in 1542 when Queen Katherine Howard ascended the scaffold to her death, the life of this tragic figure has been poked and prodded, twisted and stretched to fit into whatever narrative is in vogue. Was she naïve or just stupid? A tart or a victim? Desperate or arrogant? We may not ever know the truth of what happened between the queen and her husband's gentleman or her motivations for the relationship, but Gareth Russell's finely drawn portrait of this oft
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Shout out to Simon and Schuster and Gareth Russell for the opportunity to read this book and offer an unbiased review.

July 28, 1540, was a momentous day in England-Cromwell was beheaded and Henry VIII married Catherine Howard. She was probably about 18 years old; he was middle aged , obese, and ulcerated. A match made in heaven.
Catherine was a grandchild of the Duke of Norfolk and was brought up in the home of her grandmother, the Dowager Duchess, a grossly negligent chaperone. She was reared
Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
This review can also be found here!

Color me impressed by this book.

It takes Catherine Howard, a woman who has been maligned by historians throughout the years, and turns her into a fleshed out person while not absolutely boring me in the process. Russel claims that she wasnt ditzy, wasnt stupid, and she had a very set personality. He also believes that Catherine never committed adultery with Culpepper, a theory that Ive heard before.

While Im still not buying the last half of that (because I
Sarah -  All The Book Blog Names Are Taken
Another so so so so good book I finished within a couple days. Again, I am faced with the challenge of writing a proper review, seeing as how I barely stopped to take any notes during the course of my reading. THAT should definitely tell you something at least. Really fantastic look at Catherine Howard as a person, not just the flighty, moron she is so often portrayed as. Full review to come.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A truly terrific reexamination of the life of this misunderstood and poorly perceived Queen.

Catherine Howard is without doubt the most poorly viewed of all Henry VIII's wives. often viewed as a slut, nymphomaniac, airhead, even an 'empty headed wanton' as one historian has called her.

This is more than a biography of Catherine. It is a study of the world of Catherine Howard. From her family background to the workings of the Tudor court. It includes details of the locations visited by Catherine,
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent biography of Henry VIII's fifth wife Catherine Howard.

It is even handed, extremely well written, and leavened with a dry wit.

I learned a few things I didn't know about Catherine, her life and her death.

Highly recommended to all those interested in the Tudor period, and the personalities of the Henrician court.
Honestly, it pains me in a way to rate this 2 stars because you can tell it's well written and really well researched. However, to me it started off as a 3-4 star book, it was interesting and focused on Catherine. Yet, as I went on, I felt the book lost focus and became more of a story about Henry VIII, or became heavily sidetracked by every single person who would be mentioned, giving their entire history. This book would be an amazing snapshot of the TIME that Catherine Howard existed in. ...more
David Eppenstein
I enjoy English history a great deal. It can be dry and boring in certain respects but for the most part it is fully illustrative of every vice and character flaw known to human nature. There is murder in every imaginable form, sex, intrigue, comedy, disloyalty, cowardice, and in virtually every generation. The only other history that compares is that of the Catholic Church which I also enjoy reading. In this book we have the brief history of Catherine Howard the fifth of Henry VIII's six wives ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Highly enjoyable read. Russell is a good writer, and he has uncovered enough new material about Catherine to make some plausible guesses as to motivations for her behavior. However, and it is a big "however", there is simply no reason for her to have embarked upon the flirtation with Culpepper other than Catherine's youth. Well, her youth and the culpability of Jane Boleyn, who was old enough and more importantly, experienced enough with the pitfalls of Henry's court to have offered better ...more
Meredith Duran
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
(The perils of entering a rating on your phone: this should have been five stars, not two, and I've now corrected that.)

I don't think I'm alone in having spared little attention to Catherine Howard, not least because less is known about her than Henry's other wives. But I thought this book did a thorough, thoughtful, and very interesting job of excavating the data and using it to weave a very sympathetic and persuasive portrait of her. I also greatly appreciated the richness of detail in
Aug 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
On the morning of July 28, 1540, a teenager named Catherine Howard began her reign as queen of an England, simmering with rebellion and terrifying uncertainty. Sixteen months later, she would follow her cousin Anne Boleyn to the scaffold, having been convicted of adultery and high treason, but her story up until now has been incomplete.. Unlike previous biographies, which portray her as a naive victim of an ambitious family, Gareth Russells excellent account puts the ignored Catherine in her ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5 stars

Based on amazing scholarship and clear reasoning, this is a beautifully written history of Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of King Henry VIII.

Mr. Russell has written a comprehensive illustration of 16th Century privileged life. He describes everything from clothing to jewelry and all the other small details of daily life in the royal household. The author goes on to discount some of the most popular myths about Catherine, such as the Norfolk's (her family of origin), pushing her into
Samantha Morris
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Gareth Russell at an authors event in London so when I found out that he was bringing a book out on Catherine Howard I knew I had to pick it up. And let me tell you I am SO glad that I did.

Its not often these days that I will sit down and read much in the way of Tudor history, despite the fact that I have plenty of Tudor books sat on my shelf. Ill stick my nose in every now and then, sure, but every so often a book pops up that makes me remember just why
While I have read multiple Tudor novels, I don't really have any nitty-gritty knowledge - just more of the general facts about Henry's reign until the death of Jane Seymour. The only thing I know about Catherine Howard is that she was queen for a very short time, and that she's usually portrayed as an air-head and a ninny.

Despite Catherine's short reign and life, Russell's biography at ~500ish pages seems intimidating. It's anything but.

Russell's writing is highly readable, and though I'm not
Apr 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-history
A bit slow at times - too many details regarding barely related figures for my liking - but nevertheless, a great, thorough biography, showing Catherine in a way more compassionate light than most accounts do. Let the quotes speak for themselves:

"It has been argued here that Catherine probably did not commit physical adultery with Thomas Culpepper and that her denials of it were probably truthful, but that adultery would likely have taken place had their liaison not been discovered in November
Jillianne Hamilton
Nov 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Young and Damned and Fair: The Life of Catherine Howard, Fifth Wife of King Henry VIII by Gareth Russell is a worthwhile addition to your Tudor history bookshelf.

Russell digs further into Catherines short and tragic life while weaving in everyday details of Tudor England inside and outside the royal court.

The author gives some very persuasive arguments about his findings regarding some details of Catherines life that Id never read previously. Russells writing style keeps things entertaining
Michell Karnes
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book of Katherine Howard was well researched. It dispels many misconceptions of Katherine that some authors have led the general populace to accept as fact. While Katherine was young and immature to handle the personality of Henry VIII and the intrigues of the court she was not frivolous and un-royal. She may have made impulsive decisions of any 19 year old but nothing that should have caused her to lose her life for. The author provides facts and does not dispense speculation for what he ...more
Mar 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this! You could feel sorry for all of Henry VIII wives, but Katherine Howard is in particularly pretty sad because shes been reduced to an adulterous ditz. But she was just a girl, she wasnt likely more than 20 before she was killed because of the morals of the time.

Gareth Russell does a tremendous job at being impartial and not taking any (current) popular opinion of Katherine Howard, and applying our morals to that of the 16th century.
Mar 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
The author has certainly done extensive and through research for this book. The book is well written for an academic historical reader. It is interesting, but it took me awhile to read as I could not keep all the participants, their titles, and places of origin straight if I ingested too much at one time.

I received this book as an ARC from Net Galley and Simon and Schuster. This review is my honest opinion.
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived. Everyone knows the rhyme that tells the fates of Henry VIII's six wives. However, in his book, Russell takes a close look at the life of wife number 5 (and beheaded wife number 2): Catherine Howard.

Russell offers a fresh look into the life of Catherine Howard as he retells her sad, short life. He offers a lot of support for his point and gracefully refutes
Jan 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: british-history
Catherine Howard is often dismissed among Henry VIII's wives as either a silly woman who brought troubles upon herself or as a helpless pawn of the powerful Howard family who used the lovely Catherine to seduce the king away from Anne of Cleves and attempt to regain the status lost by their relationship to Anne Boleyn. But, Russell uses careful study of primary sources to show that Catherine was not completely unaware of politics. But, neither was she, as a young woman of the aristocratic class, ...more
Mar 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WHAT AN EXHAUSTIVE BIOGRAPHY. Almost certainly younger than 20 when she was executed, Katherine Howard often languishes beside Henry VIII's other five wives precisely because it's so difficult to find information about her. Not any more.

I waffled a little on my rating because this book is 60% about Henry and what a petulant child he is (when he's not being a maniac), but this is still the most comprehensive biography I've read about Katherine. Russell dismantles apocryphal records, uses
Apr 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5. The author disagreed with several of the common theories of Catherine Howard's story that I'd heard before, but he explained why he felt the way he did, and supported his arguments with footnotes. I appreciated the different perspective. There was a little more discussion of whether various portraits were of Catherine or not than I liked, but I can see why it would be interesting to other people. Overall I thought it was written in an engaging style and I'm glad I read it.
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Tudor History Lovers: August 2017 - Young and Damned and Fair by Gareth Russell 126 82 Sep 25, 2017 02:28AM  

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