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No Will But His: A Novel of Kathryn Howard
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No Will But His: A Novel of Kathryn Howard

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  504 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
The author who "masterfully builds a dramatic story" presents another gripping novel of the women of Tudor England.

As the bereft, orphaned cousin to the ill-fated Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard knows better than many the danger of being favored by the King. But she is a Howard, and therefore ambitious, so she assumes the role Henry VIII has assigned her-his untouched chi
Paperback, 344 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Berkley Trade (first published April 2nd 2010)
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A Queen's Spy by Samantha BurnellThe Tudor Heresy by Samantha BurnellThe Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa GregoryWolf Hall by Hilary MantelThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Tudor Fiction
123 books — 56 voters
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa GregoryThe Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison WeirThe Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa GregoryThe Wives of Henry VIII by Antonia FraserHenry VIII by Alison Weir
Henry's Six Wives
152 books — 98 voters

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Mar 28, 2012 rated it liked it

Just when I thought I’d read it all and had my fill on Kathryn Howard, comes a book to rekindle my heart. No Will But His, the title of this sublime read, was also Kathryn’s chosen motto... it couldn’t have been more perfect. Kathryn definitely had no say, from beginning to end- and that’s not only where Henry was concerned; Kathryn indulged everyone.

Caring too much about others while forsaking herself along the way, Kathryn dared not hurt or disappoint. Hoyt captures this essence completely, an
Mar 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Realistically I'd probably say 3.5 for this book. I liked it better than I expected based on the reviews I read, so I'm quite happy that I read it.

The character of Kathryn Howard in this book (author spelling of name, not mine!), was that of a girl who was taught nothing by a feckless father who preferred to gamble their money away, and a series of stepmothers who cared little for his numerous children. She knew nothing of what was happening at Court, not even that her cousin Anne Boleyn was bec
Apr 18, 2010 rated it it was ok
The author either was seriously confused about the time period in the beginning (the pianoforte was not introduced until the the mid to late 17th century, and she kept switching back and forth from more modern english to old english) and / or her editors just didn't care (names and pronouns often got mixed up until about the middle of the book).

Now, for the story itself: I hardly think Katherine Howard was that innocent and naive. History tells us the affair with Culpepper went on for months, n
Linda Lipko
Nov 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
I've read more books about Henry VIII and his six wives than I can count. Fascinated by this subject, I continue my quest to learn more and more and to find a new book with a new twist. Sadly, this wasn't the one!

I assume the name of the book No Will But His refers to Henry VIII and his controlling personality, yet, even as one who knows a lot about the subject, I'm mystified how the author published with this title.

The book focuses on Katherine Howard, wife #5 of rotund, open-wound stinking, me
Jun 21, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I love reading books about Henry and his wives so I was pleased to see one about Catherine Howard, wife # 4. I’ve always found her to be really interesting what with being cousin to Anne Boleyn and how naïve she seemed to be. This book showed a different side to Catherine Howard then what I’m used to seeing. She had a conscious and some brains! I did feel like the end was too quick although I guess that’s what happens in the Tudor court.
Helen Azar
Aug 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Well written and clearly well researched historical novel about Henry VIII's fifth wife, Kathryn Howard. Kathryn is portrayed as a little too intelligent, and a little too angelic to be completely believable though. But I did enjoy this novel enough to read it all the way through, and to give it 4 stars.
Christy English
Aug 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
A woman used by everyone in her life, in this novel Kathryn Howard is given a voice, which is a rarity in the fiction I've read about Henry VIII. As always, I felt a great deal of pity for this doomed woman, and as I read I wished that Kathryn had had more caution and/or better friends. I found this novel sad, but moving.
May 29, 2014 rated it liked it
I liked this book, but I wouldn't count it as one of the greatest I have read. It certainly gave a different view of Kathryn than what normally is given, and a different take on the relationship between Kathryn and Henry. The shortest part of the book is actually Kathryn at court, which, I believe, demonstrates the short amount of time she was actually there. Many books of Kathryn tend to focus on the short amount of time she was at court, and not how she got there or who she was before.
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a good read. The author does a good job weaving fiction into this period of time in history.
Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rachel Swords
Aug 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: tudors
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 13, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Tudor geeks
This is the first historical fiction novel I have read that is solely about Catherine Howard. I have read The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory, but she wrote that from three perspectives: that of Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Jane Boleyn. So I bought this because I was seriously lacking books on Henry VIII’s fifth queen.

From my love-of-books-and-fiction perspective, I found this to be a good novel and addition to my Tudor collection. From my historical perspective, I found a few an
Aug 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
Sarah A. Hoyt, mostly of Shakespeare fiction fame, takes one of the most scandalous wives of the Henry VIII, Kathryn Howard, in true Philippa Gregory/biographical fiction tradition. I had high hopes for this novel -there's so much juicy intrigue to pull from. How could you go wrong?

Readers first meet young Kathryn Howard when she's sent off to live in the home of the dowager duchess, a family relative. Even though Kathryn is raised to be a well-mannered, graceful young woman who will one day mar
Beverly Diehl
May 10, 2014 rated it liked it
Kathryn Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, second wife beheaded by Henry VIII. We don't even know how old she was, and this novel offers a plausible explanation why.

There are some nice bits here - an early encounter with Thomas Culpepper, two early promises of strawberries that never materialize. I also liked the way Kathryn is portrayed as having too soft a heart, never being willing to hurt any creature, and easily played by "friends" like Manox who claimed hurt.

However, the book feels a bit lo
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
While I disagree a tiny bit with the way that Kathryn Howard was portrayed as a naive, childlike figure, I think that this book still has an overwhelming degree of accurate detail. The story is told correctly even if her motivations for her licentious acts are a little unclear. Still, it generated in me a strong degree of sympathy for the young queen, which is not something I had previously felt for her. Whether or not she was scandalous or just plain gullible, there's no ignoring the fact that ...more
Jan 12, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: historical, tudor, own
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: old-world
if you ignore the issues the author has with historical details & names, and the inconsistency with old language dialogue, this book isn't too bad. written about henry VIII's fifth wife, katherine howard, the story flows relatively well. her character, while accurately majorly ignorant of life & court, suddenly becomes wise & calculating at the end. what gives? the prologue hints at this character reformation, yet it isn't well developed. if katherine was truly so ignorant of how to ...more
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A comprehensive historical novel, teasing out the sad tale of the fifth wife of Henry VIII and perhaps the most to be pitied. Certainly this is historical fiction, but it is so well researched and is so completely in sync with the historical record, that Ms Hoyt has produced a work of which she and any serious author could be proud. Loving this Tudor period in English history, I was anxious to see what she had done with this story. It is a wonderful look-see into the life and times of Tudor roya ...more
Jul 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this story, since Kathryn Howard was one of Henry VIII's wives that I haven't read much about. Everyone talks through the first two wives to such great detail, and yet there are another four to be discovered... Anyhow, it was very interesting to think through how a poor girl of good family, almost no money, relatively little education, and a friendly temperament could have gotten herself involved with, and eventually in trouble with, a king of Henry's sort. I greatly enjoyed rea ...more
Apr 13, 2010 rated it liked it
An interesting take on Katherine Howard's life. The author portrayed her less as a slutty idiot here, but did reinvent history just a bit. It doesn't bother me in historical fiction, but I do wish she had put an author's note explaining why she went the way she did on some of the stories.

I did like that the characters spoke in "Old English", but not so much that it was hard to read. It is a little jolting to read such modern jargon in other novels, and I thought this one hit the nail on the head
Mar 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the best fictionalized account of Catherine Howard's life that I have read. In most fiction books about her, she is either portrayed as a goody-goody (as in Carolly Erickson's The Unfaithful Queen) or just as a lusty young woman that could become vindictive to those that would expose her faults.
I believe she was neither. She was just young and naive. Remembering back to when I was that age myself, I could really relate to and sympathize with her---something which was difficult to do in
Quick read about Catherine Howard-more focused on her upbringing than her marriage to Henry VIII. Her downfall and the events leading up to it seemed rather hurried but maybe that's how quickly she really fell from favor.
Christine B.
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Took a bit to get used to her style of writing, but an enjoyable and educational read.
May 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. This is the first I've read from her point of view, and it was a very interesting and fun read.
Christina Dell
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Wish there had been more about her last days but was over all a very good read
Heather Domin
[to be reviewed for HNS May 2010:]
May 24, 2011 rated it liked it

Better than Confession of Katherine Howard, worse than King's Rose.

It has good points and bad points, leaving me unsure how I feel about it overall.

PennsyLady (Bev)
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
An easy read that brought life to the character of Katherine Howard.
Dec 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love any stories about the era of Henry the VIII, so this was pretty good. Not a factual book but close enough to what the real story is as much as we know it from history.
Alexandra Devidal
rated it it was amazing
May 15, 2014
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