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Henry VIII's True Daughter
Henry VIII's True Daughter: Catherine Carey, a Tudor Life | Wendy J Dunn
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The lives of Tudor women often offer faint but fascinating footnotes on the pages of history. The life of Catherine - or Katryn as her husband would one day pen her name - Carey, the daughter of Mary Boleyn and, as the weight of evidence suggests, Henry VIII, is one of those footnotes. As the possible daughter of Henry VIII, the niece of Anne Boleyn and the favorite of Elizabeth I, Catherine's life offers us a unique perspective on the reigns of Henry and his children. In this book, Wendy J. Dunn takes these brief details of Catherine's life and turns them into a rich account of a woman who deserves her story told. Following the faint trail provided of her life from her earliest years to her death in service to Queen Elizabeth, Dunn examines the evidence of Catherine's parentage and views her world through the lens of her relationship with the royal family she served. This book presents an important story of a woman who saw and experienced much tragedy and political turmoil during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary I - all of which prepared her to take on the vital role of one of Elizabeth I closest and most trusted women. It also prepared her to become the wife of one of Elizabeth's privy councilors - a man also trusted and relied on by the queen. Catherine served Elizabeth during the uncertain and challenging first years of her reign, a time when there was a question mark over whether she would succeed as queen regnant after the failures of England's first crowned regnant, her sister Mary. Through immense research and placing her in the context of her period, Henry VIII's True Daughter: Catherine Carey, A Tudor Life draws Catherine out of the shadows of history to take her true place as the daughter of Henry VIII and shows how vital women like Catherine were to Elizabeth and the ultimate victory of her reign.
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A look at the possible life of Catherine Knollys (nee Carey) who was probably the daughter of Henry VIII & his mistress, Mary Boleyn. Catherine was pretty much ignored by Edward VI & Mary I, but Elizabeth I would go on to welcome her into her inner circle of trusted women. Balancing her duty to her monarch alongside birthing fifteen children (with thirteen living into adulthood), Catherine's line survives down to modern times.

OutsmartYourShelf This was an interesting & engrossing read. Unfortunately there is very little evidence left today of how Catherine lived, & much of the book is “probably“ this & “maybe“ that, with a lot of the day-to-day details extrapolated from the lives of Elizabeth's other Ladies -in-Waiting. The book does give us a lot of insight into the lives of high-born Tudor women including the birthing chamber. 7mo
OutsmartYourShelf (The supposition that it could have been a popular herbal medicine (actually a poison) used in childbirth that was to blame for the deaths of Katherine of Aragon's short-lived other children is sad & poignant.) I think it could have been organised a little better in respect of the fact that topics seemed to skip around a bit rather than being strictly linear. 7mo
OutsmartYourShelf Sentences in one chapter could have perhaps fitted in better in another & some seemed to be almost repeated. I did enjoy reading it though & feel as if I have learned some new information about the Tudors. 3.5🌟

My thanks to NetGalley & publisher, Pen & Sword History, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

Full review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/5990677381
Read 20th-21st Nov 2023

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