The epic story of the queen who founded the Tudor dynasty, told through the eyes of her loyal nursemaid. The story follows French princess Catherine who became wife to Henry V, and mother of Henry VI.
Hickson cleverly tells the story of Catherine through the lens of her wet nurse turned confidante Guilliamette/Mette. Years of service endear Mette to Catherine as their bond and attachment is strengthened over time and events. Both women suffer at the hands of males, both women demonstrating strength with the ability to carry on despite startling events of their past. Two women staving off trauma to build a life for themselves given their social status and in Catherine’s position – social and familia expectations/obligations.
Using Mette as narrator was clever and attention grabbing on Hickson’s part. Despite this being solely Catherine’s story, bit and pieces of Mette’s life is inserted giving the reader access as well as an emotional connection. By somewhat interweaving their backgrounds you have a clear picture of how endearing and close their relationship becomes. Catherine is treated as mere collateral in luring Henry V as a prospective bride. Catherine is rather disappointed once married, learning her brother, the Dauphin, disregards her as his sister as she is now a traitor in his eyes. While all the upheaval is unleashed Catherine and Mette’s bond is unbreakable.
Mette’s presence is as strong as ever as Catherine takes the throne as Queen of England, wife to Henry V.
The ending touches upon the marvelous Welsh crooner Owen Tudor, a singer who’s lyrics brings out the romantic in Henry V, benefitting their marriage if only for a snippet in time.
Captivated by this story I am anxious to read the next installment, The Tudor Bride. Hickson gained my attention with her prose – elegant with a personal edge through the voice of Mette. The fascinating characters of Mette and Catherine, along with the court trials and tribulations, dangers faced, depiction of the battle of Agincourt all marinated to develop one incredible page turner. I found it near impossible to put this book down from the turn of the first page, until the turn of the last page. Comprehensive narrative, a fine work of historical fiction, history comes alive through prose, characterization and ridged narrative. Highly recommend.
About Joanna Hickson
Joanna spent twenty-five years at the BBC writing and presenting for radio and television. Gripped by Shakespeare’s historical plays, Joanna began researching the King Henry V’s ‘fair Kate’ as a schoolgirl and the story of Catherine de Valois and the Tudor genesis has remained with her throughout life. She lives in an old farmhouse in Wiltshire and is married with a large family and a wayward Irish terrier.
Here is the tour schedule:
Monday, August 18th: Broken Teepee
Wednesday, August 20th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Thursday, August 21st: Bewitched Bookworms
Monday, August 25th: Fuelled by Fiction
Wednesday, August 27th: Ageless Pages Reviews
Friday, August 29th: nightlyreading
Monday, September 1st: 100 Pages a Day … Stephanie’s Book
Tuesday, September 2nd: Bibliophilia, Please
Wednesday, September 3rd: Back Porchervations
Thursday, September 4th: Time 2 Read
Friday, September 5th: Kritters Ramblings
Friday, September 5th: Peeking Between the Pages
Thursday, September 11th: Svetlana’s Reads and Views