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The Queen's Secret, The Story of Queen…
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The Queen's Secret, The Story of Queen Katherine (urspr publ 1989; utgåvan 1990)

av Jean Plaidy

Serier: Queens of England (7)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
267773,790 (3.69)7
Katherine of Valois was born a princess, the daughter of King Charles VI of France. But by the time Katherine was old enough to know him, her father had come to be called "Charles the Mad," given to unpredictable fits of insanity. The young princess lived a secluded life, awaiting her father's sane moments and suffering through the mad ones, as her mother took up with her uncle and their futures became more and more uncertain. Katherine's fortunes appeared to be changing when, at nineteen, she was married to King Henry V of England. Within two years, she gave birth to an heir--but her happiness was fleeting. Soon after the birth of her son, she lost her husband to an illness. With Joan of Arc inciting the French to overthrow English rule, Katherine's loyalty to her adopted homeland of England became a matter of intense suspicion. Katherine had brought her dowry and borne her heir; what use was she to England? It was decreed that she would live out her remaining years alone, far from the seat of power. But no one, not even Katherine herself, could have anticipated that she would fall in love with and secretly marry one of her guardians, Owen Tudor--or that a generation later, their grandson would become the first king of the great Tudor dynasty.… (mer)
Medlem:clabo
Titel:The Queen's Secret, The Story of Queen Katherine
Författare:Jean Plaidy
Info:Putnam Adult (1990), Hardcover
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
Betyg:
Taggar:English Historical Novel Plantagenet

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The Queen's Secret av Jean Plaidy (1989)

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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 of Bavaria, and, if what Plaidy says about her is true, Katherine was fortunate to be free of her in England.

A more recent novel in this subject presented King Henry as a bad husband, who was abusive. I do not know if there is any evidence or historical basis for this, but Plaidy did not hold to this view. Henry does appear to have loved Katherine, though she was not his first or only love, as he was also ambitious, loved his country and also the idea of being King of France.

Thier all-too brief marriage which culminated in Henry's untimely death after only 2 years is presented as a tragedy for both Katherine and the country, as it indeed was.
The narrative then follows onto Katherine's life after Henry's death, and here is does become somewhat weaker and a little repetitive. To sum up she met and fell in love with a young Welsh squire, Owen Tudor, but as the Mother of the King she was forbidden from marrying again, so thier relationship marriage had to remain a secret.

How she was able to keep her numerous preganacies, and the birth of several children a secret is questionable, espeically as in one scene it was claimed that she was seen in public only days before the birth of one of her children.

The novel ends somewhat abruptly, but, as it was meant to be Katherine telling the story, the author could not really have gone much further. If you are intersted in Henry V, the second phase of the Hundred Years war, and the events leading up to the wars of the Roses, you may be interested in this one. ( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
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 not enough showing, this book being an example. I liked this novel, but wouldn’t read it again. ( )
  PhilSyphe | Sep 10, 2015 |
My blog post about this book is at this link. ( )
  SuziQoregon | Mar 31, 2013 |
Any of the Plaidy books having to do with the British Royalty is very, very highly recommended! She brings the characters to life and puts you right into the middle of all the action. You will cry, laugh, gasp and go through a whole range of emotions during her page-turners. ( )
  ejgrogan | Mar 20, 2011 |
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, the founder of the Tudor kings of England.

The story is told in Katherine's voice and begins with her childhood in France as the daughter of King Charles VI, known to history as King Charles the Mad. Unable to maintain his lucidity or authority, France deteriorated into civil war in the early 15th century and the English, led by King Henry V, were able to divide, invade and conquer.

In the aftermath of the infamous Battle of Agincourt (remember? Shakespeare, anyone?), a tenative peace treaty was negotiated which acknowledged Henry to be the successor to the French crown once mad King Charles kicked the proverbial bucket and also threw in poor Katherine to sweeten the pot for Henry. They were married soon after and she bore him one child who would later become King Henry VI, although her new husband croaked soon after.

Being a widow turned out to be a good thing for Katherine. She fell in love with a Welsh commoner named Owen Tudor. They married in secret and went on to have four children, through which the Tudor line of kings would emerge. For those unfamiliar with this part of English history, I won't give away the ending, but it is a compelling tale.

Plaidy is, as usual, very true to her characters and historical facts. The voice of Katherine is almost child-like, which helps Plaidy disseminate the convoluted politics of the day in a manner readers can easily keep up with, but also likely reflects Katherine's actual knowledge of events. Despite being Queen of England, there seems to be little historical evidence that Katherine had anything to do with political intrigue. The dialog is beautifully simple, as well. Think Anna Sewell and Black Beauty.

The only complaint I had was a slight mix-up in the author's own timeline: in the story, Katherine and Owen, we are told, become lovers on the night that Katherine's young son, Henry VI, is taken from her at the age of two to be raised in another household. Later, we skip ahead in time and young Henry is now five years old when Katherine discovers she is pregnant by Owen. Plaidy writes

"Why I should have been so surprised, I cannot imagine. Owen and I had been passionate lovers for some months."
Katherine in The Queen's Secret

Well, I suppose three years can be considered "some months," but the inconsistency leaped out at me. This, coupled with the constant foreshadowing of doom and gloom, were my only bugaboos about the story.

But these small flaws should be overlooked in the face of such a wonderful tale. This is a time period not often covered by historical fiction authors. Katherine and her contemporaries, such as Joan of Arc, were to change the fate both England and France. I highly recommend this read to any historical fiction fan as it makes accessible a time period too often overlooked.

I mentioned at the beginning of this review that Three Rivers Press reissued this novel in 2007. They have done so with a handful of Jean Plaidy books. If you enjoy her work and would like to see more (since many of her older books are quite difficult to find these days), please contact Three Rivers Press (a division of Random House) and express your interest in order to keep them coming! ( )
  lookingforpenguins | Sep 30, 2008 |
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Katherine of Valois was born a princess, the daughter of King Charles VI of France. But by the time Katherine was old enough to know him, her father had come to be called "Charles the Mad," given to unpredictable fits of insanity. The young princess lived a secluded life, awaiting her father's sane moments and suffering through the mad ones, as her mother took up with her uncle and their futures became more and more uncertain. Katherine's fortunes appeared to be changing when, at nineteen, she was married to King Henry V of England. Within two years, she gave birth to an heir--but her happiness was fleeting. Soon after the birth of her son, she lost her husband to an illness. With Joan of Arc inciting the French to overthrow English rule, Katherine's loyalty to her adopted homeland of England became a matter of intense suspicion. Katherine had brought her dowry and borne her heir; what use was she to England? It was decreed that she would live out her remaining years alone, far from the seat of power. But no one, not even Katherine herself, could have anticipated that she would fall in love with and secretly marry one of her guardians, Owen Tudor--or that a generation later, their grandson would become the first king of the great Tudor dynasty.

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