Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy
What do Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard have in common? Not only were they the two wives that Henry VIII had beheaded for infidelity, they were also cousins. Their relationship, although not close, does make them ripe for comparison and logical for an intertwining of their stories.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, but also somewhat disappointingly, the majority of the book dealt with Anne, not Katherine. Katherine did get the some pages here and there during Anne’s ascendance and reign, and of course had the end to herself, but I would have liked to see a bit more of her.
Plaidy seems to treat both Anne and Katherine very evenhandedly. Anne has her faults and lets her power and fear go somewhat to her head, but she is not someone who deserves her execution. Katherine is a naive and sexual human being who essentially doesn’t know better than to dally with men in her grandmother’s house, but she isn’t the conniving nymphomaniac purposefully cuckolding Henry as other books sometimes describe her.
Like “To Hold the Crown,” this was one of Plaidy’s better, more flowing works. In some of her books the writing gets somewhat stilted and is more old fashioned, but that isn’t the case with “Murder Most Royal.” All you Tudor historical fiction fanatics, give this book a try.