Because Henry VIII is on the cover, it has to be about one of his wives, but which one? Katherine Howard, you’re thinking? No, no–this blond bombshell is none other than Katherine Parr. She looks a wee bit different from her portrait on the right sidebar of this blog, doesn’t she?
One would assume that the hunk Katy is embracing is Thomas Seymour, but a skim through the novel indicates that this isn’t necessarily so, since Eady’s Katherine has adulterous dalliances not only with Seymour, but with her stepson. Nonetheless, Katherine retains her historical interest in religion, so that on one page she tells her stepson, “‘I will confess to you that sometimes the fact we have to be so secret in our new faith frightens me,'” while on another she utters the time-honored, “‘Take me, take me.'”
Katherine also has a knack with herbs, a fact that apparently was of some concern to the publisher’s legal staff, for the copyright page of this novel contains a “Cautionary Notice” advising the reader, “The herbs, spices, and remedies listed throughout the book are for historical interest only and are not for contemporary use in the form given.”
Buying this novel solely for its cover, I haven’t read it straight through, but if one can overlook what seems to be a lot of ahistorical bonking (Katherine is also given an out-of-wedlock child–and it’s not Seymour’s or the stepson’s), it doesn’t seem to be all that bad.
Just don’t do anything silly with those herbs.