Just when I thought I’d read it all and had my fill on Kathryn Howard, comes a book to rekindle my heart. No Will But His, the title of this sublime read, was also Kathryn’s chosen motto... it couldn’t have been more perfect. Kathryn definitely had no say, from beginning to end- and that’s not only where Henry was concerned; Kathryn indulged everyone.
Caring too much about others while forsaking herself along the way, Kathryn dared not hurt or disappoint. Hoyt captures this essence completely, and I for one, am thankful for this most accurate and genuine portrayal of this sadly and misused, puppet queen.
Too many books have capitalized on making the young queen appear overly sexed, flighty, non-caring and downright stupid (these are probably the same people who’ve wrongly slotted Ann Boleyn as well). If you’re a Tudor buff, you know what I mean. Hoyt went the extra mile to really bring out Kathryn’s caring nature and almost self-sacrificial way to be.
What generally comes off as not too deep and rather silly, is in this book revealed as something that goes way deeper. There was much thought and reason brewing in that pretty head, and for the most of it, the conclusions sought were brought forth by the heart- and her fear.
True, Kathryn’s choices ultimately contributed to her tragedy, but when you consider the options...Giving Henry an heir would have solved everything- or so she thought.
The unravelling of her life through a fabrication of gossip would ultimately destroy her reputation and undo her totally. Her word, as much as her tragic death, meant nothing to no one.
For those who would love to get a feel for what Kathryn’s life was like prior to Henry, this book indulges the reader mostly in this part of her life. It’s only in the latter part of the book that Henry shows up for a brief time (very short marriage indeed...)
To understand how transparently genuine, innocent and harmless, this young queen really was, all you need to do is read the part when she meets Anne of Cleves...Her acceptance of the former queen is sublimely humble and quite touching- I loved that part.
Calling all Tudor buffs: You’ll enjoy No Will But His- for sure!
I will be entering this book as my first Challenge read for Marie’s Tudor Mania Challenge over at The Burton Review.