“Freedom is not treasured until it is lost.” (Pg. 348)

The story of Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, has always pulled me in. I sympathize with these women and have a strong dislike towards their King. While obviously we can’t change the past, and we’ll never know what truly happened, it is engaging to learn of the possibilities.

I was eight years-old when I first heard Catherine’s name and read anything about her–well, her ghost that is. I read a book about mysteries and there was a section about her ghost and Hampton Court. I was fascinated by her. However, I wouldn’t hear or read about her until I was about 12 year-old. I discovered Elizabeth I when I was 10 or 11. It was then that I backtracked and found out about her father and his six wives: Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr.

The Queen’s Mistake by Diane Haegar, was a wonderful read. Never before have I become so emotionally invested with someone who lived and died 468 years ago. Despite the fact that this novel is historical fiction and quite probably holds events that may or may not have happened–again–to learn of the possibilities.

The way Haegar presents Catherine Howard is that she was promiscuous to pass the time of an uneventful life in the country. A “no strings attached” kind of thing. However, she would end up falling in love with someone even though her family has ambition like no other and is pushing her towards Henry VIII. In short, the story of a girl who wanted for nothing but to beloved for who she was and not what she could offer or her family would gain. And because of that she dies.

Haegar has written a powerful piece of historical fiction. Undoubtedly, this has become a favorite. I should not say anymore because I do not wish to give away what wonderful writing this is. The Queen’s Mistake gets 4.5 out of 5.

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