KATHERYN HOWARD, THE SCANDALOUS QUEEN

A vivid re-creation of a Tudor tragedy.

A lusty teenager caught the roving eye of Henry VIII.

Continuing a fictional chronicle of the Six Tudor Queens, Weir brings thorough research and spirited storytelling to her portrayal of Katheryn Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife. Katheryn was 19 when her manipulative, ambitious uncle, the Duke of Norfolk, and her stepgrandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Norfolk, summoned her with a proposal: Henry VIII had tired of his German wife, Anne of Cleves, and, rumor had it, had not yet consummated their marriage. He sought an annulment; soon he would need a new wife. The Howards saw Katheryn, one of Anne’s many maids of honor, as a means to elevate their position and wealth as well as to bring a Catholic into the court. Of course, Katheryn had to be—or pretend to be—a virgin. “Chastity is to be prized,” Katheryn knew. “But what was wrong with taking your pleasure where you found it?” She easily and ardently fell in love: with her music teacher; with a distant cousin, a rakish courtier who “rode her like a stallion, gasping and moaning” and insisted they were married; and with the handsome Tom Culpeper, whom she had known as a child. Now a good-looking man “with a strong jaw and high cheekbones,” he was an esteemed member of the king’s Privy Chamber. Weir sees Katheryn as an impetuous, superficial young woman—far less sympathetic than Jane Seymour or Katherine of Aragon—dazzled by wealth and glamour. As maid of honor, she exulted, “she would live in palaces, have beautiful gowns, dance and make merry.” To her great delight, seducing Henry involved many luxurious new vestments and jewels. After their marriage, “dizzy with elation,” she exclaimed to herself, “She really was queen!” But not for long: Betrayals, plots, subterfuge, and her unbridled passion caused “the whole glittering edifice” of her life to implode.

A vivid re-creation of a Tudor tragedy.

Pub Date: May 12, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-101-96660-0

Page Count: 464

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: March 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2020

THE WOMEN

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

A young woman’s experience as a nurse in Vietnam casts a deep shadow over her life.

When we learn that the farewell party in the opening scene is for Frances “Frankie” McGrath’s older brother—“a golden boy, a wild child who could make the hardest heart soften”—who is leaving to serve in Vietnam in 1966, we feel pretty certain that poor Finley McGrath is marked for death. Still, it’s a surprise when the fateful doorbell rings less than 20 pages later. His death inspires his sister to enlist as an Army nurse, and this turn of events is just the beginning of a roller coaster of a plot that’s impressive and engrossing if at times a bit formulaic. Hannah renders the experiences of the young women who served in Vietnam in all-encompassing detail. The first half of the book, set in gore-drenched hospital wards, mildewed dorm rooms, and boozy officers’ clubs, is an exciting read, tracking the transformation of virginal, uptight Frankie into a crack surgical nurse and woman of the world. Her tensely platonic romance with a married surgeon ends when his broken, unbreathing body is airlifted out by helicopter; she throws her pent-up passion into a wild affair with a soldier who happens to be her dead brother’s best friend. In the second part of the book, after the war, Frankie seems to experience every possible bad break. A drawback of the story is that none of the secondary characters in her life are fully three-dimensional: Her dismissive, chauvinistic father and tight-lipped, pill-popping mother, her fellow nurses, and her various love interests are more plot devices than people. You’ll wish you could have gone to Vegas and placed a bet on the ending—while it’s against all the odds, you’ll see it coming from a mile away.

A dramatic, vividly detailed reconstruction of a little-known aspect of the Vietnam War.

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781250178633

Page Count: 480

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

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IT STARTS WITH US

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

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The sequel to It Ends With Us (2016) shows the aftermath of domestic violence through the eyes of a single mother.

Lily Bloom is still running a flower shop; her abusive ex-husband, Ryle Kincaid, is still a surgeon. But now they’re co-parenting a daughter, Emerson, who's almost a year old. Lily won’t send Emerson to her father’s house overnight until she’s old enough to talk—“So she can tell me if something happens”—but she doesn’t want to fight for full custody lest it become an expensive legal drama or, worse, a physical fight. When Lily runs into Atlas Corrigan, a childhood friend who also came from an abusive family, she hopes their friendship can blossom into love. (For new readers, their history unfolds in heartfelt diary entries that Lily addresses to Finding Nemo star Ellen DeGeneres as she considers how Atlas was a calming presence during her turbulent childhood.) Atlas, who is single and running a restaurant, feels the same way. But even though she’s divorced, Lily isn’t exactly free. Behind Ryle’s veneer of civility are his jealousy and resentment. Lily has to plan her dates carefully to avoid a confrontation. Meanwhile, Atlas’ mother returns with shocking news. In between, Lily and Atlas steal away for romantic moments that are even sweeter for their authenticity as Lily struggles with child care, breastfeeding, and running a business while trying to find time for herself.

Through palpable tension balanced with glimmers of hope, Hoover beautifully captures the heartbreak and joy of starting over.

Pub Date: Oct. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-668-00122-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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