First American edition of a 1949 British novel about Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, Henry VIII's wives II and V, who had something dreadful in common. Subtle character evolvements and background politics are not the author's long suit, but her two queens and a king are outsized enough to easily fill the 542 pages. Anne goes through three stages: a bewitching, quite moral girl who deplored her sister's dalliance with Henry before she held the king at arms length; a wily, driving mistress/queen (""The soft girl. . . had disappeared, and in her place was a calculating woman""); and in the final shift, the last terror and calm. Poor Catherine remains dear and cuddly throughout, although, surely, she makes a good end. Henry is mainly a scabrous monster, although there are glints of true feeling, boyish charm and majesty. The more spectacular executions of Henry's reign are depicted with enthusiasm and there's little attempt to delve into palace power struggles. Off they go -- from Thomas More to Catherine, with scenes of torture and burning entrails. However, there are spirited trysts in the greensward before the final block parties. Vintage Plaidy.