Posted By Claire on August 14, 2014
A brand new Katherine Howard biography has been released today on Kindle and in paperback – Katherine Howard: A New History. Congratulations to author Conor Byrne on the release of his first book, it’s a great read and really makes you think twice about what you think you know about Katherine.
Here’s the blurb:
“In this new full-length biography of Katherine Howard, Henry VIII’s fifth wife, Conor Byrne reconsiders Katherine’s brief reign and the circumstances of her life, striping away the complex layers of myths and misconceptions to reveal a credible portrait of this tragic queen.
By reinterpreting her life in the context of cultural customs and expectations surrounding sexuality, fertility and family honour, Byrne exposes the limitations of conceptualising Katherine as either ‘whore’ or ‘victim’. His more rounded view of the circumstances in which she found herself and the expectations of her society allows the historical Katherine to emerge.
Katherine has long been condemned by historians for being a promiscuous and frivolous consort who partied away her days and revelled in male attention, but Byrne’s reassessment conveys the mature and thoughtful ways in which Katherine approached her queenship. It was a tragedy that her life was controlled by predators seeking to advance themselves at her expense, whatever the cost.”
Paperback: 266 pages
Kindle File Size: 1478 KB
Publisher: MadeGlobal Publishing (August 14, 2014)
Here’s what I wrote in my foreword to Conor’s book:
“The reassessment of a famous – or, in this case, infamous – historical character is a daunting task for a young history student to take on, but Conor Byrne is not afraid to challenge the theories of historians and biographers and to court controversy. By re-examining the primary source evidence and taking into account the context in which Katherine lived, Conor brings to life a very different Katherine. The reckless airhead of fiction and some history books is gone and in her place is a girl who was used and abused, but who was committed to being the best queen she could be.
Conor examines Katherine’s early life, her marriage to Henry VIII and subsequent downfall from a gendered perspective, giving the reader new insight into what shaped the girl who became Henry VIII’s fifth queen and what brought about her dramatic fall. He has controversial views regarding her relationships with Henry Manox, Francis Dereham and Thomas Culpeper, and is convincing in his arguments. Conor believes that Katherine is as deserving of rehabilitation as her more famous cousin Anne Boleyn and I am sure that this book will go a long way to doing that; it will certainly make readers stop and think.
Conor made me think about how we are so keen on rehabilitating Anne Boleyn, yet many of us accept Katherine’s guilt. Do we really know for certain what happened in 1541? A thought provoking read.
Katherine Howard: A New History by Conor Byrne is available as a Kindle book at Amazon.com, Amazon UK, and the Amazon international stores, and as a paperback from Amazon.com, Amazon UK and the other Amazon stores. It will also be rolling out to other booksellers in due course.
If you buy a copy of Conor Byrne’s Katherine Howard: A New History (in any format) and email a copy of your receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org then you will be sent a copy of Conor’s report Katherine Howard in Popular Culture as a thank you for your purchase.