Katherine Howard bookA 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.”

Book Details:

Paperback: 266 pages
Kindle File Size: 1478 KB
Publisher: MadeGlobal Publishing (August 14, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 8493746460
ISBN-13: 978-8493746469
Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1oLArLP
Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/1AfVA9m

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.

Free Report

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 tim@madeglobal.com then you will be sent a copy of Conor’s report Katherine Howard in Popular Culture as a thank you for your purchase.

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16 thoughts on “Released Today – Katherine Howard: A New History by Conor Byrne plus Free Report on Katherine”
  1. Ooh, sounds like a good one! The pursuit of Kathryn Howard, the person, not the legend, not the “whore”, not the “party hearty” girl – that must have been one heck of a challenge.

    Considering Henry’s attitudes towards the women he allegedly loved, I have always had problems with the presumption of Kathryn’s guilt. After all, very few accept that Anne of Cleves was ugly, just on Henry’s supposed say so. Why should we accept Kathryn Howard’s guilt on the adultery accusations?

    1. I do find it interesting that most people do not believe the indictments used in Anne Boleyn’s trials but will happily believe that Katherine was guilty of the charges laid against her. The poor girl didn’t even have a trial. This book really makes you think and I’m now questioning everything in my research on Katherine’s fall.

      1. Just completed reading this most interesting book. Thought it was well researched and gave a most positive perspective on this most unfortunate young woman. She was so young, so abused and so tragic. It was refreshing though to see someone take the time to seek the truth and set the record straight. Katharine deserved as much. I will think differently when pondering upon the life of Henry’s 5th wife. How hard it must have been to be a noble woman and live in a climate of such scrutiny and violence. They had to be strong and calculating in a male-dominated world. Great read.

        Debbie Braden
        Texas USA

  2. This sounds awesome! I am always so intrigued by the Katherine Howard story. In her case, I feel such pity. She was just a teenager, albeit a sexy one, and it would have been awfully difficult being married to Henry at that point in his life. It appears that she made the kind of mistakes that lots of teens do. With fatal consequences. But I look forward to reading about it and discovering the well researched truth!

    Good luck with the book, Conor!

  3. As you can see by my married name, I have an interest in Katherine Howard and her first ‘lover’, Henry Manox. I’ve just been reading the sample of this book and will be ordering it. In the past I’ve tried to find out what happened to Henry (whether he suffered execution at the Tower of London) but to no avail. Conor Byrne’s book seems to hold the answers to many people’s questions so I’m really looking forward to reading it. It seems that many long held truths are being questioned about much of history – long may you continue to make us think twice Claire. Many thanks for re-igniting my love of Tudor times with this website.

    1. Conor has researched Manox and he gives details about what happened to him. He survived Catherine’s fall, lucky man! I hope you enjoy the book and thank you for your kind words about the site.

  4. Wishing you all the best on the release of your book Conor. You must have worked really hard in researching Katherine, not an easy one I would have thought.
    Looking forward to reading it.

  5. I have just downloaded the Katherine Howard book and looking at the preview it looks interesting. I have to admit that when I read this was a reassessment I had to think, another one? This is because a couple of books have attempted to do this recently, with limited success. However, having received a sample and preview I can see how the author is trying to get behind the myths and look at what Katherine achieved as Queen as well as the circumstances about why she found herself in relationships with unsuitable men during her time in her grandmothers care; or should I say neglect. The Duchess, in my opinion, have much of an imput into making sure the ladies in her care were protected and were behaving correctly or being educated. She may have introduced them to music teachers and so on, but it seems that in the Maidens Doom no-one was supervising them to protect them from nightly visits and so on. Left to their own devices a group of giggling teenage girls are going to get up to mischief and experiment sexually. Katherine was a nieve teenage girl allowed to do her own thing; even though such things were forbiddenand she was punished if caught; it seems to me that no-one prevented them from letting men into the room in the first place. Why did the household not have people to sit in the rooms and supervise the young women in her care? The Duchess was too old to be looking after a group of young women who seem to have been a little wild to say the least.

    I have also recently read a book that does question the charges against Katherine and believed that she was a victim of a conspiracy. However, the evidence presented also is as much a matter of seeing things in documents and events that are not clearly there and reading between the lines as well as reading too much into some events and connections. But Anne Boleyn was the victim of a plot and if people who disliked her or were jealous of her brought evidence to Cranmer of her eventful life before she was married; it would not be too hard to imagine this going a step further to plant or contrive evidence of adultery in her marriage. I am not saying this is the case; but it is something that does need to be looked at. I still believe that she was gulty of affairs before and after her marriage, but the evidence presented leaves many questions that could allow for a verdict of not proven if tried today. (This verdict is only in Scotland today) As Claire has pointed out Katherine Howard was not tried; Henry was too embarrassed and was condemned in Parliament. Even then the MPs were not happy just to pass the Attainer; they wanted to question the Queen and give her the chance to address Parliament. Henry either did not agree to it; ignored the request or Katherine was not asked about this, but he did not allow it and after a fourth vote the Attainer was passed. (This was in the book I recently referred to) Documents have come to light over time and Katherine had been brought to life in her own right. Archives exist that need to be looked closely into and there is doubt about the letter she wrote to Culpepper.

    I believe it was unfortunate that the Howards shuvved Katherine onto the throne, taking advantage of the King who was unhappy with Anne of Cleves, dangling a young and pretty teenage girl of 17/18 at him, and perhaps rousing his lapsed sexual feelings; rather than preserving Katherine for marriage to a nobleman closer to her own age with whom she could have settled down and had children and a successful Howard dynasty of her own. I would love to get hold of her uncle or other family members, who promoted her into the service of Anne and also introduced her to the King at a dinner by Stephen Gardiner in such a way that Henry would become adamoured of her; and they obviously promoted the romance; meetings and so on; and say to them: what where you thinking? Henry had chopped the head of one Howard niece; how could they promote the marriage of another member of their family? I do not believe Katherine was an entirely innocent pawn in all of this but she was an obedient noblewoman who knew it was her duty to obey the wishes of her elders. If the Howards wanted her to win over the King and to marry him; who was she to argue; how indeed could she argue with being queen?

    Anyway, trying to get behind the myths to just how Katherine felt about all this and how she herself was involved, her true self and motivations must have been both difficult and fascinating. I look forward to reading the book in detail and hopefully some questions will be answered.

    Congratulations on the new book and thanks.

  6. Thank you all for your kind comments. I really do appreciate your support and hope you enjoy reading the book, and find it answers some of your questions.
    If it challenges you to reconsider your views of Katherine, then I will have succeeded.

  7. Katherine was a teenager who attracted the attention of young men and dabbled in sexual experimentation, risky behavior for sure, but adventurous and exciting. Maneuvering by her Howard family put her in the role of wife to an old man, albeit a King, with a 54 inch waist. On her own and without lifelong training in decorum, Katherine carried on with her frivolous [and treasonous for a Queen) ways. Her life was destroyed by ambitious courtiers and quickly swept under the rug.

  8. I think Katherine’s downfall does have a political/religious aspect. I think when Cranmer told Henry he definitely was motivated by the need to protect the religious reformation in England, which Katherine as Queen consort could perhaps undermine, being from one of the most powerful Catholic families in the land. Having said that I see more parallels to what nearly happened to Catherine Parr than to Anne’s downfall.

    In so much that religious reformist used something true (that Katherine wasn’t a virgin before marriage/ her affair with Culpeper – though it should be said that relationship may not have been consummated) to engineer her downfall. This is similar to what happened to Katherine Parr when Gardiner and religious conservatives tried to use Parr’s very real protestantism to get her removed via heresy charges. Luckily for Parr she was able to get in front of Henry and plead her case, something which was denied to Katherine Howard. Plus, of course, heresy didn’t wound the integrity of Henry’s codpiece the way adultery/pre marital relations did. The charges against Anne seem to have been complete fabrication puffed up from court gossip.

  9. I read Conor Byrne’s book over the weekend and thoroughly enjoyed it. If you believe in Anne Boleyn’s innocence (as I do) then you will have to think the same of Katherine Howard after looking at this new perspective. You have to wonder what it was about the Howard women that so attracted Henry VIII?

    Thanks to Conor for answering my questions about Henry Manox. Although I’ve found through my own research that my husband isn’t related to him, it was frustrating that he’d disappeared seemingly from the pages of history.

    This is a wonderful site that keeps my ‘little grey cells’ ticking over!

    1. Conor will be so happy that you enjoyed it, Elizabeth. Would you be willing to write a short review on Amazon? It’s such a new book that there aren’t many reviews and I know Conor would appreciate it.

      Thank you for your feedback, I’m thrilled that you enjoy the site.

  10. Hi Claire, just written the review (first one I’ve ever done!) and hopefully others will do so. I hope that as more people access archives (for genealogy as well as research) we will find some gems to answer problematic questions. The pessimist in me says however, that we will never get to grips with some of the interesting figures in history – but please don’t stop trying!

    1. Thank you so much, Elizabeth, that is very kind of you and I know Conor will really appreciate you. Yes, there will always be mysteries and “blanks” but things do keep coming to light.

  11. Well,I’m looking forward to reading it.Might have to look at Barnes and Nobles or Amazon to purchase it,though my local library has a new book by Alison Weir on Elizabeth of York.
    Only reason i can think there would be a plot in regards to Katherine Howard was because she didn’t take so called friends with her to court and give them positions as maids of honor or some sort of gentlemen of the court.So somebody got sour grapes and started the whole ball rolling. Still am curious as to what motivated Jane Boleyn,Lady Rochford,Anne’s sister in law to act as she did with Catherine.Maybe that’s adressed in the book.After all,she survived the fall of Anne and George,and wound up back at court. Surely she would have had the sense to relalize that Henry would be heart broken and angry if he found out what was going on.That whole episode is strange. Wonder what the book has to say about it.

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