Cover Image: The Catherine Howard Conspiracy

The Catherine Howard Conspiracy

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Member Reviews

What a great book, a great historical mystery about Catherine Howard, Henry VIII’s much maligned fifth wife. The story is a dual time with twin sisters, Perdita and Piper in the present who inherit the huge estate of their Grandmother. The twins were estranged from their Grandmother since the death of their mother, this adds to the mystery of the story. Why did their Grandmother stop visiting them when she obviously loved them? Why did she stop publishing her historical nonfiction books about the Tudors and the Stuarts after the twins mother died? I really love the storyline of Catherine Howard. She has alway been portrayed as a ditzy teenager who stupidly had an affair with Thomas Culpepper setting up the reason for her grizzly end. This story portrays Catherine as an intelligent woman, who marries Henry with much trepidation and knowledge of what her future could be (cousin Anne Boleyn anyone).  What really happened to Catherine Howard? This book really makes one think outside the box. I highly recommend this book.
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I'd round this out to a solid 3.5 stars if NetGalley would let me ;)

I seem to be picking up a lot of dual timeline novels these days! And quite a few more than decent reads coming from NetGalley which is fun for me!

At first, as has been the case with the last two dual timeline novels I've picked up, I wasn't too sure I was going to enjoy this, I thought Perdita was kind of boring and seemed to have an impossibly perfect life... This opinion hasn't really changed much, Perdita is pretty boring and everything just works out for her all the time. 

What I did enjoy a lot were the chapters dedicated to Catherine Howard's story, and the chapter's where Perdita was reading her grandmother's research on the topic. These were the best written, and the most exciting, I just wanted to know right away all the Catherine Howard "conspiracy" even if I went into this knowing very little about her and not being a massive Tudor England fan. 

I thought somethings were really lame - like Perdita thinking that the bill of attainder for the beheading of Catherine Howard was faked from that originally issued for Katherine Tilney because their names were of the same lengths, ummm that's not how evidence works thanks, by that reasoning my own name could really be 'Empress Gothic' - ridiculous! 

Personally I also feel like it is fairly obvious that the set-up for the next volume in the series is to with Marie Queen of Scots, what with all the mentions of Marie de Guise (her mother), but maybe I am just being picky, but really I would think that most readers of historical fiction would also see this coming a mile away.

All in all, this was fun and I look forward to the next volume in the series and I hope that Walsh can improve on Perdita's cardboard cutout of a personality.
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“Good books don't give up all their secrets at once.” 
― Stephen King

And so it is with The Catherine Howard Conspiracy - the author slowly reveals her secrets, leaving the reader breathless with anticipation!

With dual timelines, the story begins in 1539, at Whitehall palace, under the rule of King Henry VIII. Catherine Howard, newly appointed maid of honour to the new queen, Anne of Cleves, makes a somewhat nervous entrance to Court, but as she becomes used to her new surroundings, she becomes aware of the subterfuge and danger which is a part of daily life, especially with a King as unpredictable as Henry.

Catherine soon catches the eye of Henry - the thought of which terrifies her, but she’s encouraged by her uncle, who is eager to see an Howard heir on the throne. 

The second part of the storyline is located in Pembrokeshire, Wales in 2018, where we meet Dr Perdita Rivers, who receives both good and bad news - firstly her estranged grandmother, renowned Tudor historian Mary Fitzroy has passed away, and with it comes the news that Perdita and her twin sister Piper have inherited Mary’s not inconsiderable estate which includes the very grand Marquess House. The thing that puzzles Perdita is, why on earth would her grandmother leave everything to them, when in life she’d ignored their very existence?

Perdita begins a search to determine why Mary acted as she did, and it’s during her search that she discovers ancient documents, letters, and diaries suggesting that records relating to Catherine Howard’s execution were false!

Perdita continues investigations into the life of Catherine Howard started by Mary, but it will prove to be a most dangerous assignment that puts the lives of everyone involved at risk - after all, this is a secret that could change the entire history of the monarchy.

Author Alexandra Walsh writes with an accuracy, informed perhaps by extensive research of the Tudor Period, and although this is a work of fiction, it certainly gives an accurate account of the workings of the court of King Henry VIII, and more importantly the rivalry and ambition between the Howard’s and the Seymour’s.

Though complex, this well plotted thriller holds the reader in its grasp, especially relating to Catherine Howard, and even though most of the secrets and mysteries were concluded in a satisfying manner, it’s clear that there will be a follow up, and I for one would be more than happy to read it, after becoming totally absorbed in this unique storyline.
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I loved this book! It's a great historical fiction, enjoyable and entertaining.
I loved the plot, full of twists and turns, the fleshed out characters and the setting.
The historical background was well researched and fascinating.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to Sapere Books and Netgalley for this ARC. I voluntarily read and reviewed this book, all opinions are mine.
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Absolutely five star throughout !! Utterly fascinating and a well researched piece of historical fact, blended sympathetically with plausible fiction. Historical truth and conspiracy theory at its best. 
Set in two different timelines, the 1500 period concerns Catherine Howard, wife number five of King Henry the Eighth. History is seen from her perspective, marrying a much older man and her fight to survive the Tudor Court.
Timeline two, deals with Perdita Rivers and her twin sister, Piper, who inherit Marquess Hall, when their beloved and estranged Grandmother dies, in 2018. Mary Fitzroy, was an internationally renowned historian,who specialised in the Tudor period,and had written,but not published, a book that casts doubt upon the accepted death of Catherine Howard. Naturally, there are sinister people, who will stop at nothing to keep this explosive book, secret, and both sisters find themselves threatened. 
I found this story to be throughly plausible and logical, yet the author herself states the book is a work of fiction, but then ,she would say that!! I didn't take to the names of Perdita and Piper, but Fitzroy is a Royal name, so maybe another clue in another book?! Piper doesn't play a large part in book one,maybe she will shine in the next. The research is phenomenal and reads so brilliantly, places and names of key people at court are combined so well, fact meets fiction and like each other. 
I had guessed most of what happens by 54% of my Kindle read, but the finer details did elude me. I loved and appreciated the sheer effort that has gone into this stimulating book, and urge the author to write quicker, I really want to read the next two books!!
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Dan Brown meets Phillappa Gregory and  brings a new twist to historical fiction. Twin sisters find they are heirs to a vast fortune and a sinister heritage. The Tudor bit of the story is intriguing but I found the present day with secret government departments and squads of assassins difficult. I won’t be reading the rest of the trilogy.
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This book was received as an ARC from Sapere Books in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

I am very familiar with the story of Henry VIII and his marriage to Anne Boleyn but I never have read the secret tale of Catherine Howard, Anne Boleyn's cousin and next wanted criminal of Henry VIII. I love historical fiction when there is an unknown tale of a supporting figure within a major historical event. Then transferring ahead thousands of years we meet Dr. Perdita who has a grandmother that is a renowned Tudor historian and after cutting communication with Perdita and her sister but when she passes and leaves her historical house to the both of them, Perdita discovers papers from Catherine Howard and uncovered the truth of what really happened to her and how her death was unjust. I was in love with the story and my eyes were glued from beginning to end. We have a lot of people wanting to read Historical Fiction for projects and this one is by far my favorite that I have read so far.

We will consider adding this title to our historical fiction collection at our library. That is why we give this book 5 stars.
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After having no contact with her grandmother throughout her life, Dr Perdita Rivers is shocked to discover that on her death, she has inherited Marquess House, her vast estate in Pembrokeshire. Finding herself wealthy beyond her wildest dreams, Perdita sets out to discover the reason behind her estrangement from her grandmother. She soon realises that something is afoot at Marquess House after discovering documents claiming that the fifth wife of Henry VIII was not, in fact, executed, but instead managed to escape his tyranny. Will Perdita discover the fate of the Tudor Queen and find out just how her grandmother is connected?

I am a fan of fiction containing a dual timeline and so The Catherine Howard Conspiracy was definitely a book that appealed straight away, especially with its Tudor link – another of my interests. I was intrigued to read about Henry VIII’s fifth wife, as she is one of the Tudor Queens that I know least about and I loved how the author has merged historical fact with fiction, to the point that I began to wonder which parts were real and which were not!

History has perceived Catherine as a flirtatious, naive young woman but Alexandra Walsh paints a completely different picture of the ill-fated queen. In The Catherine Howard Conspiracy, we see her constantly in fear of her husband, whose behaviour is becoming increasingly erratic. Several scenes were truly heartbreaking as we see how she is being mistreated and I was willing her to escape his clutches. I particularly enjoyed the relationship she had with Henry’s previous wife, Anne of Cleves, the only other woman who truly knew what it was like to be married to the king.

Perdita, I found, to be quite a complex character and my feelings towards her changed throughout the book. I did, however, find myself incredibly envious of her having all of that priceless historical documentation at her disposal! I admired her tenacity when, faced with a potential life-threatening situation, she was determined to uncover the truth about what had happened to Catherine Howard.

As I knew that this was the first in a trilogy, I couldn’t wait to see how the author would end this first installment. I liked how, although the main mysteries in the book had been solved, there is a clear indication of what is going to happen in part two.

This is a fantastic read and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
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I received a copy of this title from the publisher for an honest review.  The first book in a trilogy, the Catherine Howard Conspiracy switches between current day and 1539-1542 England.  The current day timeline features Dr. Perdita Rivers, archaeologist specializing in jewelry who unexpectedly inherits an enormous sum of money and Marquess House from her estranged grandmother.  Upon her arrival at Marquess House, the mystery behind the estrangement between her grandmother and father after her mother's death deepens when she is greeted by the staff as a beloved family member.  Her grandmother had kept an eye on Perdita and her twin Piper from a distance over the years.  Her grandmother, a well regarded historian focusing on women in the Tudor Era was working on a book about Catherine Howard that she had shelved around the time of Perdita's mother's death.  Why had her grandmother stopped working on the book and what had she recently discovered that had convinced her that she should finish the book?  And what is the connection to Perdita's mother's death and current danger stalking the twins?

The historical portion focus's on Catherine Howard's life from the time she joins Henry the VIII court through her short reign as Queen Consort.  History portrays Catherine as a young, silly, and frivolous, but could there be more to the story than anyone knows?  Ms. Walsh does a wonderful job with the historical portion of the book giving the readers rich historical details about court life during this period including Henry's increasing madness and violent behavior.  The alternate version of Catherine in this story is incredibly engaging and the reader can't help but dread the end of her reign knowing that how her story ends.

I couldn't put this story down even though some portions of the mystery are fairly easy to guess, but how it is all put together kept me engaged throughout.  I can't wait to read the next book in the trilogy to see what happens next in both timelines.
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The Catherine Howard Conspiracy by Alexandra Walsh is a dual time Historical Mystery, 1540 to 2018 with twists.  If you are a fan of English History, Tudors, Alison Weir, Philippa Gregory, Tracy Borman and other great historical authors this is a book for you.  There are historical what if’s, constant plots, fears, thrills and mysteries that keep the reader on edge.  I immediately purchased this book and can’t wait to read the next book in this series.  I have a new favorite author and series. 
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  I appreciate the opportunity and thank the author and publisher for allowing me to read, enjoy and review this book.
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I received this book via Netgalley and the publisher, in return for an honest review. This book is an alternate reality style, that posits that Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII, wasn’t beheaded for infidelity but survived.  There is a corresponding current day mystery when Dr. Perdita Rivers receives word that her estranged grandmother has died and she, along with her sister, Piper, have inherited the entire estate (which is really, really big!).  The story alternates between the two timelines and seeks to solve the mystery of the estrangement, while also allowing Catherine (Kitty) Howard’s alternate story to be told.  This is the first book in a trilogy about the estate. While the book was well written and plotted, it wasn’t to my taste.  Nothing against the author, just not my cup of tea.
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Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, didn't come from a glamorous life, but when their maternal grandmother passes, whom they had no relationship with since the age of 7 after the passing of their mother, things get a little confusing and weird. And why does everyone keep saying the word, "safe" in reference to them.

Perdita finds out after the passing of her father and then grandmother that their father was sending photographs of the twins to her. Perplexed and rather annoyed about this, Perdita goes on a hunt to find the truth behind the wealth of her grandmother, the stack of unpublished books and the gaps in them, and could there be a connection to royal blood dating back to King Henry VIII with his 5th wife, Catherine Howard.

Thank you, to Net Galley and Sapere Books for allowing me the chance to read an advanced copy.
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This book is written in two time periods, one being the 1540’s, the other being 2018. It’s about a woman named Dr Perdita Rivers, who learns about the death of her estranged grandmother, a well-known historian, and discovers that everything has been left to her and her twin sister Piper. Perdita sets herself the task of discovering why her grandmother abandoned them, and is also drawn to documents in the house that claim the records of Catherine Howards execution at the hands of her husband Henry VIII were falsified. I loved this book. I was so drawn in by the title alone I had to request it as soon as I read the description and I was really excited when I saw that I had been accepted to read & review it. Both time periods in this book are written in third person and they mesh together so well. When it switches time periods it is linked in such a seamless way. I managed to get through this book a lot quicker than I thought because I was so engrossed in it! I loved the writing & the plot and conspiracy really intrigued me and it’s honestly made me want to research more into Catherine Howard’s life as the fifth wife of Henry VIII. It was so well researched and thought up and I honestly already can’t wait to read the next book in this trilogy. This book is labelled as a thriller & historical fiction mixture and I would most definitely agree with it. Alexandra Walsh is incredible at writing these new characters, some you love, some you hate, but also she is amazing at writing these characters based on what we know of these real life people such as Catherine Howard, Henry VIII, Thomas Howard etc and it’s just so well done. The chapters felt really quick to get through and because the story is so engrossing and you’re always learning new things and something is always happening in either time period, this book really is a quick read despite its 464 pages. It honestly didn’t feel that long at all! I’ve also found this book to be compared to books by Philippa Gregory & Alison Weir, both authors I have not read but are thoroughly interested in delving into at some point. If you at all are interested in those authors mentioned, Tudor history or find conspiracies about history intriguing then I definitely recommend getting this when it comes out which is at the end of this month!
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This book was fascinating, intriguing, far fetched, at times preposterous (when Henry confessed all in one of his mad fits), predictable, pretentious (the names Perdita and Piper!) frustrating and at the same time very, very readable!  I also add confusing to the list as the author talked about Perdita moving into Marquess House in a fortnight’s time only to move in ‘tomorrow’  in the next paragraph.  This  was closely followed by a similar instance of Piper arriving in two week’s time and suddenly being there!   Being a Richard III fan, I enjoyed the contraversial points mentioned regarding the time and finding of his remains.   I felt the author wrote better when in the past than in the present but am already eagerly awaiting the sequel!
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I  sometimes enjoy a good conspiracy thriller and this one wasn't bad.  The historical mystery was far-fetched, but presented plausibly.  I felt that the historical flashbacks were a bit of a weakness, as they seemed somewhat anachronistic - particularly the language.  The government conspiracy bits were far-fetched to the point of madness, but that isn't unusual with this genre.  The biggest problem is that the central secret doesn't seem major enough to justify the intensity of the conspiracy...  That said, I suspect that the remaining two books in the series will be building on the secrets and making the conspiracy angle more understandable.  I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy.
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Absolutely loved this book! Can't wait for the next installments in the series. I love history, especially the Tudors, and it was great to have one of Henry VIII's wives as the centre of the plot. Of course, it's fiction but very well done and great interweaving of the make believe past and present. Highly recommended!
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I always enjoy reading alternative histories and this one was no exception. There were flavours of Barbara Erskine and of Kate Morton and even a hint of Dan Brown's Da Vinci code with the hidden royal bloodline theme in this. As a qualified historian, it was interesting to see the popular characterisation of Catherine Howard as a silly good time girl challenged but  overall I felt that it would have helped to make the explanation surrounding her survival and disappearance more believable if the author had fully committed to setting it in an alternative universe as Laura Andersen did in the Boleyn Trilogy. It is not really credible that a vast conspiracy to remove a Queen of England and hide two royal babies and promote a substitute set of executions that history would record as hers and her lovers could have been pulled off particularly when dealing with so many eyewitnesses, and unreliable allies. The rewriting of the Duke of Norfolk's character into a more sympathetic and kinder one was also difficult to believe.. Given also that our reality TV does regularly trot out a 'lost king' or 'lost royal family' with no great concern from the State, it is hard to believe that any one would care enough to set up a mysterious organisation to threaten the lost descendants of a Tudor king. 
It's a preposterous tale but it was fun to read and I look forward to the next one.
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This book was absolutely amazing. I love alternate history. I was worried at first with the current time chapters being at the beginning but it wasn't long until I was hooked. I could not put this book down! As I went about fact checking different things I learned a great deal about Katherine Howard that were somehow unknown to me. I cannot wait for the next installment.
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The Catherine Howard Conspiracy is the first book in The Marquess House Trilogy by Alexandra Walsh. It's a British historical conspiracy/thriller with a dose of mystery and suspense thrown in for good measure. This book is structured using 2 distinct time periods. each telling an equally compelling story.

In 2018, Pembrokeshire, Wales: Dr. Perdita Rivers, a respected historian, has just learned that her estranged grandmother has died. Her grandmother was a renowned Tudor historian in her own right. Perdita and her twin sister, Piper, have inherited everything in their grandmother’s estate. This includes the Marquess House and a mystery dating back to the reign of King Henry VIII. 

In 1529, Whitehall Palace, England: The 2nd timeline quickly pulls readers into the drama of King Henry’s court, Catherine Howard, a cousin of Anne Boleyn, is a young girl when she arrives at court as a maid of honour in the household of the new queen, Anne of Cleaves. She is quickly swept up in the intrigue of court life. thanks to her ambitious uncle, who is eager to place a Howard heir on the throne.

The shift between the timelines in The Catherine Howard Conspiracy was very easy to follow, thanks to clear chapter and section headings. Like books by Dan Brown, the conspiracy in The Catherine Howard Conspiracy, is completely made up by the author, so don’t expect a lot of hard history, here. But, you do get a wonderful taste for the Tudor time period and a fantastic mystery.

It was painful to see what women endured at the hands of a maniac king. This brings me to the blush factor part of my review. The Catherine Howard Conspiracy definitely made me blush at some of the things King Henry VIII did. I would caution readers who are sensitive to issues of rape or abuse; these things took place in King Henrey VII's court. The author described them, when necessary, as an integral part of the story. It wasn't gratuitous but did turn my stomach. It should. Treatment like that is sickening. The language in the book was clean with the exception of one effen-heimer.

I enjoyed the characters in The Catherine Howard Conspiracy with the exception of Perdita’s twin, Piper, who didn’t seem to serve much of a purpose in this book. My guess is that she will play a larger role in the next 2 books in The Marquess House Trilogy, which I look forward to reading. I appreciated that while The Catherine Howard Conspiracy is part of a trilogy, it can be read as a stand-alone book and still leave readers feeling satisfied. That said, I am eagerly anticipating the remaining books in The Marquess House Trilogy. 

I would recommend The Catherine Howard Conspiracy to anyone who enjoys historical fiction with intrigue. It will be published on March 28, 2019, and is currently available for presale.

Thank you to NetGalley and Sapere Books for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A gripping historical mystery come thriller.  Really couldn't put it down and can't wait for the next part.
What if the history we all learnt at school is a lie? We all know history is written by the victor and can be altered to suit the times.
Supposing Catherine Howard wasn't executed but survived?
Perdita suddenly inherits her estranged geandmother's estate and starts to investigate a long abandoned manuscript. What had Mary uncovered about Catherine and why does Perdita need to be kept safe?
This book combines 2 of my literature loves Tudors and mystery and I really enjoyed reading it.
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