The King’s Sisters
By: Sarah Kennedy
History is not an evenly studied subject. Spotlights are shone into the past, highlighting certain times from a specific angle. Much of history is told from the perspective of men. One author however, is working to change that. Renaissance scholar Sarah Kennedy, studying Tudor England and the fates of nuns under Henry VIII noticed a lack of records. Religious under the Tudor king were largely marginalized in history books and not much is known about their fate. Using historical fiction, Kennedy is rewriting the lives of former nuns, bringing their stories to life through her imagination, and zeal for history. Her series is full of everything one might expect to find in Tudor England and more. The Cross and the Crown series centers around Catherine Havens, a former nun. In the latest installment The King’s Sister, the date is 1542. The king has beheaded his young bride for infidelity and the fate of women all over the kingdom is uncertain – especially those who have ties to the king, and his former wives. Catherine is serving Anne of Cleves, Henry’s fourth wife, now his beloved sister after their divorce. With her son staying with the prince, her husband buried, Catherine unwed, finds herself in a very precarious situation.
The King’s Sister is every bit as detailed and vivid as its predecessors. Kennedy has as much a predilection for storytelling, as she does for research – and the resulting books are a gift to readers and fans of history. The Cross and the Crown books shine among their peers such as The Other Boleyn Girl. This fresh look back into the musty history of men, and their treatment of the fairer sex is both enlightening and evocative. Her knowledge of dress, customs, and language alone is enough to fill a book. But Kennedy has carefully woven these details into a rich and colorful tapestry – the life and peril of religious during a time of extreme reformation, and the reign of men. Be prepared for your mind to linger on the life and women surrounding Catherine Havens when you pick up this, the latest work of Sarah Kennedy. Fans of historical fiction, women’s history, religious history, Tudor England, and a good novel will all find something to enjoy in these three novels.