Release Date: December 8th 2015
Genre(s): Historical Fiction
❝ It is now 1542 and another queen, Catherine Howard, has been beheaded for adultery. The king falls into a deep melancholy and questions the faith and loyalty of those around him. Catherine has found herself in a unique position as a married former nun. Now she is a wealthy widow. She has two children, a boy who has successfully joined the young prince’s household and a daughter who lives with her at Richmond Palace, home to Henry’s cast-off fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, now designated “The King’s Beloved Sister.” Catherine also enjoys the attentions of widower Benjamin Davies. But England has changed again. Anne of Cleves hopes for reinstatement as queen―until questions arise about the finances of the houses she keeps. Catherine, as one of the king’s “reformed sisters,” is singled out, just as she realizes that she is carrying a third child. ❞
Netgalley provided me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. My expectations differed from the actual reality of the book, but I did enjoy it nonetheless.
One thing I’d like to state in advance is that I really recommend reading the previous books in the series first. It is possible to read The King’s Sisters as a standalone, as I did, but it does make it harder to get into the story because you jump right into it, while a lot has already happened.
At first I had a hard time getting into the story and the characters. This is partly because I did not read the previous two books, but also because a lot of characters share the same name. I’m sure names like Catherine or Anne were common in that time period,but it does make things rather confusing at first. It took me quite a while to figure out who was who.
Once I got over these initial problems though, I got to fully appreciate the setting that Kennedy created through detailed descriptions. It allowed me to vividly picture the house, the surroundings, the way characters dressed and more. Clearly the author did a lot of research and it showed because the setting truly felt like Tudor England.
Unfortunately, I was less enthusiastic about the plot and the pace. Very little happened in the first half of the book and the focus seemed to be entirely on the day-to-day running of the house and the kitchen duties. That got rather dull after a while and the story dragged considerably because of it. The second half of the book made up for it with a lot of action and a better pace. However, the plot and pace as a whole could have been more balanced in my opinion.
All in all, The King’s Sisters is an enjoyable read, especially if you are a fan of historical fiction. However, it does leave room for some improvement.