This is a continuation of a previous story but it does very well as a stand alone. I like historical fiction very much so I would have loved to have read the previous book as well but needs must!
The story follows a group of former nuns during the reign of Henry VIII. Never an easy time for anyone who wanted to keep their head, our heroine Catherine is now a widow (albeit a rich one) with two young children. She is also in a relationship with Benjamin Davies a friend of her husband and to top it all she is now pregnant. Catherine lives in the house of Anne of Cleves who was Henry's fourth wife.
The situation in the country at large is very tense. Catherine Howard has just been executed. She was just a mere child and her death has put everyone on full alert. Henry is in search of a new wife and no one is considered safe. Inquisition like conditions exist everywhere and even Anne of Cleves house is searched, two maids taken in for questioning and the searchlight has now turned on Catherine and her fellow sister Ann.
Catherine and Ann's imprisonment and questioning is the turning point in the life of Catherine. How is she to protect her two living children and the unborn one whose very existence will be called treason and cause for death. Her son is living under the Prince's guardianship and is influenced by the Court as to how his mother should behave and live.
This period of Tudor history is fascinating and however many times told uncovers a facet of life during the time hitherto unknown. The situation of nuns during this period was new to me and this was another aspect of history about which I would like to read more about.
Told in so much detail, one can understand how much research would have gone into the story. I particularly enjoyed the domestic details of the Cleves's household because Catherine was in charge of it and this was very good reading.
The book was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Knox Robinson Publishing.