Tuesday, 21 May 2019

NO MORE TIME TO DANCE by Gemma Lawrence @TudorTweep

5 GOLD stars

On Amazon UK
On Amazon.com
On Goodreads

How I discovered this book: I didn't so much discover it as wait for it to come out and make haste to Amazon as soon as I saw (on Twitter) that it was available!  I've read and reviewed almost all this author's books.

In a Nutshell:  Part II of a two book series about the life of Catherine Howard.

Loved it, loved it.  This second book takes us from the beginning of Catherine's marriage to Henry VIII, to her death, and in this book, as in the previous one, Gemma Lawrence shows us a different Catherine from the one so often portrayed; a young woman ill-educated, but not without intelligence and understanding of people.  A woman who knew what she must do to survive, until those who resented her position whispered the words that would bring about her downfall.

At the end of the book, Ms Lawrence's notes give her educated opinion about many of the fictions and assumptions told down the years, about this fifth wife of Henry.  For instance, Catherine never actually said that she would rather die as the wife of Thomas Culpepper than live as the wife of the King, as she was facing her death, and it is unlikely that she had the raging physical affair with Culpepper as portrayed, for instance, in Showtime's The Tudors.  We actually have very little factual knowledge about her.

Lawrence's Catherine talks much about the lot of women in that period in which she lived, and about the men who abused her (Manox and Dereham): Their greatest power is our silence.  An echo through time, of all women too scared to speak out about abuse, both mental and physical.  This aspect, though, is not rammed down the reader's throat; the book is just a cracking good read, in which I was totally engrossed all the way through.  The historical detail paints perfect pictures, both of the way in which the people lived, and England itself (I loved reading about the Progress, the buildings, the countryside).  

There was so much I loved about this book: the portrayal and understanding of Henry's motivations, fears and self-delusion, the fact that Catherine never refers to him as 'Henry' but always as 'the King' or 'my husband', and the sense of suspense when she doesn't know that she is far from safe is real page-turning stuff.

Excellent two book series.  Highly recommended.


  1. Couldn't agree more, it was absolutely gripping. I wanted to shout to her, 'get out, get out, get on a horse and just go!' but of course that's not going to happen!