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Henry VIII’s True Daughter (Hardback)

Catherine Carey, A Tudor Life

P&S History > British History > Tudors & Stuarts P&S History > Royal History

By Wendy J Dunn
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 240
Illustrations: Integrated black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399012249
Published: 28th November 2023

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The lives of Tudor women often offer faint but fascinating footnotes on the pages of history. The life of Catherine – or Katryn as her husband would one day pen her name – Carey, the daughter of Mary Boleyn and, as the weight of evidence suggests, Henry VIII, is one of those footnotes.

As the possible daughter of Henry VIII, the niece of Anne Boleyn and the favourite of Elizabeth I, Catherine’s life offers us a unique perspective on the reigns of Henry and his children. In this book, Wendy J. Dunn takes these brief details of Catherine’s life and turns them into a rich account of a woman who deserves her story told. Following the faint trail provided of her life from her earliest years to her death in service to Queen Elizabeth, Dunn examines the evidence of Catherine’s parentage and views her world through the lens of her relationship with the royal family she served.

This book presents an important story of a woman who saw and experienced much tragedy and political turmoil during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary I – all of which prepared her to take on the vital role of one of Elizabeth I closest and most trusted women. It also prepared her to become the wife of one of Elizabeth's privy councillors – a man also trusted and relied on by the queen. Catherine served Elizabeth during the uncertain and challenging first years of her reign, a time when there was a question mark over whether she would succeed as queen regnant after the failures of England's first crowned regnant, her sister Mary.

Through immense research and placing her in the context of her period, HENRY VIII’S TRUE DAUGHTER: CATHERINE CAREY, A TUDOR LIFE draws Catherine out of the shadows of history to take her true place as the daughter of Henry VIII and shows how vital women like Catherine were to Elizabeth and the ultimate victory of her reign.

"Henry VIII's True Daughter: Catherine Carey, A Tudor Life" by Wendy J Dunn offers a captivating insight into the lesser-known figure of Catherine Carey, who was believed by some historians to be the illegitimate daughter of Henry VIII. Dunn's meticulous research brings Catherine to life, painting a vivid portrait of her experiences within the Tudor court. The book skillfully navigates through Catherine's relationships, challenges, and contributions, offering a fresh perspective on this fascinating period of history. Dunn's narrative is engaging, offering both historical accuracy and a compelling storytelling style that will appeal to fans of Tudor-era biographies. Overall, "Henry VIII's True Daughter" is a must-read for anyone interested in the Tudor dynasty and the lives of its lesser-known figures.

NetGalley, Cecilly Scott

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The author, Dr. Wendy J. Dunn, is also a gifted and prolific writer of fiction, and the prose in this volume is more lyrical and flows better than the average pure (dry) academic history. The subject, Catherine (Katryn) Carey won't be familiar to many readers, but there is credible historical evidence to suggest that she really was Henry VIII's daughter, and spent time at court with her ill-fated aunt. This is where the author's adeptness comes through, instead of just a dry recitation of dates and names, she manages to bring the actors to life for modern readers.

NetGalley, Annie Buchanan

I was so happy for the opportunity to review this book. I had never heard of Catherine Carey before. It seems as though I am constantly learning more about Tudor England and I was happy for the chance to learn more. I found the material well researched and very interesting to read. I plan to return to this book in the future because I love nonfiction history and especially British History.

NetGalley, Whitney Foster

I was really excited about this book because this is one of my favorite Tudor theories. I am so glad I found a history book that talks specifically about this!

NetGalley, Darrah Culp

This book explores the intriguing life of Catherine Carey, Anne Boleyn’s niece, believed to be Henry VIII’s daughter. Favored by Elizabeth I, Catherine’s unique view offers insights into the Tudor monarchs. Delving into her life from childhood to serving Elizabeth I, it unravels the mysteries of her parentage and tells the rich story of this fascinating woman.

NetGalley, Andrea Romance

The book Henry VIII’s True Daughter by Wendy J. Dunn tells the story of Catherine Carey, the daughter of Mary Boleyn and, probably, Henry VIII. The author has done an excellent job of describing Catherine’s fate in a way that reads like a novel. It is evident that Dunn has a background in writing historical novels, and this is reflected in her writing style. I enjoyed reading about how the author came to her conclusions.

The chapters are well divided, and the historical surroundings give you a lot of context. I recommend this book to all Royal history enthusiasts. It is a must-read.

NetGalley, Magdalena Šejdová

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A well written and detailed look into
a woman's life in the sixteenth century.
A life with royal connections. The book is extremely readable and gives valuable insight to fraught times. The well off didn't have easy lives.

NetGalley, LOIS ELIYAHU

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

What a intriguing book that adds some amazing uncovered historical facts about King Henry VIII and Mary Boleyn, and there relationship together. You can determine whether you feel Mary Boleyns daughter, Catherine Carey was really Henry VIII daughter. Mary was Anne Boleyns sister.
The book is full of information to let you know what it was like to live during that time period. This is important to know as it plays a key role in understanding and unraveling this complex story. Life was very different and you're dealing with when dates were not documented as they are now, two different calendars adds to the confusion.
Find out about how Anne Boleyn plays in this puzzle. Also what happens to Catherine Carey during her lifetime.
It's most enlightening book and anyone who loves this the Tudors this is one for your library.

NetGalley, Lena Andrews

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Henry VIII’s True Daughter by Wendy J Dunn was a book I enjoyed from start to finish and I love reading about Henry VIII and Tudor times, not saying I would love to live then........

The lives of Tudor women were amazing women especially what they had to put up with and Catherine's life was no different. She was the daughter of Mary Boleyn and the possible daughter of Henry VIII, the niece of Anne Boleyn and the favourite of Elizabeth I.

Wendy J. Dunn takes these brief details of Catherine’s life and turns them into a rich account of a woman who deserves her story told and I am glad she did. This book follows a faint trail of her life from her earliest years up to her death in the service to Queen Elizabeth,

Wendy examines in detail the evidence of Catherine’s parentage and views her world through the lens of her relationship with the royal family she served till her death. It presents an important story of a woman who saw and experienced much tragedy and political turmoil during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary I. All of which prepared her to take on the vital role of one of Elizabeth I closest and most trusted women. It prepared her to become the wife of one of Elizabeth’s privy councillors, who was a man also trusted and relied on by the queen. Catherine served Elizabeth during the uncertain and challenging first years of her reign, a time when there was a question mark over whether she would succeed as queen regnant after the failures of England’s first crowned regnant, her sister Mary.

This book was amazing and a joy to read from the very first page.
I loved it.

NetGalley, Nessa Thompson

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I had never heard of Catherine Carey before and Wendy J Dunn does a great job bringing her to life in this book. It was a fascinating read. It was great look into the Tudors and I learned something that I never heard of before.

NetGalley, Kathryn McLeer

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The author of this book has a clear passion for this subject matter. It is evident in the abundance of research that pours off of the pages. It is written using "I" and "you," which gives it a feel as if you are talking to a friend about her interests. This made the book feel fresh and new when compared to other non-fiction works that list details with no emotions behind them...

Catherine Carey came from a fascinating lineage and I wholeheartedly believe she was Henry VIII's biological daughter. This book would be great for anyone wanting to learn more about her life and about those who were involved around her. I also appreciated all of the illustrations used to assist in visualizing the people and places discussed throughout.

NetGalley, Stephanie Peterson

I think Dunn does a great job of combining her knowledge of Catherine Carey with her writing style as a historical fiction novelist. It creates a unique reading experience... If you want a full-length biography of Catherine Carey that is informative with theories that will make you question what you think you know about the Tudors, I would suggest you read “Henry VIII’s True Daughter: Catherine Carey, A Tudor Life” by Wendy J Dunn.

NetGalley, Heidi Malagisi

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Catherine 'Katryn' Carey was Mary's daughter her father rumoured to be the king. Hers' is not a name that goes down in history. The author Wendy Dunn has done a wonderful job with her research. She brought the person to life. We are able to see more of what life was like at court for the second Queens niece.

I finished the book feeling I had learnt something rather than reading a retelling of an old story.

NetGalley, Catherine Harrold

Every time I picked up "Henry VIII's True Daughter", I was whisked back in time, and learned something about Catherine Carey, and the life and times in which she was born into and lived.

Wendy J Dunn's writing is descriptive, detailed, and very well-researched. I felt so immersed in the history being told, and could envision the era before my eyes. Ms. Dunn shows how she believes that Catherine Carey was the daughter of Mary Boleyn and King Henry VIII, and I found her argument fascinating.

So many historical figures are mentioned throughout this non-fiction read, and how Catherine impacted the world around her, as well as was impacted by the time period she lived in is explored. She was a key person throughout many important moments in history, and I was enthralled by her story. I can't wait to do more research on my own time as well!

If you enjoy biographies and / or learning about The Tudor Era and / or Elizabethan Era, I highly recommend this non-fiction read!

NetGalley, Ashley Maimes

A fascinating insight and well researched book on a child of Henry Tudor who is relatively unknown. If the child had been male it could very much a different matter and who knows how that could have changed the future.

This book presents an important story of a woman who saw and experienced much tragedy and political turmoil during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI, and Mary I – all of which prepared her to take on the vital role of one of Elizabeth I closest and most trusted women. It also prepared her to become the wife of one of Elizabeth's privy councillors – a man also trusted and relied on by the queen. Catherine served Elizabeth during the uncertain and challenging first years of her reign, a time when there was a question mark over whether she would succeed as queen regnant after the failures of England's first crowned regnant, her sister Mary.

NetGalley, Angela Thompson

I truly enjoyed the book and going out to be extremely well researched. I wish we knew more of Catherine Carey. The book is filled with mostly well known facts of members of the Tudor Court but presented in a wonderful way. I suggest this book to new historians of the Tudor.

NetGalley, Sheri O'Neill

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This was absolutely fascinating!

With obvious passion, author Wendy J. Dunn makes a strong case for the possibility that Catherine Carey was Henry VIII’s daughter.

Catherine is Anne Boleyn’s niece, the eldest daughter of Mary Boleyn (Henry VIII’s mistress) born during her first marriage to William Carey. This supposition would also hold that Catherine was Elizabeth I’s half-sister, bringing her into the spotlight as a Tudor woman who definitely contributed to the success of her half-sister’s reign. So little is known about Catherine, but Dunn’s conjecture is worthy of belief.

The royal watcher within was hooked by the statement that Queen Elizabeth II “bore the blood not of the first Elizabeth, but of Mary Boleyn, via her daughter, Catherine". I immediately went to do a surface-level search online and came across the fact that both of Princess Diana’s sons, William and Harry, are descended from Mary Boleyn not only through Prince Charles (Elizabeth II), but also through their mother’s Spencer family ancestry!

I was captivated by this fascinating research that drew Catherine Carey from the shadows and allowed her to shine as an important Tudor-era figure and as a daughter of Henry VIII.

I was so intrigued by the author’s research that I’ve searched out her backlist (historical fiction) and will definitely make it a priority to read this winter.

NetGalley, Norma Fourchalk

About Wendy J Dunn

Wendy J. Dunn is an award-winning Australian writer fascinated by Tudor history – so much so she was not surprised to discover a family connection to the Tudors, not long after the publication of her first Anne Boleyn novel, which narrated the Anne Boleyn story through the eyes of Sir Thomas Wyatt, the elder. Her family tree reveals the intriguing fact that one of her ancestral families – possibly over three generations – had purchased land from both the Boleyn and Wyatt families to build up their holdings. It seems very likely Wendy’s ancestors knew the Wyatts and Boleyns personally. Wendy is married, the mother of four adult children and the grandmother of two amazing small boys. She gained her PhD in 2014 and loves walking in the footsteps of the historical people she gives voice to in her books. Wendy also tutors writing at Swinburne University of Technology, Australia. HENRY VIII’S TRUE DAUGHTER: CATHERINE CAREY, A TUDOR LIFE is her first full-length nonfiction work.

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