I didn't stand a chance: looking back over thirteen years, that's what I see. In the very first instant, I was won over, and of course I was: I was fifteen and had been nowhere and done nothing, whereas Katherine was twenty-one and yellow-silk-clad and just married to the golden boy...
Jane Seymour is a shy, dutiful fifteen-year-old when her eldest brother, Edward, brings his bride home to Wolf Hall. Katherine Filliol is the perfect match for Edward, as well as being a breath of fresh air for the Seymour family, and Jane is captivated by the older girl. Over the course of a long, hot country summer, the two become close friends and allies, while Edward is busy building alliances at court and advancing his career.
However, only two years later, the family is torn apart by a dreadful allegation made by Edward against his wife. The repercussions for all the Seymours are incalculable, not least for Katherine herself. When Jane is sent away, to serve Katharine of Aragon, she is forced to witness another wife being put aside, with terrible consequences. Changed forever by what happened to Katherine Filliol, Jane comes to understand that in a world where power is held entirely by men, there is a way in which she can still hold true to herself.
Dunn (The Confession of Katherine Howard) breathes life into Tudor-era England, giving readers a view of teenaged Jane Seymour. Fifteen-year-old Jane's life is shaken up when her brother Edward, six years her senior, brings home his bride, Katherine. Katherine becomes a member of the household, assisting the other women in their daily tasks. But when Edward goes off to war, Katherine takes his absence better than expected. Jane is surprised at Katherine's easy relationship with her father and shocked when her father writes poetry to Katherine. While Edward's return from war in France is a joyous occasion for the family, Katherine doesn't seem especially overjoyed at his return. In succeeding years, Katherine gives birth to his two sons, and their marriage seems less troubled. But when Jane unintentionally reveals to Edward the knowledge of her father's poetry to Katherine, Edward makes some startling discoveries that threaten to disrupt the happiness of the entire Seymour household. Dunn brings a fresh voice to historical fiction, embracing the humanity of her characters in modern language. Yet it is her exposure of the innermost secrets of the nobility that will resonate most with historical fiction fans.