Publication date: November 11, 2014
Knox Robinson Publishing
It’s midwinter in 1539, and former nun, Catherine Havens Overton, has just given birth to her second child, a daughter. The convent in which she was raised is now part of her husband's lands, lands that once belonged to Catherine's family. With a son, Robert, and her new daughter, Veronica, her life as the mistress of a great household should be complete.
But Henry VIII’s England has not been kind to many of the evicted members of religious houses. And in order to protect her old companions from the hostilities, Catherine has gathered about her a group of former nuns in hopes of providing them a chance to serve in the village of Havenston, her City of Ladies.
Catherine’s past haunts her. Her husband begins to suspect that Robert is not his child. Then the women of Overton House begin to disappear and one of them is found brutally murdered nearby. Seizing the moment, under the pretense of ensuring her safety, William forces Catherine to enter service at Hatfield House where the young Elizabeth Tudor lives.
Reluctantly, Catherine obeys, only to find herself serving not only the Protestant Elizabeth but also the shamed Catholic Mary Tudor. As the murders in Yorkshire continue to mount and her loyalty to the Tudor sisters grows more complicated, Catherine must uncover the secret of the killer and save her City of Ladies.
Praise for City of Ladies:
Sarah Kennedy reanimates lost perspectives of Tudor England in her second story of Catherine, a former nun displaced by Henry’s dissolution of the religious houses. With a scholar’s imaginative sympathy, Kennedy restores humanity to Mary Tudor and the vulnerable women sheltered by Catherine. With a poet’s sensual worldmaking, Kennedy conjures up the textures, temperatures, aromas, and emotions of daily life in a country undergoing dizzying upheavals of beliefs and convictions. In “City of Ladies” Kennedy takes her place with Daphne du Maurier, Anya Seton, Rosemary Sutcliff, and Hilary Mantel as writer of superb historical fiction. ~Suzanne Keen, author of “Empathy and the Novel”