Falling for Henry
Falling for Henry tells the story of Kate, a 16-year-old girl who stumbles upon a hole in time and switches places with the young Spanish princess Katharine of Aragon. She must perfectly impersonate the young queen-to-be in order to avoid changing the course of history and ruining Katharine’s future – and that includes pretending to be in love with the young prince who will become Henry VIII. At the same time, Kate makes the heroic decision to collaborate with one of Henry’s servants and attempt to save a remnant of England’s wolf population from relentless extermination, all the while hiding her attempts from the wrath of her betrothed. Will she be able to keep up the deception as long as she is stranded in the past – and more importantly, will she be able to do so while remaining true to herself?
This book attracted me because of its interesting premise – a young Henry VIII is not a subject many authors like to touch upon, and I am happy to say that I very much enjoyed the way Brenna sketched Prince Henry as a complicated character, with charm and intelligence but also faults of temper and bullheadedness. I admired the fact that she didn’t decide to just pin him as a villain and be done with it, something I see all too often in stories of Henry VIII. Brenna makes an attempt to incorporate pseudo-scientific explanations into Kate’s time travel theories, but I did not find these entirely plausible. I also found myself frustrated at the lack of depth of character development and setting, which would lead me to recommend this book for ages 11-14 rather than for more mature YA readers.