Thursday, March 21, 2013


Queen's Gambit: A Novel 

Elizabeth Fremantle

Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 11, 2013)

  • ISBN-10: 147670306X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476703060
About the book . . . 

This brilliant historical fiction debut takes you into the heart of the Tudor court and the life and loves of the clever, charismatic Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth and last wife.

Widowed for the second time aged thirty-one, Katherine Parr finds she has fallen deeply for the dashing courtier Thomas Seymour and hopes at last to marry for love. However, obliged to return to court, she attracts the attentions of another: the ailing, egotistical and dangerously powerful monarch Henry VIII, who dispatches his love rival, Seymour, to the continent. No one is in a position to refuse a royal proposal so, haunted by the fates of his previous wives—two executions; two enforced annulments; one death in childbirth—Katherine is obliged to wed Henry Tudor and become his sixth queen.

Committed to religious reform, Katherine must draw upon all her instincts to navigate the treachery of the court, drawing a tight circle of women around her including her stepdaughter Meg, traumatized by events from their past that are shrouded in secrecy, and their loyal servant Dot, who knows and sees more than she understands. But with the Catholic faction on the rise once more, reformers being burned for heresy, and those close to the king vying for position in the new regime, Katherine’s survival seems unlikely. Yet as she treads the razor’s edge of court intrigue, she never quite gives up on love.

A must-read for fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, Queen’s Gambit brings to life the remarkable story of Katherine Parr as she battles with those intent on destroying her, but also with her own heart.

Queen's Gambit Book Trailer 


Elizabeth Fremantle, Queen's Gambit - Katherine Parr at Hampton Court 


About the author . . .          

Elizabeth Fremantle holds a first in English and an MA in creative Writing from Birkbeck. As a Fashion Editor she has contributed to various publications including Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair and The Erotic Review and has had her fiction published in The Mechanic’s Institute Review. She presently works as a reader for Literary Scouts, Anne Louise Fisher Associates, whilst working on a series of novels based around the Tudor court, the first of which is QUEEN’S GAMBIT. 



Reader review . . . 

Five wives have come and gone, and now the young widow Katharine Parr has been tapped to become the sixth wife of Henry VIII.  Not only does she have to worry about the king becoming angry or disinterested, but she has a couple of secrets from him.  Before his proposal, she became entangled in a romantic relationship with Thomas Seymour, brother of Jane, the third wife of the king.  She must keep her love for Thomas from the king's eyes, or face certain execution.  Meanwhile, England is in the middle of a political and religious battlefield, the Reformation.  If Katharine's involvement with the Protestant "gospeler" Anne Askew is discovered, she could join her in the Tower of London.  Just when Katharine thinks that the danger is gone from her life and happiness is possible, she suffers the ultimate betrayal.

Historical fiction writers have a responsibility not felt by writers of other fiction genres.  The reader often knows at least the basic facts of the story and will notice if the story veers too far from the truth.  Ms. Fremantle has handled this very well, with the characters having a feeling of realism not often felt several centuries after the fact.  The dialogue sounds accurate for the time and characters, while remaining relevant to the modern reader.  

Katharine Parr has been one of the lesser known wives of Henry VIII, probably because her fate was not as dramatic as the others.  Her story is no less interesting, and I enjoyed this fictionalization of her life.  The story never lags, and even though I knew how her story ended, I could not put the book down.  When I wasn't reading, I was thinking about it.  

Perfect for the Tudor enthusiast, or anyone who enjoys accurate historical fiction.

5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Edelweiss book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”        



Teddy Rose said...

Another wonderful review. I had read so many Tudor books that I got sick of them but this does sound intriguing.

Rebecca Graf said...

Oh, I want! Thank you so much. I agree with Teddy. There has been so much attention on the Tudors, but this seems different.

Michelle Cornwell-Jordan said...

I've always been a fan of this era, Queen's Gambit looks very interesting, will look forward to checking out!...I wish you well on your tour!:)


Thank you for your comments. This was a nice break from the usual historical fiction, and I do recommend it.


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