Queen's Gambit: A Novel
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (June 11, 2013)
- ISBN-10: 147670306X
- ISBN-13: 978-1476703060
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
Reader review . . .
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.
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