Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle
Series: Tudor Trilogy, #1
Simon & Schuster
Format: Hardcover, 432 pages
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Widowed for the second time at age thirty-one Katherine Parr falls 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 the ailing, egotistical, and dangerously powerful 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 annulments, one death in childbirth—Katherine must wed Henry and become his sixth queen.
Katherine has to employ 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. With the Catholic faction on the rise once more, reformers being burned for heresy, and those close to the king vying for position, Katherine’s survival seems unlikely. Yet as she treads the razor’s edge of court intrigue, she never quite gives up on love.
My thoughts: It seems I just can't read enough about the many wives of King Henry VIII. With each new book I read, I find I learn just a little bit more about court life, the king and the wives themselves. And I love how each new author brings to the table their own perspective...and Elizabeth Fremantle does a great job bringing to light just how different Katherine Parr was from Henry's other wives.
Told from the alternating perspectives of Katherine Parr, her step-daughter Margaret Neville, and her devoted servant Dot, the story starts just prior to Katherine's second husband, Lord Latymer's death. While still in mourning, she meets the dashing Thomas Seymour, but unfortunately becomes King Henry's next conquest - he is looking for wife number 6 and decides Katherine is to be the one. And what the king wants, the king gets!
Of all King Henry's wives, I definitely think Katherine Parr was my favorite. While she certainly didn't want to be in that role, she knew it was nothing more than a game and that she was nothing more than a pawn. Perhaps because of her education or maybe it was because she had seen what happened to all the previous wives, but I really believe she went into the marriage knowing her place. While she was very passionate about her thoughts on reform in religion, she used her power sparingly, publishing two books, and allowing her ladies to read what they wanted. When she realized that she could not sway the king with her ideas, she merely became the yes wife - agreeing with all King Henry had to say or when asked her opinion, looking to him to tell her how to think.
Of course, she outlives King Henry and finally having her freedom to marry for love, finds herself in a marriage that is anything but filled with love. Thomas Seymour was nothing more than a jealous player and unfortunately Katherine fell victim to that.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Elizabeth Fremantle. I am happy to say that this is the first in her Tudor trilogy, so we have two more books to look forward to. The next one, due out in the Spring of 2014, will focus on the Grey sisters and I cannot wait to get my hands on that book!
Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Mantel is on tour with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. Be sure to check out the other tour stops to read more reviews, guest posts and some giveaway opportunities. Be sure to follow all the twitter activity, too at #QueensGambitTour.
GIVEAWAY DETAILS - CLOSED (US only)
Thanks to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Tours I have two copies of Queen's Gambit to give away to my readers.
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