Friday, September 06, 2013

Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle (CLOSED)

Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle 
Series: Tudor Trilogy, #1
Simon & Schuster 
August 2013 
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.


Thanks to Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Tours I have two copies of Queen's Gambit to give away to my readers. 


To enter… 

  • For 1 entry leave me a comment entering the giveaway.
  • Tweet, share on Facebook, or blog for 2 extra entries.
  • Please include email address so I can contact you if you win.
This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends September 14th.  

Good luck!


  1. I totally agree with you, I love reading about Henry VIII's wives because each book seems to offer a little extra information or a new perspective I haven't thought about before. Thanks for the giveaway, this one sounds great!

  2. Thanks for this fascinating giveaway. Sounds intriguing. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  3. I also love to read about Henry VIII's wife and Katherine Parr is one of that I haven't read about. Excigted about learning about a "new" wife"!


  4. I tweeted:


  5. This book sounds wonderful, Kristin. I will add this giveaway to my giveaway column. Thanks for hosting another terrific giveaway!


  6. A most captivating book that would be memorable. Thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  7. I've heard some very good things about this book including positive comparisons to Hilary Mantel's books. I'd love to get a copy to check out, thanks for the giveaway. carlscott(at)prodigy(dot)net(dot)mx
    I also tweeted a link to this blog post:
    Thanks again.

  8. I love reading about the wives of Henry VIII too :)


  9. Thanks for offering the giveaway! The book has gotten such good reviews and I love reading about people in history that I don't know much about.

    email: wmarsha505 at aol dot com

  10. Good afternoon, Kristin,

    I have been reading quite a heap about this book, and I am following alongside the book tour via HFVBT so that I can read about each reader's different perspective glimpses into the heart of both the story and of Katherine Parr herself! As I was reflecting earlier today, I am a bit blind as to knowing much about the Tudors, but whenever I see a book like this come along, I think to myself, I wonder what I've been missing whilst jaunting off to the Regency OR Victorian age!? :)

    Ooh, the story takes on the different voices of the three main characters!? It isn't often I find that an author will elect to do this, as one instance of this style that I loved was in "The Shell Seekers" by Rosamunde Pilcher!? I like getting into the internal thoughts of different characters, rather than always through a first person point of view! I find it tends to add layers to the overall story!

    How lovely! I didn't hear previously that it was the first of three! I love it when that happens, where you discover a book that is the impetus of what is to come next, and then, you have to wait on bated breath! Ooh, I do hope I settle into this one rather soon!

    Whether I win or naught, I shall fetch this from my local library!

    Bless you for offering a bookaway!

  11. I find Tudor history to be fascinating and I enjoy reading Tudor fiction. I agree that Katherine Parr was a very smart lady (except when it came to Thomas Seymour). I got chills when I read about her close call while she was queen. I think by that time Henry was so paranoid that you'd have to watch every word and action.

    I definitely plan to try this book. Thanks for your review!

  12. Thanks for the giveaway! I love reading about the Tudors!

    lafra86 at gmail dot com


Thank you so much for leaving a comment! I love interacting with other book lovers and appreciate any thoughts or feedback! If you read a book after seeing my review, please let me know. Come back and leave me a link to your review so I can read it. Thank you!!!

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