Why would a woman marry a serial killer?
Because she cannot refuse...
Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives - King Henry VIII - commands her to marry him.
Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn's trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as Regent.
But is this enough to keep her safe? A leader of religious reform and the first woman to publish in English, Kateryn stands out as an independent woman with a mind of her own. But she cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry's dangerous gaze turns on her.The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy - the punishment is death by fire and the king's name is on the warrant...
From an author who has described all of Henry's queens comes a deeply intimate portrayal of the last: a woman who longed for passion, power and education at the court of a medieval killer.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Philippa Gregory's Inside Story: “One of my favourites—and one of my lasting favourites. The character of Catherine Parr is not well-known and not truly known either. People think they know about her, but what they know about her is mostly incorrect and incredibly cliched. Just because she was the last wife married to a terminally ill tyrant, people assume that he chose her for her nursing skills, which is laughable. But it's a very, very hard legend to fight.
“It was quite shocking to write and it was quite startling to write in the sense that when I started it, I knew I wanted to write about her. But I didn't know fully until I started researching her in detail how important she was in terms of women's literacy and in terms of feminine history. They say that she led the reform at court and Thomas Cranmer led the reform in the country, and neither of them could've achieved it without the support of the other. She's also the first woman to write in the English language ever. Lamentations of a Sinner is the first time a woman put her name to something that she has herself written. She's the first woman to stand up as a published author.
“It's such a wonderfully political novel in the sense that it's a novel in which a woman thinks that she's engaged in a personal relationship, but discovers that actually, she is merely one in a political dynasty. And not even even the important one. In terms of Henry's use and abuse of women, I think it's a wonderful way of showing that actually far from being the question I'm always asked—which did he love best?—it shows he didn't love anybody very much. He got fantastic crushes on people, but basically, he had no capacity for genuine giving love.
“The other thing that I didn't know until I was researching was that Henry did write a will, one which nominated a wife after Catherine. He was certainly considering a seventh wife. And I worked very closely with the late historian David Baldwin, who had, unfortunately for all of us, only got as far as manuscript for a story about the seventh wife, which would have been Catherine Willoughby. I should just say the reason that I'm so absorbed in her still, though it's such a long ago book, is I've written the film script for a film, and we're currently trying to get into production. We're very excited about it.”
In this absorbing Tudor historical, Gregory (The White Queen) traces the relationship between Henry VIII and Kateryn Parr, his sixth wife, from the time of the king's marriage proposal in 1543 until his death four years later. Kateryn is a beauty: learned, kind, twice-widowed yet young enough to bear the sons crucial to securing the succession; she is also passionately in love with another. Her dutiful tolerance of Henry's bad breath, corpulence, ulcerous leg, and fumblings in bed make pitiable the personal cost of his proposal. Gregory balances Kateryn's sensual responses to royal life the smell of her predecessor's furs, the king's sweat-drenched clothing with the religious controversy that dominated the 1540s. Initially naive to court factions, Parr is guided by her sister and develops enormous satisfaction from scholarly examination of the Bible. Expressing her own Reformist views when pro-Catholic forces are ascendant, Kateryn risks the king's extreme displeasure and is "tamed" to save her life; the process bleaches the marriage of its satisfactions. Tracing Kateryn's path to intellectual independence requires more religious discussion than some readers will prefer, but Gregory's portrait of the complex, aging king and his sensual, scholarly bride will satisfy Tudor enthusiasts.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The taking of the queen
The Taming of the Queen
One of the best I have read from Phillipa Gregory. As ever beautifully descriptive, a fabulous plot and even though I know that Katherine Parr is the only surviving wife of Henry 8th it kept me turning the pages to the very end.