“Smart, sensual, and suspenseful as a thriller, Queen’s Gambit is a must-read for Philippa Gregory fans—and heralds a brilliant new player in the court of royal fiction.” —People
Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived: This is the story of the one who survived.
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. Instead, she attracts the amorous attentions of the ailing, egotistical, and dangerously powerful Henry VIII. No one is in a position to refuse a royal proposal. Haunted by the fates of his previous wives—two executions, two annulments, one death in childbirth—Katherine must wed Henry and rely on her wits and the help of her loyal servant Dot to survive the treacherous pitfalls of life as Henry’s queen. Yet as she treads the razor’s edge of court intrigue, she never quite gives up on love.
Tudor women continue to rule historical fiction, as Fremantle demonstrates in her debut novel tracing Katherine Parr's passage from grieving widow to Henry VIII's sixth and last wife, the one who survives. Taking us into Katherine's mind and heart, Fremantle portrays a complex gentlewoman: decent, though willing to hasten her previous husband's demise; modest, though ready to throw herself into the arms of the man she adores; and intelligent, though blind to the machinations of the man in question, aristocratic playboy Thomas Seymour. At 31, daft with desire for Thomas, Katherine has no choice but accept the now aging, ungainly King's unwelcome marriage proposal. A reluctant queen in a court full of intrigue and potential enemies, she still manages to write a book, reconcile Henry to his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and champion Protestant reforms, all while maintaining a tenuous hold on the King's favor and a noticeably unabated attraction to Seymour. Fremantle details the dangers of 16th-century sexual politics while humanizing powerful women, including Katherine herself; clever, willful Elizabeth; and lonely, suspicious Mary. Even with invented characters such as a gay royal physician/confidant, and a loyal commoner maid Fremantle carves out no new literary territory, but like Katherine, she navigates Tudor terrain with aplomb.
Ver good read!
This was a very interesting book. The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory's first got me interested in historical fiction. However, I have been disappointed with Gregory's subsequent novels and have been looking for other authors of this genre. The Queen's Gambit was just the ticket. Very well written - I had a hard time putting it down!