Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle


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 Review:

The Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle was an all around, excellent book. I loved the author’s writing style, and also how she portrayed Henry VIII's sixth queen, Katherine Parr. I also enjoyed reading about the lives of the two people closest to Katherine, Dot and Meg. I’ve read a few novels about Katherine Parr’s life, and prior to this book I viewed her as the ‘boring' one of Henry VIII's six wives. Elizabeth Fremantle was able to really bring her to life in this novel. I also love how she brought Dot’s story into the novel to show how the normal people who inhabited the world of kings and queens lived. Dot’s character was easy to get attached to, because she was very likable, and it was sweet to see her love affair progress.

The author’s writing style was fantastic. She was so descriptive, and used a lot of figurative language as well as imagery in her descriptions of people and places. As an English teacher, I can appreciate good use of figurative language!  I applaud the author for staying as close to historical fact as possible, yet still keeping the novel extremely interesting. I love when an author of historical fiction relies more on fact than fiction, but is still able to really bring the characters to life for the reader. I really enjoyed how the novel was ended, it gives the reader something to think about, kind of a 'what if' scenario.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. It’s a wonderful read for lovers of historical fiction, especially those who enjoy reading about the Tudor era.  I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about the past.

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