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Queen's Gambit PDF, ePub eBook The court of Henry VIII is rife with intrigue, rivalries and romance - and none are better placed to understand this than the women at its heart. Katherine Parr, widowed for the second time aged thirty-one, is obliged to return to court but, suspicious of the ageing king and those who surround him, she does so with reluctance. Nevertheless, when she finds herself caught up The court of Henry VIII is rife with intrigue, rivalries and romance - and none are better placed to understand this than the women at its heart. Katherine Parr, widowed for the second time aged thirty-one, is obliged to return to court but, suspicious of the ageing king and those who surround him, she does so with reluctance. Nevertheless, when she finds herself caught up in a passionate affair with the dashing and seductive Thomas Seymour, she believes she might finally be able to marry for love. But her presence at court has attracted the attentions of another . . . Captivated by her honesty and intelligence, Henry Tudor has his own plans for Katherine and no one is in the position to refuse a proposal from the king. So with her charismatic lover dispatched to the continent, Katherine must accept the hand of the ailing egotistical monarch and become Henry's sixth wife - and yet she has still not quite given up on love.

30 review for Queen's Gambit

  1. 5 out of 5

    ``Laurie Henderson

    I was looking so forward to reading this book but alas, it turned out to be a big disappointment, especially after reading so many great reviews about it too. With book in hand I had retired for the evening, snuggling up in bed, anticipating a little time travel back to the Tudor era and the court of King Henry the 8th. Nothing better than playing Renaissance instrumental music in the background to help achieve this goal either so I was prepared to enter the world of Queen Katherine Parr - take m I was looking so forward to reading this book but alas, it turned out to be a big disappointment, especially after reading so many great reviews about it too. With book in hand I had retired for the evening, snuggling up in bed, anticipating a little time travel back to the Tudor era and the court of King Henry the 8th. Nothing better than playing Renaissance instrumental music in the background to help achieve this goal either so I was prepared to enter the world of Queen Katherine Parr - take me away Elizabeth Freemantle. Ah yes, I was immediately delighted by the author's knowledge of all things Tudor and felt myself slipping away, all earthly cares forgotten. Suddenly I'm jerked savagely out of my reverie as my natural high is shattered...What Ho? What is going on with Katherine Parr and why is she talking and behaving as a liberal, humanist about 500 years too soon? Could this talented author be so lacking in imagination that she's unable to create a Queen Katherine true to Tudor times but instead made Katie a Renaissance version of her own self...a politically correct Katherine Parr at that? Who does Elizabeth Freemantle think she is - Ken Follett? I'll never know the answer to that question as I tossed the book into the dust bin. Oh well, there's still those wonderful, older authors of historical fiction to return to once again, and they have yet to let me down. So let me restart the Renaissance music and try again with a different author.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Orsolya

    Each of Henry VIII’s wives had a personal fate to be remembered by. Katherine Parr is remembered as the matronly one who took care of Henry and attempted to further the Reformist cause (a portrayal which isn’t entirely correct) and then married the rogue Thomas Seymour. Elizabeth Femantle tells Katherine’s version of events in “Queen’s Gambit”. “Queen’s Gambit” instantly opens with historical fluff and inaccuracies which sets the tone of a historical recreation novel versus an emphasis on accurac Each of Henry VIII’s wives had a personal fate to be remembered by. Katherine Parr is remembered as the matronly one who took care of Henry and attempted to further the Reformist cause (a portrayal which isn’t entirely correct) and then married the rogue Thomas Seymour. Elizabeth Femantle tells Katherine’s version of events in “Queen’s Gambit”. “Queen’s Gambit” instantly opens with historical fluff and inaccuracies which sets the tone of a historical recreation novel versus an emphasis on accuracy. This is discouraging for those readers who seek more history than fiction in HF novels. On the other hand, Fremantle’s dialogue and text style is accurate with the times versus being modern and also carries a level of eloquence. However, this is off-put by an overemphasized effort towards flowery phrases and literary means, which falls short. The plot of “Queen’s Gambit” is flat early on with a slow pace. The novel follows a heavy “As you know, Bob”- style meaning that pages pass with the characters merely recalling events or discussing other figures with a lack of any activity or actually “living” proceedings. This creates dull text and a slow story. Speaking of characters; none seem properly introduced or developed which results in a thick veil when attempting to get to know them. Katherine feels far away which is disappointing as the novel is expected to reveal her inner thoughts and psyche. Fremantle’s portrayal of Katherine is tight and constrained while surprisingly, she is much more ‘loose’ with other characters such as Dot (Katherine’s maid) and even Henry. In fact, “Queen’s Gambit” is told through both Katherine and Dot’s eyes with Dot’s being more ‘real’ due to a more relaxed storytelling. Elaborating on reality; “Queen’s Gambit” questions believability early on and suffers from development issues such as Katherine falling in love with Thomas Seymour after only one conversation with him (this is stretching it even in a world of courtly love). Fremantle therefore misses ample opportunities of event and character building, making the plot of “Queen’s Gambit” aloof. “Queen’s Gambit” monumentally improves approximately half-way through upon Katherine’s marriage to Henry. Although there is still too much talk of activity versus partaking in it; the drama does increase. It seems that Fremantle gains some confidence as the story progresses. This strength continues as the plot thickens with a religious focus and Katherine’s reformist views. This plot focus is a refreshing take versus the romantic side of the story and encourages turning of the pages. However, Katherine is still not truly unveiled as a character and one doesn’t feel as though he/she truly ‘knows’ her. Also positive is the historical accuracy of the smaller details such as court etiquette and decorum, sumptuary laws, decorations, etc. Although there are some errors such as the emphasis on Katherine having lice when the Tudors had fleas but lice was considered lowly and higher social classes did not generally have them. An incident occurs three-quarters way through which is complete ludicrous and will anger readers striving for historical accuracy (sadly, general readers will believe this angle). Luckily, this is dropped rather quickly and not explored. Similarly, the ending of “Queen’s Gambit” is weaker than expected; still not truly presenting a true sense of Katherine but at least being quite accurate historically. For less versed readers, Fremantle includes a character list and a list of important Tudor dates. Although helpful to the general reader, this would be better suited in the beginning and also supplemented with a thorough author’s note describing the historical liberties taken as this was barely addressed by Fremantle. Extra Notes:Noticeable to readers is a lack of proper chapter breaks with each stretching far too long causing both a lag and an inability of the story to ‘breathe’. Also, the entire book addressing Katherine’s sister as “Sister Anne” is INCREDIBLY annoying. Overall, “Queen’s Gambit” begins slowly with historical fluff but finds its footing and momentum, turning into a decent novel. Although one-dimensional storytelling and a lack of truly getting to know Katherine is maintained; Fremantle does include strong historical effects. One can see potential despite first-novel jitters so I would read Fremantle again to see how she fairs. “Queen’s Gambit” isn’t terrible but not a masterpiece, either. It is worth reading for those interested in Henry’s wives and the lesser focused on: Katherine Parr. I was torn between 2 or 3 and went with 3 so perhaps 2.5

  3. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Meh. OK, I'm calling it quits on this one. I picked this up as a freebie in a BOGO sale from Audible. This book will probably work for a lot of readers, but I ain't one of them. Two major reasons: 1) There's instalove. 2) There's a love triangle. The 3rd reason I'm giving up on this at just shy of the 20% mark is that, thus far, not a damn thing has happened aside from the main character annoying me. She is moody and bites peoples heads off one second, and then the next she's literally falling in Meh. OK, I'm calling it quits on this one. I picked this up as a freebie in a BOGO sale from Audible. This book will probably work for a lot of readers, but I ain't one of them. Two major reasons: 1) There's instalove. 2) There's a love triangle. The 3rd reason I'm giving up on this at just shy of the 20% mark is that, thus far, not a damn thing has happened aside from the main character annoying me. She is moody and bites peoples heads off one second, and then the next she's literally falling into their "blue, blue eyes" and UGH, who cares? I like historical fiction. I picked this up thinking it would be court intrigue and an interesting story about the Tudors from a different perspective than the Boleyns. But... This is just a romance set in the Tudor period, which just happens to feature actual people. I don't know how historically accurate it is, but the fact that the romance (and a really cringe-worthy sex scene) is front and center means that another 11 hours of this book will make me want to put my head through a plate glass window. ALSO, there keep being references to a rapist scumbag called Murgatroyd. In 19% he's been referred to like 6 times, but obliquely, because SECRETS and SHAME. OK, great. If we're not talking about him or what happened, WHY DO WE KEEP TALKING ABOUT IT? Finally, as a child of the 80s, every time I heard his name, I couldn't help but think of Snagglepuss. So... yeah. That kinda took me out of the moment. All in all, not really feeling this book. So. I'll pass.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Giveaway opportunity: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot.... Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot.... Of all Henry VIII's wives, Katherine Parr is my favorite. I don't know what it is about the history, but I've always felt that she, more than any of her predecessors, understood she was little more than a pawn put suddenly into play. That regardless of rank, life in the Tudor court was a game of chess and that you must be ever on your guard. Elizabeth Fremantle see Giveaway opportunity: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot.... Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot.... Of all Henry VIII's wives, Katherine Parr is my favorite. I don't know what it is about the history, but I've always felt that she, more than any of her predecessors, understood she was little more than a pawn put suddenly into play. That regardless of rank, life in the Tudor court was a game of chess and that you must be ever on your guard. Elizabeth Fremantle seems to have been equally intrigued by the last of Henry's brides, carefully recreating her story in her debut novel, Queen's Gambit. Here the cold and calculating ambition of both men and women come to life in an endless galliard of alternating political alliances, suspicion and fear. Brutal and cold, this is the world in which Katherine lived, the role which she was forced into knowing the odds of survival were not in her favor. I liked this one for several reasons, but in particular for its portrayal of Katherine affair with Thomas Seymour. Intelligent and clever she recognizes him for what he is early in the novel, but starved for romantic affection her allows herself to disregard his faults in hopes of obtaining marital bliss. History tells us how their union ends, but I really appreciated the internal conflict Fremantle gifted Katherine in this story. Katherine's is a sad fate and I liked the idea that she wasn't entirely blind to it. Tudor lit is a dime a dozen and let's be honest, the story doesn't change. What marks a title and makes it noteworthy is the adapted research and the ability to maintain the intensity while illustrating Henry's court without falling into the same old rhythm of all the authors who came before you. Fremantle achieves this. Queen's Gambit is a powerful and vivid narrative that brilliantly brings to light the strength and fortitude of the woman forced to endure marriage to an aged and depraved monarch. An absolute must have for any Tudor reader.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Iset

    I found this novel to be a bit of a mixed bag, with parts that I genuinely enjoyed, but other parts I found bewildering or irritating. Overall I have to say I thought it was well-written. Competent use of language, smooth, flowing text… In fact the one tiny annoyance was “Sister Anne”. I immediately grasped that Fremantle did this to make sure Katherine’s sister was distinct from all the other Annes running around – Anne Stanhope, Anne Basset, and the occasionally referenced Anne Boleyn – but it I found this novel to be a bit of a mixed bag, with parts that I genuinely enjoyed, but other parts I found bewildering or irritating. Overall I have to say I thought it was well-written. Competent use of language, smooth, flowing text… In fact the one tiny annoyance was “Sister Anne”. I immediately grasped that Fremantle did this to make sure Katherine’s sister was distinct from all the other Annes running around – Anne Stanhope, Anne Basset, and the occasionally referenced Anne Boleyn – but it wasn’t necessary with the others referred to with their surname constantly, I therefore knew that just plain “Anne” was Katherine’s sister, no need to spell it out. I did however like Fremantle’s attention to detail, painting a full picture without getting bogged down too much, although she gets a few small points wrong. I have to say I did like the character of Katherine herself; pretty important as she’s the main character. Her calm maturity, her intelligence and wisdom – this all fit with my knowledge of the real life Kateryn Parr, and so I felt her very believable. Perhaps the only blip was how quickly and completely she falls in love with Thomas Seymour; I would’ve liked to have seen that drawn out more, developed more plausibly. But then again, we know that Kateryn did indeed find herself in a marriage of questionable wisdom with Thomas Seymour, so perhaps I have no place complaining about a little foolishness when it’s supported by history. I also rather liked the character of Huicke, his own quiet intelligence and common sense. I didn’t like the character of Dot. She did serve a good purpose in the story at times, allowing the reader to witness events that Katherine herself couldn’t be a part of, so from that point of view she was necessary, and contrasting her life with that of Katherine was also pretty interesting; but I just didn’t like Dot’s character. I didn’t like how meek she was, how unambitious, or how she always put herself down, and presumed that she was just “simple” and couldn’t understand the things her social betters talked about. And when William Savage, (view spoiler)[Dot’s lover, admits that he didn’t want to tell Dot that he was already married because he was afraid she wouldn’t want to have anything to do with him… I wanted to take Dot by the shoulders and shake her. William spins it as him being married in an arranged match to someone he barely sees, and Dot forgives him and suddenly everything’s okay again. But it isn’t okay. Whether or not he’s in love with his wife, the man lied about his marital status in order to keep Dot around him and in his bed! That’s unacceptable. Deception, emotional manipulation, abuse of trust, that’s isn’t all magically justified if the other person does it because they “love” you and claim they only wanted to hold on to you. (hide spoiler)] Yeah, needless to say I grew very sick of Dot and her storyline. The other sticking point was really how Fremantle filled in the gaps. Like many a historical fiction author, Fremantle fills in the gaps in history with her own invention, and it’s often a thin line trod between plausibility and the reader buying into your concoction, and absurdity and the reader rejecting it. There are quite a few in The Queen’s Gambit, and I’ll address each in turn. First, (view spoiler)[Fremantle has it that during the Pilgrimage of Grace, Katherine, and her stepdaughter Meg, were both raped by a thug named Murgatroyd. Sorry but this one just goes too far. It’s too big a concoction when we have no evidence whatsoever for anything like this happening. The larger and more outrageous a concoction is, the less likely it will be bought into. (hide spoiler)] Second, (view spoiler)[Katherine hastens the passing of her second husband with a herbal poison, because he is in so much pain and suffering. It seems unlikely, since that would have been contrary to people’s faith at the time and we know Kateryn was a pious woman, but at the same time, I did buy into this one. With her intelligence, common sense, calm maturity and knowledge as a nurse, I could buy into this fiction as a loving act that tears Katherine up but is also the humane and common sense thing to do. I know other readers didn’t buy into that one, but I did just about. (hide spoiler)] Third, (view spoiler)[it turns out that Henry has some depraved tastes in the bedroom, including hitting Katherine about and calling her “bitch”, “whore”, etc. and generally taking out all his anger with his previous wives on her. Didn’t buy into this one. Yes, Henry obviously had a lot of anger towards some of his previous wives, and a disturbingly cold, bordering on sociopathic, way of getting rid of them. However he was also pious (at least in his own mind) and had prudish sensibilities; for example he strongly disliked use of crude words, especially in front of women. Whilst by this age he did have significant problems in the bedroom, it seems deeply unlikely that he’d turn to such out of character behaviour in order to try and remedy his difficulty. (hide spoiler)] Fourth, (view spoiler)[Katherine defiantly plans to do away with Henry the same way. I didn’t buy this. After all the dangers she’s come through, I didn’t buy that she would be that reckless, or that she would let her anger get the better of her common sense. Now, you could argue that this one is averted because Katherine only thinks about doing this but doesn’t go through with it, therefore it’s not like Fremantle has really filled in that gap with something unbelievable…. But, eh, I still didn’t buy into Katherine’s recklessness even considering the deed. (hide spoiler)] Fifth, and finally, (view spoiler)[Fremantle decides that Seymour and Elizabeth did the deed. I’ve never bought into this in any historical novel before, and I’m not starting now. (hide spoiler)] So of five big gap-fillings that Fremantle attempts, I really only bought into one of them. Despite this, I have to say I enjoyed the novel overall. The missteps don’t outweigh the generally good writing for me, and I felt that for the most part I believed in Katherine and got drawn into her world; I just really disliked Dot’s character and didn’t agree with a few big gap-fillings that Fremantle attempts. I would try Fremantle again. 7 out of 10

  6. 5 out of 5

    The Just-About-Cocky Ms M

    This historical wannabe occupied space on my "Started But Had to Abandon" pile for over a year. It occurred to me that I either needed to finish it or kick it to the curb. So I skimmed the last two-thirds and deleted its way overpriced self from my Kindle. Another glaring example of one of the so-called Big 5 publishers churning out dreck because some "editor" thought it would cash in on whatever the current historical craze might be, regardless of its quality, accuracy, or anything else discerni This historical wannabe occupied space on my "Started But Had to Abandon" pile for over a year. It occurred to me that I either needed to finish it or kick it to the curb. So I skimmed the last two-thirds and deleted its way overpriced self from my Kindle. Another glaring example of one of the so-called Big 5 publishers churning out dreck because some "editor" thought it would cash in on whatever the current historical craze might be, regardless of its quality, accuracy, or anything else discerning readers might expect in historical fiction. Several reviewers have detailed what they see as flaws; I agree with those reviews and see no need to augment them. Suffice it to say that this is yet another example of a costume drama where the characters are all third-rate American actors full of anachronisms and US-Speak. Bad history, bad writing, bad "romance." Read Jan Westcott's classic The Queen's Grace and give this dud a wide berth.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Manda Scott

    My partner has a first in English Lit, my degrees are all in veterinary medicine and I am constantly grateful for the fact that nobody tried to teach me to read. By an large, this means that we have very different tastes in books although inevitably we're overlapping more as the years progress. Once in a while, a book comes along that I know she's going to love: some of them are entirely not her kind of thing - she spent an entire evening asking me why I'd pressed Tim Griggs' book Redemption Blu My partner has a first in English Lit, my degrees are all in veterinary medicine and I am constantly grateful for the fact that nobody tried to teach me to read. By an large, this means that we have very different tastes in books although inevitably we're overlapping more as the years progress. Once in a while, a book comes along that I know she's going to love: some of them are entirely not her kind of thing - she spent an entire evening asking me why I'd pressed Tim Griggs' book Redemption Blues on her, and then two days later sat up half the night finishing it. (can I say, 'told you so'?) Elizabeth Fremantle's book 'Queen's Gambit' fell effortlessly into the double-tick bracket: literary enough to please Faith's love of language, while the characterisation and sense of history are so utterly engaging that I fell into it and had to be dragged unwilling back to the day job and was left with characters not of my own making hovering over the day, clamouring for more attention. Like Wolf Hall, with which there are obvious comparisons, this book is set in the reign of Henry VIII, although this one deals with the last of his wives, the gutsy, level-headed Katherine Parr who holds her husband's hand as he dies from (I assume) bowel cancer and then is speed-dated by Henry who wants her as his new wife on the strength, so he says, of her willingness to speak the truth to him. There follows a touching-while-toe-curling portrait of an intelligent, passionate woman in her thirties, forced into matrimony with the aging, ulcerous, overweight, monstrously self-indulgent king. I have yet to read a sympathetic portrait of Henry and while this book does much to make him human - and there is no doubt that the chronic pain from his leg ulcer must have driven him even closer to the edge of madness than he already sailed - but the real punch in this book comes from the knowledge that Katherine Parr is sixth in a line of wives, two of whom have been beheaded, one has died and only those from far more noble families than hers have had the luxury of a divorce. She has her enemies at court, the names made famous in Wolf Hall as Call me and Gardiner. Both hate her and will do anything to bring her down, particularly after she has made such a success of her regency while Henry was away campaigning in France. But more, they hate her because she espouses the new religion and they are trying their hardest to bring Henry back to catholocisim. To lose to them will be fatal and the moments when she seems to fall out of the king's favour - once for daring to quote Erasmus to him in Gardiner's company - are terrifying. The pressure in her household, the grasping after small motes of rumour... this is what happened to 'the concubine' (Anne Boleyn), this is how it happens, the jewels are taken back first.... Her redemption is humiliating, but lightened by the sight of her enemy stepping too far across the line and finding himself banished from court. Even so, it's an old passion that seems her final downfall and the slide towards the block seems inexorable when Henry falls ill. There's a hint that Katherine, with her knowledge of herbs, and her 'easing' of a previous husband's passage, might have seen the old monster off to save her own skin, but the plot steps back from that. If it did happen, I can't think there are many who would blame her. She fails to gain regency, and is glad of it - free from the politics of court, she can marry her love and find happiness. Or so it might seem. Men, though, do not step well from the pages of this book, and her final love, and her final betrayal seem a heart-breaking end to a life lived so close to the edge, with such striving for integrity. So... this isn't Wolf Hall, but it bears many of the hallmarks of that book if with easier language and a plot that does not depend quite so much on everyone's knowledge of history to provide the tension. It stands head and shoulders above the general run of Tudor romance/mystery/histories and will be, I'm sure, a run-away best-seller. This is a magnificent endeavour; anyone would have been proud to have written it at any stage of their writing career: as a first novel, it's truly outstanding.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    This novel is an exceptional debut that introduces the reader to a Katherine Parr who is more than others have written her to be. She is a pious nurse to older husbands, but that is far from all there is to Queen Katherine. Fremantle has created a multi-dimensional character and bravely filled in historical gaps to create a gripping story. I especially enjoyed the development of Katherine's faith as a reformer. It is easy for us, with almost 500 years of separation, to categorize historical figur This novel is an exceptional debut that introduces the reader to a Katherine Parr who is more than others have written her to be. She is a pious nurse to older husbands, but that is far from all there is to Queen Katherine. Fremantle has created a multi-dimensional character and bravely filled in historical gaps to create a gripping story. I especially enjoyed the development of Katherine's faith as a reformer. It is easy for us, with almost 500 years of separation, to categorize historical figures into Catholic and Reformist and not appreciate the nuances and waverings that occur in each person's personal beliefs. In Katherine's story, we see her fire for reform burn brightly, become doused by physical fear, and come under the attack of doubt. This realistic portrayal of faith formed a secret window into Katherine's inner heart without becoming preachy. I was only disappointed that the publication of Lamentations of a Sinner was overshadowed by her rekindled romance with Seymour. Katherine's story is told in parallel with her servant Dot's, allowing readers to view both sides of the Tudor court. Through Dot's eyes, we see the endless toil that is required to provide a glittering backdrop to those who are so far above them. Dot's own lovestory is as captivating but more pure than Katherine's. The most significant negative that I see voiced about this novel is the way that Fremantle chooses to fill in some historical gaps. Two that are very near the beginning of the book and can therefore be shared without being spoilers are that Katherine was raped, resulting the the birth of a dead baby, during the Pilgrimage of Grace, and that Katherine gave her second husband, John Neville, a lethal dose of painkiller to end his suffering. There are other literary liberties taken that may not have been as harshly judged if they were more carefully revealed in Fremantle's author's note. In my opinion, these elements of the story were bold and unique. Since there is no way of knowing if they are true, I think it is enough that the author has made them plausible to her version of events. Tudor dress, food, castles, and landscape are all expertly recreated, making it easy to imagine the details of Katherine's life. Thomas Seymour is written just as I have imagined him: handsome, desirable, and completely manipulative. Katherine's drawn out obsession with him is the only part of this book that I could have done with less of. The beginning and end of this novel are fluffy, romantic bookends to the captivating story of England's Reform Queen.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think I should know better at this point in my reading life. As a novel junkie and an admitted glutton for all things English history related it is a given that I know certain stories pretty well at this point. Hell, the stories of the tragedy and scandal ridden lives of the wives of Henry VIII have now been recounted so many damn times by so many people that if you've got even a passing interest in the Tudors (or Showtime) you probably know at least the gist of ev ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think I should know better at this point in my reading life. As a novel junkie and an admitted glutton for all things English history related it is a given that I know certain stories pretty well at this point. Hell, the stories of the tragedy and scandal ridden lives of the wives of Henry VIII have now been recounted so many damn times by so many people that if you've got even a passing interest in the Tudors (or Showtime) you probably know at least the gist of every single one of those tragic queens' lives. The problem is, and obviously this is an issue with ALL historical fiction, that the stories never change. Unless you're dealing with alternate history or some whackadoo with a crazy conspiracy theory involving Queen Elizabeth's illegitimate offspring there's only so many times you can rehash the same stories. Maybe two stars isn't entirely fair here since its not the fault of the genuinely capable Elizabeth Fremantle that I already knew this whole story. I've certainly read worse. It may have more to do with Katherine Parr's life, particularly as Henry's queen, just not being that interesting. And that's where most of Fremantle's story takes place. In the way overwritten vipers den of the Tudor court. As a reader I'm MUCH more interested in the inner lives of these people. And Katherine Parr seems to have had a rich inner life and fascinating story beyond her limited role as Henry's last wife. Fremantle certainly hints at some of that life, but all we get are tiny little tastes before we are swept back into the end of Henry's reign, political maneuvering and literally everything that's already been rehashed nine gabillion times in other novels, television shows, and movies.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jenny Q

    Giveaway @Let Them Read Books! Ends Sept. 22, 2013. After finishing Elizabeth Fremantle's debut novel, Queen's Gambit, I'm feeling quite sad, as I always do after reading about Katherine Parr. She is my favorite of Henry's queens, and not just because she's the one who got away, but because she was such a grand lady, so smart, so poised, and so tragic. I go into each novel knowing how it's going to end, but I still get swept away, much as Katherine does; I still hope for that happy ending, and th Giveaway @Let Them Read Books! Ends Sept. 22, 2013. After finishing Elizabeth Fremantle's debut novel, Queen's Gambit, I'm feeling quite sad, as I always do after reading about Katherine Parr. She is my favorite of Henry's queens, and not just because she's the one who got away, but because she was such a grand lady, so smart, so poised, and so tragic. I go into each novel knowing how it's going to end, but I still get swept away, much as Katherine does; I still hope for that happy ending, and then I get so angry when the people she cared about most end up ruining the last months of what should have been the happiest time in her life. (Two other solid 4-star reads about Katherine: The Secret Keeper by Sandra Byrd and Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir.) Fremantle begins the novel with the death of Katherine's second husband, Latymer, and captivates the reader with her poetic narrative and fantastic description as she touches on the key points in Katherine's life: her infatuation with the dashing Thomas Seymour, her marriage to an aging and ailing Henry VIII, her relationships with her stepdaughters Meg, Elisabeth, and Mary, her relationships with the reformists and the martyr Anne Askew, and her own close call with Henry's desire to be rid of yet another wife. Katherine manages to accomplish quite a bit in her thirty-five years, not the least of which includes bringing Henry VIII's children together in the only semblance of family they've ever known, serving as regent of England, and publishing two books of her own writings. And Fremantle portrays all of this mostly through the eyes of Katherine herself and through her devoted servant Dot Fownten, and in doing so she has created two rich and compelling heroines for the reader to get attached to as they navigate the perils of the court and of the heart. I was hooked from the first page and could not put the book down as Henry's Catholic cronies cast their net around Katherine. There's not much to complain about in this novel, other than some awkward sex scenes, but I can't justify a higher rating because this novel really doesn't contribute anything new to my understanding of Katherine Parr. I was very intrigued early on by a couple of things that were definitely new to me, but then the author admitted they were fictions in her note. (Nothing wrong with that--I can appreciate dramatic license with the facts when it's acknowledged.) For me, the best aspect of this novel, and the one that I will remember most, is the way Fremantle brought the underworkings of the court to life. Because Dot was an actual servant and Katherine was such a hands-on queen, the enormity of what it took to keep Henry's court running, from the lowliest kitchen boy to the noblest lady-in-waiting, comes into exquisite focus. I was fascinated by the behind-the-scenes glimpses of feasts and festivals, occasions of state, the court on the move, and the day-to-day duties of the army of servants required to make everything seem so effortless and easy in Henry VIII's court. It's little details like that, coupled with giving voice to the people who worked so hard to make it happen but who have been forgotten by history, that really bring a time period to life and remind me why I love historical fiction so much.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lucinda

    This stunning historical masterpiece captures the fervent intensity and passion of the Tudors with such remarkable effortless ease. The dazzlingly dangerous Tudor court is brought to life with such acute detail as only a painter would capture in this vividly evocative, exquisite debut novel. Stripping back and shedding new light on Katherine Parr; Henry VIII sixth and last wife, this enthralling tale of passion, loyalty and betrayal is truly astonishing as to amaze. The combination of rich perio This stunning historical masterpiece captures the fervent intensity and passion of the Tudors with such remarkable effortless ease. The dazzlingly dangerous Tudor court is brought to life with such acute detail as only a painter would capture in this vividly evocative, exquisite debut novel. Stripping back and shedding new light on Katherine Parr; Henry VIII sixth and last wife, this enthralling tale of passion, loyalty and betrayal is truly astonishing as to amaze. The combination of rich period detail and well-written, captivating prose is exceptional, encapsulating perfectly the atmosphere and electric tension of the times. Full of intrigue, ambition and heated rivalry amidst an intense backdrop where romance blossoms this is such an impressive tale of substance and scope. Profoundly affecting, outstanding and truth-drawing I was unable to tear my eyes away from the pages as I lost myself within such sublime storytelling. A riveting account of one woman, who married four men and outlived three of them including Henry VIII, whose intelligence and astuteness aids her in avoiding that terrible fate which befell the King’s former wives. Unexpectedly finding herself in the middle of a forbidden passionate affair with Thomas Seymour, she ultimately focuses on her role as wife to one of the greatest monarch’s who sat upon England’s throne rather than dwelling on unrequited love. Focusing on significant aspects such as religious reform, the catholic ascendancy and the succession of the throne this book captures the terrifying, turbulent time flawlessly. Thrilling, absorbing and fabulous Elizabeth Fremantle’s exceptional novel I envisage as this years bestseller. Fans of the popular BBC television drama ‘The Tudors’ and ‘The other Boleyn girl’ and also authors such as Hilary Mantel, Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir will love this! *I would like to thank ‘Real Readers’ for sending me an ARC of Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle to read and review.* *Also reviewed for GoodReads, as part of a first-read giveaway*

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie

    My rating: 3 of 5 stars A copy of Queen's Gambit was provided to me by Simon & Schuster/Edelweiss for review purposes. 'One day, hundreds of years from now, people will tell stories about the court of King Henry and the romance of it all - the Eighth King Henry and his Six Wives. But will they tell of the terror that came with it, she wonders, or will it be made to seem a golden age?' Queen's Gambit opens with the eminent death of Katherine Parr's second husband, John Neville, Lord Latimer. Whi My rating: 3 of 5 stars A copy of Queen's Gambit was provided to me by Simon & Schuster/Edelweiss for review purposes. 'One day, hundreds of years from now, people will tell stories about the court of King Henry and the romance of it all - the Eighth King Henry and his Six Wives. But will they tell of the terror that came with it, she wonders, or will it be made to seem a golden age?' Queen's Gambit opens with the eminent death of Katherine Parr's second husband, John Neville, Lord Latimer. While still in mourning, she is requested by the King's daughter Mary, a childhood friend, to visit her at court. Shortly after her arrival she meets and falls in love with Thomas Seymour, the man who will leave an indelible mark upon her. The idea of a life with Thomas is snubbed out when King Henry VIII offers her a marriage invitation where no is not an option. The story is ultimately told from the POV of Katherine, however, we are also given glimpses from the POV of her lady's maid and of her doctor Huicke. It portrayed how it was like to live in this time period as royalty and as a low-born. Unfortunately, the change in POV felt very jarring when you're absorbed in the story of the Queen and I think I would have enjoyed it much more if it was solely Katherine's story. Towards the middle-part of the story the pace slowed down and it became infinitely less interesting to me mainly because it became less about the characters and more about the politics and strife going on in England at the time. Considering I know quite a bit about the history in England during the Tudor time period this was a bit redundant for me, albeit still somewhat interesting. I understand that this of course needs to be included some-how but I felt that the characters ultimately got placed on the back burner while the refresher course on 'The History of England' was taking place. Queen's Gambit managed to maintain historical accuracy to a degree without overdoing the embellishing in areas that are less known. It's a well-told story of one of the lesser known queens, yet she's still without a doubt one that has the greatest story to tell: the story of how she managed to survive.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    The Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle is a Harlequin MIRA publication. This book is scheduled for an August 2013 release. I received a copy of the book from the publishers and Edelweiss. This book is a fictional account of the life of Catherine Parr, the last of Henry the 8th's wives. This poor woman lived her life on the edge from start to finish. Her two marriages prior to becoming the Queen were not happy ones. However, Catherine was dignified and serene in all ways. But, shortly after her s The Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle is a Harlequin MIRA publication. This book is scheduled for an August 2013 release. I received a copy of the book from the publishers and Edelweiss. This book is a fictional account of the life of Catherine Parr, the last of Henry the 8th's wives. This poor woman lived her life on the edge from start to finish. Her two marriages prior to becoming the Queen were not happy ones. However, Catherine was dignified and serene in all ways. But, shortly after her second husband died, Catherine began a torrid affair with Thomas Seymour. But, the king also was interested in her, and of course the king always got what he wanted. Catherine tried to forget Thomas, but carried him in her heart all the time she was married to the king. The politics and scheming that takes place here is focused on France and on the reform movement regarding the church and religion. Catherine's beliefs did not match up with the king's. She was soon under attack for those beliefs and although we know through history that Catherine managed to survive the marriage, she had a couple of close calls. This period of time is endlessly fascinating to me. I have read lots of novels set in this period, but there aren't many that give us insight into the life Catherine had while married to Henry. The parallel story of Dot, a servant of the queen is just as insightful. Dot witnesses everything and is the most loyal of all the people in the story. She has a few close calls herself. But, it is most fitting that her voice is the last one we hear in the novel. A very interesting take on the last years of Henry's life . Catherine was an interesting woman. She was a good person and very kind. She was also human. She did some things to set herself free and would do it again if fate had not intervened. One thing is for certain, I am glad I don't live that time period. The treatment of women and the abuses men got away with is disgusting. If you like historical fiction set in the Tudor period- I would recommend this book for you. Over all a B+

  14. 5 out of 5

    Éowyn

    This wasn't a bad début novel by any means and it seems that lots of people really enjoyed it. I didn't dislike it, I actually found it a pleasant read, but it was also fairly undemanding. You might want that from a book sometimes or you may want something a bit more challenging. It may be that there are so many historical novels out there and of these ones about the Tudors top the leaderboard by a mile, so for me, a Tudor historical novel needs to really outstandingly good to make it stand out This wasn't a bad début novel by any means and it seems that lots of people really enjoyed it. I didn't dislike it, I actually found it a pleasant read, but it was also fairly undemanding. You might want that from a book sometimes or you may want something a bit more challenging. It may be that there are so many historical novels out there and of these ones about the Tudors top the leaderboard by a mile, so for me, a Tudor historical novel needs to really outstandingly good to make it stand out from the crowd. I also read a fair bit of 'proper' history (i.e. non-fiction books), so perhaps I know too much for there to be any surprises awaiting me? I do tend to get riled by bizarre deviations from historical fact. Anyway, the novel deals with part of the life of Katherine Parr, last wife of Henry VIII, starting with the death of her second husband and continuing just past her own demise. I suppose an historical novel will give the author more leeway to explain real events and there is a sort of expectation that a book should be a nice tidy package, explaining everything within its covers. I don't really feel that Fremantle does this with the Parr/Seymour relationship. It's not easy to see why an intelligent woman could be taken in by a man like this anyway, but in the book it was as if Katherine actually was attracted to him against her will, so the relationship never sat quite happily for me. The other main protagonist is a woman called Dorothy (Dot) Fownten, who acts very much as a maidservant to Katherine, and her stepdaughter, Meg Neville. I was interested to learn that Dot was a real historical character, but so little is known of her that Fremantle has had the liberty of embroidering her story. As I said, not a bad book. Good if you want something fairly undemanding, such as a beach read. I suspect it will appeal to fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, but those who prefer Penman may find it a little lacking.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Huston

    This was a Tudor period novel that irritated me mightily. This time the queen is Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth wife, and the one who survived him. We first meet Katherine as she arrives in London, with devoted servant Dot and stepdaughter Meg Latymer in tow. She rejoins the royal court as one of Lady Mary's ladies, and gains the attentions of King Henry VIII. There's another suitor waiting, Thomas Seymour, and the story is filled with much to-ing and fro-ing and plenty of anachronisms -- Ke This was a Tudor period novel that irritated me mightily. This time the queen is Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth wife, and the one who survived him. We first meet Katherine as she arrives in London, with devoted servant Dot and stepdaughter Meg Latymer in tow. She rejoins the royal court as one of Lady Mary's ladies, and gains the attentions of King Henry VIII. There's another suitor waiting, Thomas Seymour, and the story is filled with much to-ing and fro-ing and plenty of anachronisms -- Kerfuffle, tapioca and the dreaded potato. Not to mention lack of underwear, again. Yes, they were wearing something close to bloomers underneath all those skirts. Got that? Alright, pet peeve calmed for the moment. This one gets just three stars from me, and a somewhat recommended. Depending on how much you know about the Tudor period will probably determine if you will like this or not. For the longer review, please go here: http://www.epinions.com/review/queen_...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Claire Ridgway

    This treat for historical fiction fans has just come out in the UK and comes out on 11th June in the US. It is the debut novel from Fashion editor Elizabeth Fremantle and Fremantle is definitely one to watch as the book is a wonderful read. The novel follows the story of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth and final wife, from 1543, when she is nursing her dying second husband, to her death in September 1548. It is a novel covering just five years, but it was an action packed five years in Katheri This treat for historical fiction fans has just come out in the UK and comes out on 11th June in the US. It is the debut novel from Fashion editor Elizabeth Fremantle and Fremantle is definitely one to watch as the book is a wonderful read. The novel follows the story of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth and final wife, from 1543, when she is nursing her dying second husband, to her death in September 1548. It is a novel covering just five years, but it was an action packed five years in Katherine's life - she lost a husband, fell in love with another man but had her hopes dashed, married a king who had executed two of his wives, survived a plot against her, lost her third husband and then married for love, only to be betrayed and then die. Phew! You'd think it was far-fetched if it wasn't true! Many people still think of Katherine as the woman who was nothing but a nurse to Henry VIII during his final years, but that's not the Katherine of this book or the Katherine of history. Katherine was an intelligent woman, a committed reformer and published author. She survived a rebellion which saw her taken hostage, she built good relationships with her stepchildren and ward, and Henry chose her to act as regent while he was at war in France. That is the Katherine of the Queen's Gambit, a strong character who survives the intrigues and corruption of the Tudor court and who leaves the world a better place for her having lived. The Katherine of the novel has a way with people, she is loved and respected, and from the start you can't help but empathise with her and the situation she finds herself in, when she has to sacrifice her dreams for the greater good. Of course, there are blanks in Katherine's story. We don't know what happened to her when she was held hostage with her stepchildren during the Pilgrimage of Grace, we don't know her feelings towards Henry VIII, we don't know her relationship with Anne Askew and other reformers, and we don't know the full nature of Thomas Seymour's relationship with the young Elizabeth. It is an historical novelist's job to fill these blanks in using their imagination, but to make their choices make sense. Although the filling in of the blanks regarding Katherine's experiences during the rebellion, Elizabeth and Seymour's relationship, and Latymer's death didn't sit comfortably with me, it did work for the story and who knows what happened? Fremantle's author's note explains some of the liberties she took, but not all of them, so I would have liked some more detail here. The thing I really loved about the novel is that there are parallel storylines. Although Katherine is the main character, you also have the story of Dot, who had served Katherine since her first marriage and who was held hostage with her and Katherine's stepdaughter, Meg, and then, to a lesser extent, the stories of Meg and Huicke, the King's physician. Dot is a wonderful character and I loved seeing the events at court through her eyes and seeing what happened to her as her loyalty to her mistress put her in danger. The Queen's Gambit really is a riveting read and will be enjoyed by all those who love historical fiction.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Bee Ridgway

    This story of a queen -- Henry VIII's last wife -- had me from page one, in which we experience the death of Katherine Parr's second husband from his point of view. It's remarkable to be invited into a book through the eyes of a dying man. After that we move among characters gracefully, each perspective true and engaging, with most weight given to the queen herself and her maid. We see the two women grow into their interconnected realms of power -- for the maid, the queen's household, for the qu This story of a queen -- Henry VIII's last wife -- had me from page one, in which we experience the death of Katherine Parr's second husband from his point of view. It's remarkable to be invited into a book through the eyes of a dying man. After that we move among characters gracefully, each perspective true and engaging, with most weight given to the queen herself and her maid. We see the two women grow into their interconnected realms of power -- for the maid, the queen's household, for the queen, the nation itself. The growing intensity of the maid's desire to learn to read, and her sense of isolation in a world increasingly demarcated by the written word, was one of the more powerful of the book's many resonant chords. Ultimately this is a complicated portrait of many women, including the young Elizabeth, and I love the novel for its constant attention to the role of women and girls in the workings of political power. Beautifully researched, gorgeously written -- historical fiction at its best.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 I keep telling myself that I have read more than enough books about Henry VIIIth and his wives. Than I see this one about Katherine Parr, who is not written about as much as some of the other wives, and I had to read it. The author does a great job with the description of the time and the places, the court intrigue and the phoniness of the same, and I loved that she started the book when Katherine's second husband was dying. It provided a little more background on her instead of just startin 3.5 I keep telling myself that I have read more than enough books about Henry VIIIth and his wives. Than I see this one about Katherine Parr, who is not written about as much as some of the other wives, and I had to read it. The author does a great job with the description of the time and the places, the court intrigue and the phoniness of the same, and I loved that she started the book when Katherine's second husband was dying. It provided a little more background on her instead of just starting the book when she reluctantly wed Henry. The writing is graceful, clear and the way the story alternates between Katherine and a young servant in her employ gives one two different views of many of the events. I now believe that I can read many many books written about Parr and I will still never understand why this smart, intelligent woman, who managed to keep her head and outlive Henry, ever was taken in by Thomas Seymour. One of the many mysteries that will never be solved. LOL ARC provided by Publisher.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lois

    I quite enjoyed this. The storyline surrounded Elizabeth as a girl being molested by Seymour is unsettling.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)

    DNF at 46% All this book is, is smut with historical figures attached to it. The only saving grace is that it's slightly well written. The last line I read was what made me decide to stop reading. The very hardness of it [his penis] made her lose her breath when she thought of where it was supposed to end up. "Unlace me," he breathed. It burst out, as if it had a mind of its own, and swelled beneath her fingers -- too much, she thought. ....Ew? That was my final straw, as I'm not a romance/erotica read DNF at 46% All this book is, is smut with historical figures attached to it. The only saving grace is that it's slightly well written. The last line I read was what made me decide to stop reading. The very hardness of it [his penis] made her lose her breath when she thought of where it was supposed to end up. "Unlace me," he breathed. It burst out, as if it had a mind of its own, and swelled beneath her fingers -- too much, she thought. ....Ew? That was my final straw, as I'm not a romance/erotica reader for the most part. I enjoy my fair share of smut, but I don't typically like reading it. (view spoiler)[Writing it, on the other hand, I like. I like writing it, not reading it. (hide spoiler)] While this is a historical fiction, I was hoping that Freemantle would stick mainly to the facts. And, she did. Katherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of Henry VIII, was married twice and widowed twice by the time she wed Henry VIII. Her first husband was young and died young. Second husband, was old and died from bad health. She nursed him, just as she nursed Henry VIII. As I haven't read much nonfiction on Katherine's life, I can't say for sure if it's historically documented that she was attracted to Thomas Seymour -- Jane Seymour's, Henry VIII's third wife, brother. What is known is that soon after Henry VIII died, she married him in secret. So, they probably had something together. I won't get into the details after their marriage since I hate Thomas Seymour with a vengeance. This book takes a lot of liberties. Freemantle characterizes Katherine, a strong, brilliant woman, as someone who goes weak in the knees for a pretty face. Not entirely wrong considering what Thomas Seymour did after they were married to Elizabeth Tudor, later Elizabeth I, but it was just ridiculous. And, apparently, she has a history of it. Throughout what I read of the book, there was heavy-handed hints to this guy named Murgatroyd. Who the fuck is he? I looked all over the internet to find out about him, and there was nothing. So, I can assume he was Welsh based on his name. And, he held Katherine, her stepdaughter, Meg, and their serving girl, Dot, hostage. He raped Meg -- not really a spoiler since it was hinted at from page fucking one -- and Katherine had a thing for him that wasn't so chaste. She got pregnant by him, and the baby was stillborn. Again, not spoilers since Freemantle is a huge fan of hinting heavily at what happened without actually saying what happened. Which pisses me off to no end if you can't tell by my foul language thus far. Then, Freemantle also characterizes Henry VIII as some asshole -- which he was -- who enjoys hitting his wife and abusing her to get hard. Um... no? I agree Henry VIII, towards the end of his life, was a right asshole who had terrible mood swings. But, he had them when he was a young king, too. Except, it was cute back then. When an old fat bastard with a history of killing anyone who gets in his way starts having a mood swing, it's way scarier than a young guy with no real history doing it. I just hated how Freemantle characterized him. I mean, no? Just, no. Not only that, but there was heavy handed hints at what happened without saying what really happened. I love me some good hints and nudges, but it gets annoying after doing it for so long and never giving anything. Fucking hell, I know what the reveal is going to be. I'm not stupid. Just get it over with and stop playing it up. That's one of the many reasons why I could tell it was a debut. Debut authors have a thing for doing it because they think they're being clever. (Hell, as an early writer I did the same thing. Still do if I'm not careful.) The only saving grace, for me, was Meg, Katherine's stepdaughter, and her friendship with Dot. I mean, they were so cute and sweet. I wanted their story, not Katherine's. I could care less about Katherine. There were so many chances for this book, and I gave it so many chances. However, it failed for me. Katherine was turned from an amazingly smart woman, who was a reformist and converted many people, who wrote her own book, and who survived Henry VIII (just barely) with her neck. I think I'm going to stay away from Freemantle. I love ranting, but I hate the circumstances when I do it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Marie Z. Johansen

    At last ! An novel about one of the least well known, but most fascinating of Henry VIII's Queens; Katherine Parr. Elizabeth Fremantle has finally done justice to this most enigmatic, free thinking, spirited Queen. Reading this book was a thoroughly satisfying, extremely entertaining read, that I was loathe to put down and sorry when it ended! The book goes far beyond the usual fare that tell the story Katherine Parr's life. Generally we know her only as the last wife of the saint/monster King, H At last ! An novel about one of the least well known, but most fascinating of Henry VIII's Queens; Katherine Parr. Elizabeth Fremantle has finally done justice to this most enigmatic, free thinking, spirited Queen. Reading this book was a thoroughly satisfying, extremely entertaining read, that I was loathe to put down and sorry when it ended! The book goes far beyond the usual fare that tell the story Katherine Parr's life. Generally we know her only as the last wife of the saint/monster King, Henry VIII. Sometimes we hear about Katherine's prior marriage to Lord Latymer (Latimer), but seldom do we hear more of the story of this most illustrious Queen. Katherine Parr was an extremely learned woman, in a time when the education of women was not very much encouraged. Katherine was married and widowed not once, as most tales tell, but twice, and both times at a young age. She was the young wife of aged men who needed a nurse maid more than a wife. Katherin Parr's mother had been associated with Henry's first Queen, Katherine of Aragon and, Katherine Parr was a member of Princess Mary's household at time of her husband, Lord Latimer's death. It was during this time that Katherine Parr caught the eye of King Henry VIII who, at that time, was aged himself and suffering from complications of his ulcerative leg wounds. He too needed a nurse, and one that was amiable and light hearted. Henry appreciated Katherine Parrs intelligence, but she came to great peril, to the extent that Henry issued a warrant for her arrest over her reformist views. It was by chance that the warrant was intercepted before it could be served - gaining Katherine the opportunity to restore herself to the King's affections before any harm could come to her. Following Henry's death the book go on to chronicle Katherine's passionate love affair with the elegant and worldly Lord Thomas Seymour, for whom she had long held a torch. After marrying in secret they form a household dedicated to the instruction of young, titled wards. Princess Elizabeth and Lady Jane Grey were two of those who benefitted by being under the care of Katherine Parr and her husband, Thomas Seymour. Katherine becomes pregnant, a blessing that she had never anticipated being possible for her. Thomas with some complicit agreement with Katherine, makes merry with the young and attractive, and somewhat vulnerable Princess Elizabeth. After some time, and repeated protestations from Elizabeth's nurse, Kat Ashley, that Thomas' involvement with Elizabeth was becoming unseemly, the dowager Queen Katherine has Elizabeth moved to another residence, while Jane Grey remains behind. Jane Grey ultimately, becomes Katherine's chief mourner when she dies not long after giving birth to her daughter. Not much remains in the history book of what become Katherine's much longed for daughter, Mary (named for Princess Mary). This book is well researched, very well written and is gem to read. It will hold much appeal for a wide variety of readers; historical fiction fans (especially those who are Tudorphiles or British history buffs), general fiction readers, possibly romance readers and anyone who enjoys a really good book that you are sorry to see end. I really don't think that you will be disappointed in any way with this riveting read! I eagerly await Ms. Fremantle's next offering!

  22. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    Queen’s Gambit gives the reader a very in depth look at Henry VIII’s last queen, Katherine Parr. So much controversy is associated with the other wives that Queen Katherine’s more reticent personality sometimes gets glossed over as being of less significance. Queen’s Gambit shows that Katherine Parr had a quiet power and dignity that not only outlived 3 husbands and a tragic past but could withstand even the changeable moods of this dangerous king as well as navigate a court filled with those wh Queen’s Gambit gives the reader a very in depth look at Henry VIII’s last queen, Katherine Parr. So much controversy is associated with the other wives that Queen Katherine’s more reticent personality sometimes gets glossed over as being of less significance. Queen’s Gambit shows that Katherine Parr had a quiet power and dignity that not only outlived 3 husbands and a tragic past but could withstand even the changeable moods of this dangerous king as well as navigate a court filled with those who would use her for their own ends or set her up to be disposed of. Queen’s Gambit explores the many faceted personality of this often overlooked queen. Katherine Parr was highly educated, moreso than many women of her time, she held her own political opinions but was savvy enough to when it was safe to speak of those opinions, she had a natural affinity for healing herbs, and the way she interacted with those of differing social statuses was fascinating. I also liked that her relationship with Seymour showed that she was also a woman who only wished to love and be loved despite that other’s ambitions would pull her in another direction. Fremantle does an amazing job bringing to life, in vivid detail the atmosphere of Tudor England at the end of Henry’s rule. The reader is able to experience the corrupt Tudor court through the eyes of maid, nobility, and other people of the court. It was very easy for me to lose myself in the story, from the dialog to the steady pacing to the writing, Queen’s Gambit was thoroughly enjoyable. If I can nitpick anything at all to find fault with it would be that sometimes I felt overwhelmed with detail, but overall, I found the amount of detail mostly added life to the story. I would compare Queen’s Gambit favorably with historical novels I’ve read by Jean Plaidy and Alison Weir who are two of my favorite authors in this genre. I would say that this novel is less dramatized and more solidly based in research than some of the more popular Tudor fiction I’ve read recently. I would recommend it to any and all fans of historical fiction and fans of the authors I mentioned above. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in this trilogy

  23. 4 out of 5

    J.S. Dunn

    Was going to not review based on the useful adage of, If You Can't Say Anything Nice. Then encountered yet another glaring anachronism and defenses broke. I surrender, but not to bad research. I surrender to the craving to tell about the anachronisms in this highly touted product. Another Messterpiece from a Big Fat Publisher. This one, a Tudor rehash ( because the reading public should have little choice other than Tudor historicals, don't you know ) contains references to girls' "schoolroom" e Was going to not review based on the useful adage of, If You Can't Say Anything Nice. Then encountered yet another glaring anachronism and defenses broke. I surrender, but not to bad research. I surrender to the craving to tell about the anachronisms in this highly touted product. Another Messterpiece from a Big Fat Publisher. This one, a Tudor rehash ( because the reading public should have little choice other than Tudor historicals, don't you know ) contains references to girls' "schoolroom" experiences. Schoolroom in the Tudor era? For girls? I don't think so. If the author wants to come along here and post an academic-style citation that backs up this assertion, more power to her. Meanwhile I'll stick with two stars despite being tempted to give only ONE star, or better yet have this title banned. Next gross inaccuracy: text mentions "bottling" of fruit. Bottling? What sort of bottle, clay or glass given that glass was rare and even this tale speaks of glass as rare. And does the author really mean to imply a canning process? Because that is simply false for the time frame. Again, the author is welcome to post authentic factual data to back up her choice of words. Next gross inaccuracy: that Henry VIII has a bedstead with "mahogany" gargoyles. Gargoyles, maybe. But they'd be carved in oak. NOT MAHOGANY. ---Were the editing team all asleep for this production? And what about all the gushing reviews ---- Yes, it is an easy to read story. It has that slick, dumbed down rhythm and vocabulary that so much HF from Big Fat Publishers has today. Little to challenge the reader or truly examine what went on with Catherine Parr, the protag. A great example of history used as wallpaper, the problem being that this wallpaper has gross errors in it.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    I have read and enjoyed Philippa Gregory's Tudor series of novels so I was keenly anticipating this debut novel by Elizabeth Fremantle which focuses on Henry VIII's sixth and last wife, Katherine Parr. My knowledge of Katherine was rather limited given that other queens especially Anne Boleyn tend to hog the Tudor stage! This is an impressive debut novel with assured, confident writing. We see the many aspects of Katherine's character – she was so much more than a nursemaid to the ailing king – I have read and enjoyed Philippa Gregory's Tudor series of novels so I was keenly anticipating this debut novel by Elizabeth Fremantle which focuses on Henry VIII's sixth and last wife, Katherine Parr. My knowledge of Katherine was rather limited given that other queens especially Anne Boleyn tend to hog the Tudor stage! This is an impressive debut novel with assured, confident writing. We see the many aspects of Katherine's character – she was so much more than a nursemaid to the ailing king – with her contribution to religious reform, her survival instincts, her desire for love even after two marriages of convenience. Complementing Katherine's story is the tale of her chamberer, Dot Fownten (Fountain), whose life has been colourfully reimagined by the author. Whilst I enjoyed hearing about Dot's life, I did find myself wanting to know more about Katherine and what made her tick. A handy list of the main characters with some extra biographical information is included at the back of the novel along with a basic Tudor timeline – ideal for Tudor novices. Queen's Gambit will appeal to fans of romantic historical fiction with moving accounts of Katherine's love for Thomas Seymour. They say love is blind and this must certainly have been the case for Katherine, an intelligent, perceptive woman, to overlook/remain blissfully ignorant of all of Seymour's machinations. The novel works well as a light read and is an impressive debut, the first of what should be a popular trilogy of novels set in the Tudor era.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Richard Farley

    I recieved this through a giveaway through penguin and im glad I was lucky that I got it! I enjoyed it from start to finish. I am a great lover of historical fiction. Katherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of Henry VIII is probably one of the lesser known or documented wives. In ‘Queen’s Gambit’ Elizabeth Fremantle tells the story of Katherine’s life, from the death of her second husband Lord Latymer, her marriage to her third, Henry, then to her fourth and final spouse, Thomas Seymour. The wa I recieved this through a giveaway through penguin and im glad I was lucky that I got it! I enjoyed it from start to finish. I am a great lover of historical fiction. Katherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of Henry VIII is probably one of the lesser known or documented wives. In ‘Queen’s Gambit’ Elizabeth Fremantle tells the story of Katherine’s life, from the death of her second husband Lord Latymer, her marriage to her third, Henry, then to her fourth and final spouse, Thomas Seymour. The way in which the book is written is a joy and takes the reader through this story not realising that it is nearly 500pages. The characters are well developed and not left with out back bone. The writing style is great and draws you in. Im told Elizabeth Fremantle plans this to be a trilogy and I cant wait for the next book. Well done!!!!!!

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karon Buxton

    New historical fiction writer , Elizabeth Fremantle has written a novel to equal any of Phillipa Gregory's. If you love either Ms Gregory, as I do or the Tudor period this book is a must. She now has two other novels out, one of which iv just started and the other on my rather large TBR pile! Very exciting to have a new talented author who writes beautifully of the period , so many historical fiction books fall into the romance section which we all know that period of history is far from romantic New historical fiction writer , Elizabeth Fremantle has written a novel to equal any of Phillipa Gregory's. If you love either Ms Gregory, as I do or the Tudor period this book is a must. She now has two other novels out, one of which iv just started and the other on my rather large TBR pile! Very exciting to have a new talented author who writes beautifully of the period , so many historical fiction books fall into the romance section which we all know that period of history is far from romantic ! All that plotting and scheming makes your head spin , it's a wonder they had time for anything else ! So an author to read and enjoy , descriptions so vivid you are in that Tudor court ! Enjoy

  27. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Buehl

    I could not put this book down. I'ver read many novels about the wives of Henry the Eighth, and this was the best of all. Fremantle absolutely inhabited the mind and emotions of Katherine Parr, who escaped with her life (although not for long). Although she is a journalist, this was Fremantle' s first novel and it is a winner.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rio (Lynne)

    When the book started with Katherine's dying husband remembering his wife having a miscarriage from a potential rape, I lost interest. I tried...I skimmed...skimmed some more.....nah...scratch.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bookish Ally

    Wow - all the stars. Katherine Parr didn’t have it easy and the idea of having to marry a stinking, overweight, tyrannical HENRY VIII is one that would make any woman of sense cower and shrink with disgust. As if that isn’t bad enough - check out the rumors about Seymour’s activities. Aaaack. Young Elizabeth. Double aaack. There’s a lot to this unfortunate queen - rumors included that Fremantle does an amazing job of bringing to light and fleshing out. One of the lesser talked about queens in th Wow - all the stars. Katherine Parr didn’t have it easy and the idea of having to marry a stinking, overweight, tyrannical HENRY VIII is one that would make any woman of sense cower and shrink with disgust. As if that isn’t bad enough - check out the rumors about Seymour’s activities. Aaaack. Young Elizabeth. Double aaack. There’s a lot to this unfortunate queen - rumors included that Fremantle does an amazing job of bringing to light and fleshing out. One of the lesser talked about queens in the retinue of Henry’s unfortunates - when he must have been at his worse. This book will keep you in its thrall while intriguing you to deeper study Highly recommend to those that are a fan of this period - and even for those just starting out.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Alethea

    DNF I tried, I really did... and I was bored as hell for all the 304 pages I read. I really want to get into historical fiction but every time I give it a go the genre just throws me out of its realm. Anyone has any good historical fiction recommendations for me? BECAUSE I SHALL PREVAIL

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