This brilliant historical fiction debut takes you into the heart of the Tudor court and the life and loves of the clever, charismatic Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth and last wife.
Widowed for the second time aged thirty-one, Katherine Parr finds she has fallen 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 another: the ailing, egotistical and dangerously powerful monarch 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 wivestwo executions; two enforced annulments; one death in childbirthKatherine is obliged to wed Henry Tudor and become his sixth queen.
Committed to religious reform, Katherine must draw upon 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. But with the Catholic faction on the rise once more, reformers being burned for heresy, and those close to the king vying for position in the new regime, Katherine's survival seems unlikely. Yet as she treads the razor's edge of court intrigue, she never quite gives up on love.
A must-read for fans of Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, Queen's Gambit brings to life the remarkable story of Katherine Parr as she battles with those intent on destroying her, but also with her own heart.
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You can see the full discussion here. This discussion will contain spoilers!
Some of the recent comments posted about Queen's Gambit:
Do you agree with Dot’s decision to keep Meg’s secret? Why does Dot finally tell Katherine the truth about what Meg endured at Snape?
I agree with Dot's decision to keep Meg's secret because that was during Meg's life, only Meg's painful secret to share. Dot told Katherine to help ease some of Katherine's pain at why her Meg had struggled for so long in this life when Katherine ... - sylviaj
Do you agree with Katherine that "There are events in life from which we learn our most profound lessons and sometimes those events are the ones of which we are most ashamed." What lessons has she learned?
That is the act that came to mind, the possible poisoning of the king. She wanted to but thought better of it and changed her mind. Another act is seeing Thomas Seymour with Elizabeth and the growing relationship there. I think she realized that ... - terri
I felt that Dot's story strengthened the narrative. It was a behind-the-scenes peek at the Tudor court and Dot also served as something of a Greek chorus for the Queen. In many ways she saw people more truly how they were than the Queen did. Plus her... - barbarae
Elizabeth's portrayal seemed historically accurate and helped suggest the great queen she would become - juliae
Good Historical fiction
Yes. This book was very good in taking me back to the era of Henry VIII. Katherine's feeling, thoughts, and actions around her were well conveyed. I enjoyed it very much. - terri
"Fremantle carves out no new literary territory, but like Katherine, she navigates Tudor terrain with aplomb." - Publishers Weekly
"[An] outstanding debut novel...The author manages to do something that few authors of historical fiction can: delve into the hopes, dreams, and desires of one of Henry's wives" - Library Journal
"Infused with the type of meticulous attention to historical detailing that discerning fans of Alison Weir and Philippa Gregory have come to expect in the Tudor canon." - Booklist
"This is a superbly written novel... Fremantle is surely a major new voice in historical fiction and this book is the answer to the question about what Hilary Mantel fans should read while waiting for the final part of her trilogy." - The Bookseller
"All those wives, their fates and Henry's transformation from handsome young monarch to debauched obese tyrant continue to fascinate Now Elizabeth Fremantle has returned to Henry's court with her debut novel Queen's Gambit." - Express
"The Tudor court comes to life in this gripping story of Katherine Parr, the sixth wife of Henry VIII, where passion, secrecy and betrayal power the suspense." - Woman & Home
"Elizabeth Fremantle's rich narrative breathes vibrant life into Henry VIII's most intriguing, intelligent and least known wife, Katherine Parr." - Anne Easter Smith author of A Rose for the Crown and Royal Mistress
"Queen's Gambit is an earthy, vivid portrait of Tudor England seen through the eyes of Henry VIII's last wife Katherine Parr and her loyal maid servant. Elizabeth Fremantle has added a richly written and engrossing novel to the endlessly fascinating story of the Tudors." - Stephanie Cowell author of Claude and Camille: A Novel of Monet
"Queen's Gambit is a lovely, sensual, subtle read, telling the story of Katherine Parr with both rich imagination and scrupulous attention to factual detail. After reading this historical novel, you truly comprehend what it would mean to be the sixth wife of a dangerous man wielding absolute power. Katherine is no selfless nurse here, nor religious fanatic, but a complex and compelling person who both men and women were drawn to. This is a very impressive novel." - Nancy Bilyeau author of The Crown
"Beautifully written and finely observed, this suspenseful tale of Henry the Eighth's last wife expertly conveys all the dangerous intensity and passion of the Tudor court." - Rachel Hore, author of A Place of Secrets
"With a painter's eye for detail, Fremantle brings the dazzling, dangerous Tudor court to life and sheds an intriguing new light on Katherine Parr, one of history's great survivors. An enthralling tale of power and passion, loyalty and betrayal." - Elizabeth Wilhide, author of Ashenden
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Elizabeth Fremantle has contributed to Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair and The Sunday Times among other publications. She lives in London, England.
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