About QUEEN'S GAMBIT
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
Simon & Schuster
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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.
View the Official Book Trailer: http://videos.simonandschuster.com/video/2472116122001
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.
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 which you can learn more about in my interview with this author on the 23rd of this month!
Rating – 4 stars
About the Author
Elizabeth Fremantle holds a first class degree in English and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck College London. She has contributed as a fashion editor to various publications including Vogue, Elle and The Sunday Times. QUEEN'S GAMBIT is her debut novel and is the first in a Tudor trilogy. The second novel, SISTERS OF TREASON, will be released in 2014. She lives in London.
For more about Elizabeth and her future projects see www.elizabethfremantle.com.
You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
Praise for Queen’s Gambit
"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
“Wildly entertaining…lively, gamey, gripped with tension…one of the best historical novels I’ve read.” - Liz Smith
"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
"Fremantle...navigates Tudor terrain with aplomb." - Publishers Weekly
“Intrigue, romance, and treachery abound in Fremantle’s debut novel . . . . This compulsively readable fictional biography of the ultimate survivor is 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