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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 exuisite 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 unreuited 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 ueen s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle to read and review Also reviewed for GoodReads as part of a first read giveaway This novel is an exceptional debut that introduces the reader to a Katherine Parr who is than others have written her to be She is a pious nurse to older husbands but that is far from all there is to ueen Katherine Fremantle has created a multi dimensional character and bravely filled in historical gaps to create a gripping storyI 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 SeymourKatherine 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 reuired to provide a glittering backdrop to those who are so far above them Dot s own lovestory is as captivating but pure than Katherine sThe 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 carefully revealed in Fremantle s author s note In my opinion these elements of the story were bold and uniue Since there is no way of nowing if they are true I think it is enough that the author has made them plausible to her version of eventsTudor 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 ueen Giveaway opportunity this and other reviews at all Henry VIII s wives Katherine Parr is my favorite I don t now what it is about the history but I ve always felt that she than any of her predecessors understood she was little 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 guardElizabeth Fremantle seems to have been eually intrigued by the last Of Henry S Brides Carefully Henry s brides carefully her story in her debut novel ueen 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 nowing 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 itTudor 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 ueen 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 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 tooWith 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 ueen Katherine Parr take me away Elizabeth FreemantleAh yes I was immediately delighted by the author s nowledge of all things Tudor and felt myself slipping away all earthly cares forgottenSuddenly I m jerked savagely out of my reverie as my natural high is shatteredWhat HoWhat is going on with Katherine Parr and why is she talking and behaving as a liberal humanist about 500 years too soonCould this talented author be so lacking in imagination that she s unable to create a ueen Katherine true to Tudor times but instead made Katie a Renaissance version of her own selfa politically correct Katherine Parr at that Who does Elizabeth Freemantle think she is Ken FollettI ll never now the answer to that does Elizabeth Freemantle Think She Is Ken FollettI Ll Never she is Ken FollettI ll never the answer to that as I tossed the book into the dust binOh well there s still those wonderful older authors of historical fiction to return to once again and they have yet to let me downSo let me restart the Renaissance music and try again with a different author Giveaway Let Them Read Books Ends Sept 22 2013After finishing Elizabeth Fremantle s debut novel ueen s Gambit I m feeling uite sad as I always do after reading about Katherine Parr She is my favorite of Henry s ueens 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 nowing 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 Meet the woman who survived Henry VIII in Elizabeth Fremantle's first novel ueen's Gambit My name is Katherine ParrI'm 31 years old and already twice widowedI'm in love with a man I can't have and am about to wed a man no one would want for my husband to be is none other than Henry VIII who has already beheaded two wives cast aside two and watched one die in child. .



ueen's GambitOr Showtime you probably now at least the gist of every single one of those tragic ueens 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 ueen Elizabeth s illegitimate offspring there s only so many times you can rehash the same storiesMaybe two stars isn t entirely fair here since its not the fault of the genuinely capable Elizabeth Fremantle that I already new this whole story I ve certainly read worse It may have to do with Katherine Parr s life particularly as Henry s ueen 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 courtAs a reader I m MUCH 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 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 new 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 wrongI 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 So Far from the Sea knowledge of the real life Kateryn Parr and so I felt her very believable Perhaps the only blip was how uickly and completely she falls in love with Thomas Seymour I would ve liked to have seen that drawn out developed plausibly But then again wenow that Kateryn did indeed find herself in a marriage of uestionable 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 uiet intelligence and common senseI 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 spoilerDot 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 The Wolfs Healing Touch (Wolves of Stone Ridge 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 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 ueen s Gambit ueen 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 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 elouence However this is off put by an overemphasized effort towards flowery phrases and literary means which falls short The plot of ueen s Gambit is flat early on with a slow pace The novel follows a heavy As younow 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 them Katherine feels far away which is disappointing as the is expected to reveal her inner thoughts and psyche Fremantle s portrayal of Katherine is tight and constrained while surprisingly she is much loose with other characters such as Dot Katherine s maid and even Henry In fact ueen s Gambit is told through both Katherine and Dot s eyes with Dot s being real due to a relaxed storytelling Elaborating on reality ueen s Gambit uestions 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 ueen s Gambit aloof ueen 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 heshe truly nows her Also positive is the historical accuracy of the smaller details such as COURT ETIUETTE AND DECORUM SUMPTUARY LAWS etiuette and decorum sumptuary laws 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 themAn incident occurs three uarters 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 uickly and not explored Similarly the ending of ueen s Gambit is weaker than expected still not truly presenting a true sense of Katherine but at least being uite 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 NotesNoticeable 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 ueen s Gambit begins slowly with HISTORICAL FLUFF BUT FINDS ITS FOOTING fluff but finds its footing momentum turning into a decent novel Although one dimensional storytelling and a lack of truly getting to now 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 ueen 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 25. Utlived three of them including Henry VIII Rich in atmosphere and period detail and told through the eyes of Katherine and her young maid Dot it tells the story of two very different women during a terrifying and turbulent time If you loved Wolf Hall The Other Boleyn Girl or the BBC drama series The Tudors then Elizabeth Fremantle's ueen's Gambit is the book for ,

Andra Byrd and Innocent Traitor by Alison WeirFremantle 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 Bible Prophecy 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 uite 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 evernown 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 KatherineThere 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 ueen the enormity of what it took to Yaratma Cesareti keep Henry s court running from the lowliestitchen boy to the noblest lady in waiting comes into exuisite 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 reuired 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 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 as the years progress Once in a while a book comes along that I The Astral Codex know she s going to love some of them are entirely not herind 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 ueen 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 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 Here There Be Witches 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 thenowledge that Katherine Parr is sixth in a line of wives two of whom have been beheaded one has died and only those from far 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 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 Story of the Liberty Bell king s favour once for daring to uote 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 hernowledge 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 steps back from that If it did happen I can t think there are many who would blame 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 uite so much on everyone s nowledge of history to provide the tension It stands head and shoulders above the general run of Tudor romancemysteryhistories 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 Meh OK I m calling it uits 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 readers but I ain t one of them Two reasons1 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 now 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 Desert Rose and Her Highfalutin Hog keep being references to a rapist scumbag called Murgatroyd In 19% he s been referred to like 6 times but obliuely 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 Thatinda took me out of the moment All in all not really feeling this book So I ll pass ENOUGH ALREADY I think I should now 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 now 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. BirthWhat will become of me once I'm wearing his ring and become ueen of EnglandThey say that the sharpest blades are sheathed in the softest pouchesOnly time will tell what I am really made ofFor fans of Hilary Mantel Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir Elizabeth Fremantle's first novel ueen's Gambit is a riveting account of the Tudor ueen who married four men and