[Review] Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle
Author: Elizabeth Fremantle
Publisher: Simon and Schuster August 6, 2013
Theme: Historical fiction story of Katherine Parr the 6th wife of Henry VIII.
Rating: 4 Stars
Source: Free copy from Simon and Schuster and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for the purpose of review.
Video at Simon and Schuster: http://videos.simonandschuster.com/video/2472116122001
Link to tour: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/queensgambittour/
Queen's Gambit begins as Katherine's second marriage is ending. Her husband John is ill, and at his death she became a wealthy widow. Katherine, her step-daughter Meg, and their maid Dot, make an appearance at Tudor court. Katherine reconnects with her brother Will. She meets dashing Thomas Seymour. Katherine is smitten with Thomas. Katherine is a woman of wit, intelligence and wisdom; however when she is with Thomas her inhibitions take flight. Katherine's new life as a widow has given her a freedom she'd not had. In typical Henry VIII manner, he is swift and decisive to control the life of his female conquest.
There have been several historical fiction stories on these principle characters: Henry VIII, Katherine Parr, Lady Jane Grey, Mary I, Elizabeth I, and Edward VI. I believe it is important in a review to bring to light those points that make this book stand out among a crowd of so many others.
- The author delved into the distinct personalities of the characters. I saw what the characters wanted court to see and what they were really like when no one was watching.
- The characters are portrayed dimensional. I saw their insecurities, fears, arrogance, pride and temper. I also saw their kindness, loyalty, patience, conviction and love.
- Physical descriptions are given in the story, for example: Henry VIII robust and larger than life persona. He filled the room with his presence, and not necessarily his regent bearing, but his physical size as well. His weeping macabre leg wound. The wretched smell of it, and the amount of energy and time spent caring for him by Katherine is brought out in the story.
- Henry VIII is a complex man and a complex king. As a man he controlled his people like a wrecking ball. Yet, he could not control his family. His children were rich in an inheritance of royal wealth; poor in family security and love.
- Katherine is a historical woman that I admire. After reading Queen's Gambit I admire her more. Her status as wife of the king gave her opportunity to exploit and abuse; instead she chose to be a peacemaker and to love his children, to have empathy and patience and kindness for the king, and to treat her court staff with loyalty and love.
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.
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