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Queen's Gambit

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Queen's Gambit Cover

ISBN13: 9781476703060
ISBN10: 147670306x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"Tudor women continue to rule historical fiction, as Fremantle demonstrates in her debut novel tracing Katherine Parr's passage from grieving widow to Henry VIII's sixth and last wife, the one who survives. Taking us into Katherine's mind and heart, Fremantle portrays a complex gentlewoman: decent, though willing to hasten her previous husband's demise; modest, though ready to throw herself into the arms of the man she adores; and intelligent, though blind to the machinations of the man in question, aristocratic playboy Thomas Seymour. At 31, daft with desire for Thomas, Katherine has no choice but accept the now aging, ungainly King's unwelcome marriage proposal. A reluctant queen in a court full of intrigue and potential enemies, she still manages to write a book, reconcile Henry to his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and champion Protestant reforms, all while maintaining a tenuous hold on the King's favor and a noticeably unabated attraction to Seymour. Fremantle details the dangers of 16th-century sexual politics while humanizing powerful women, including Katherine herself; clever, willful Elizabeth; and lonely, suspicious Mary. Even with invented characters — such as a gay royal physician/confidant, and a loyal commoner maid — Fremantle carves out no new literary territory, but like Katherine, she navigates Tudor terrain with aplomb." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Elizabeth Fremantle has contributed to Vogue, Elle, Vanity Fair and The Sunday Times among other publications. She lives in London, England.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

janmah51, October 24, 2013 (view all comments by janmah51)
At age 31, Katherine Parr finds herself twice a widow. She returns to court and falls in love with Thomas Seymour. But when she catches the eye of the king, Henry sends Seymour away.
Henry is old and ailing but must has Katherine as his queen. She will be his sixth and last queen.
This book has all the intrigue, passion and betrayal you'd expect. It is well written and vividly describes the time and the pomplex people and the ways of the royal court.
I love all things Tudor. The TV shows, movies and books. I was excited to get this book and to read it. I knew little of Katherine Parr so this was a new turn on a well loved story. I enjoyed it.
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nrlymrtl, October 17, 2013 (view all comments by nrlymrtl)
This is a rich and thoroughly engaging book, alternating between Kit’s and Dot’s point of view, giving the readers both the royal and kitchen scene. The main characters walk onto the page fully formed, with back stories and goals of their own. I was easily drawn into the story. I will say that briefly, I wondered if this was Book 2 in a series because the main characters are dealing with the after effects of events that happened a few months previous to the opening of this book. Indeed, I even went so far as to check on various book sites, and finally checking the author’s site �" and this is indeed Book 1. Still, I had that little niggling feeling that I was missing some part of the story.

That aside, I loved listening to the two points of view. Dot, as the maid, has greater run of the castles and grounds, but she also has to do all the packing and unpacking as the court rotates through the various royal residences. Kit has all the fancy clothes and jewels (which are quite weighty), but nearly all her motions, her life in fact, is dictated by King and court needs.

Spanning several years, the book encompasses various historical characters and tackle the numerous religious questions of the Reformation without being preachy. I had a true sense of the predicament Kit found herself in, having her personal views the opposite of Lady Mary, and periodically, opposite to hose of the mercurial King Henry.

As much as I enjoyed this novel, with it’s insights into Katherine Parr’s life, I must bring up my one criticism. Only the main female characters have any depth; all the male characters are one dimensional. Not only that, but all the male characters commit some wrong towards the lead ladies in some form. A few regret their trespasses and they are portrayed in a gentler light. Since the story lacked a single male with altruistic motives and characteristics throughout the novel, the story was a slightly unbalanced. True, the 1500s were not a time where gender equality was even thought of, so perhaps this was done on purpose to provide the backdrop if blatant and socially acceptable gender inequality.

Even with that criticism, I would not pass up another book by Elizabeth Fremantle. The writing and pacing were well done, keeping me engaged. It was obvious a sizable amount of research went into the book, and the details were definitely appreciated by this reader.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781476703060
Author:
Fremantle, Elizabeth
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:
20130806
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
9 x 6.12 in

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Queen's Gambit Used Hardcover
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$17.95 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9781476703060 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Tudor women continue to rule historical fiction, as Fremantle demonstrates in her debut novel tracing Katherine Parr's passage from grieving widow to Henry VIII's sixth and last wife, the one who survives. Taking us into Katherine's mind and heart, Fremantle portrays a complex gentlewoman: decent, though willing to hasten her previous husband's demise; modest, though ready to throw herself into the arms of the man she adores; and intelligent, though blind to the machinations of the man in question, aristocratic playboy Thomas Seymour. At 31, daft with desire for Thomas, Katherine has no choice but accept the now aging, ungainly King's unwelcome marriage proposal. A reluctant queen in a court full of intrigue and potential enemies, she still manages to write a book, reconcile Henry to his daughters Mary and Elizabeth, and champion Protestant reforms, all while maintaining a tenuous hold on the King's favor and a noticeably unabated attraction to Seymour. Fremantle details the dangers of 16th-century sexual politics while humanizing powerful women, including Katherine herself; clever, willful Elizabeth; and lonely, suspicious Mary. Even with invented characters — such as a gay royal physician/confidant, and a loyal commoner maid — Fremantle carves out no new literary territory, but like Katherine, she navigates Tudor terrain with aplomb." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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