Review: Queen’s Gambit

September 9, 2013 Whitney Review 1 Comment

I received this book for free from Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Queen’s GambitQueen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle
Series: The Tudor Trilogy #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on August 6, 2013
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

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.

Excluding the Boleyn sisters I have read very few books on Henry’s many wives particularly his sixth and last wife, Kathrine Parr.

Elizabeth Fremantle’s novel is soaking in detail from the descriptions of the elaborate dresses and jewels to the filth of living conditions creating a vivid portrait of 1500s court.

I have always enjoyed books that are told from different perspectives which Queen’s Gambit conquers seamlessly.  I was interested in Kathrine Parr’s point of view but let’s face it, we all know her most pressing problems were her inability to produce an heir and circumvent being burned at the stake. I preferred reading the novel through the eyes of secondary characters, the Queen’s maid-servant Dot and personal Physician Huicke.  Both were devoted to the queen and had unique, original voices with a story just as interesting to tell.  I would have been devastated if either had been sent to the guillotine.

The pacing of Queen’s Gambit was thrilling, reading at top speed to see what would happen next.  Wait a minute, didn’t I just say that Kathrine Parr’s story was predictable?  Perhaps, but as I stated earlier I know very little of Henry’s spouses.  Thus everything was a bright as a new spring morning.

Queen’s Gambit is an enthralling novel of epic proportions, being a fantastic novel of historical fiction.







ABOUT THE AUTHORElizabeth Fremantle


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, please visit her website. You can also follow her on FacebookTwitterGoodreads and Pinterest.



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