Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle
Hardcover, 432 pages
Simon & Schuster
August 6, 2013
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: Received in “Swag Bag” from HNS 2013 – also partaking in HFVBT book tour
“The court of Henry VIII is rife with intrigue, rivalries and romance - and none are better placed to understand this than the women at its heart.
Katherine Parr, widowed for the second time aged thirty-one, is obliged to return to court but, suspicious of the ageing king and those who surround him, she does so with reluctance. Nevertheless, when she finds herself caught up in a passionate affair with the dashing and seductive Thomas Seymour, she believes she might finally be able to marry for love. But her presence at court has attracted the attentions of another . . .
Captivated by her honesty and intelligence, Henry Tudor has his own plans for Katherine and no one is in the position to refuse a proposal from the king. So with her charismatic lover dispatched to the continent, Katherine must accept the hand of the ailing egotistical monarch and become Henry's sixth wife - and yet she has still not quite given up on love.”
I was interested in this book when I first heard about it because I haven’t really read anything focused explicitly on Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth queen, and I had been hearing great buzz about the book. However, I was slightly gun shy when I read the following words from the book jacket “this book is the answer to the question about what Hilary Mantel fans should read while waiting for the final part of her trilogy”. If you have been a follower of mine for a while you will know that I don’t have a lot of love for Mantel’s books, so you can imagine why I might be a little nervous picking this one up. I have to say that this book blows Mantel’s out of the water for me.
Fremantle’s writing style is similar to Mantel’s, however it is not as difficult to plod through the prose. Fremantle’s text continuously flows and at no time did I have the issues with the tense that I found uncomfortable to read that I did with Mantel’s works. There is something happening around every corner, the characters are easy to like (or dislike depending on who they happen to be), and you get inside the heads of the characters. I flew through the pages of this book and loved getting to know the characters that played a part in the later reign of Henry VIII.
I would certainly recommend this book to any Tudor fans who are in the market for a little bit of a different royal novel. And if you are not a fan of Mantel, don’t let the comparisons scare you away – totally worth it.
Queen’s Gambit is Fremantle’s first novel, however there are 2 subsequent books in the works, Sisters of Treason is expected in 2014. You can visit Fremantle’s website or blog for additional information about the book. If you would like to preview the story before reading it, why not try out this excerpt of the book?
Reviews of this book by other bloggers:
You can also check out this fabulous book trailer for a taste of the story:
I also have the privilege of offering 2 copies of Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle to entrants from the USA. All you have to do to enter is submit your entries through Rafflecopter below. The last day to enter is September 22nd.
Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court