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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Book Review: Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle & Giveaway


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:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).

You can also check out this fabulous book trailer for a taste of the story:

Queen's Gambit_Tour Banner FINAL

You can follow along with the rest of the blog tour by visiting the HFVBT website or on Twitter with the following hashtag: #QueensGambitTour.

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. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Copyright © 2013 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I'm very excited to read this! It sounds like a great book!

  2. I love the Tudor era and am very excited to read this book!

  3. I am a huge Tudor fan so this book has been on my wish list for a while now! I haven't read Hilary Mantel's books yet but I do have them waiting on my shelf for when I have some free time to pick them up. I'm glad to hear this isn't hard to plod through and am really excited to read a story from Katharine Parr's perspective. Thanks for the giveaway!

    1. I would recommend that you put this one forward on your list, and maybe push Wolf Hall back a bit - just my opinion. But I'm sure you will love this book!

  4. This is on my list of books to read. I don't know much about Katharine Parr, but I'm looking forward to learning about her. Thanks for hte chance to win!

  5. Thanks for the very interesting take on this book and the comparison to the books of Hilary Mantel. This one looks like a must-read to me. I'd be very pleased if I won a copy here. Thanks for the giveaway.

    1. I felt compelled to compare the two because they drew the comparison themselves on their book jacket. I think it might turn some people away because people either loved or hated Mantel's books - not too many fall in the middle of the road.

  6. This book sounds so good! Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. I agree wholeheartedly about Mantel: I tried her several times to read her books and then tossed them into my personal DNF pile. I was soooo tempted with "Wolf Hall" but I'm now I restrained myself. Therefore, I will take your word for it.

    I was always intrigued at the thought of this brilliant cultured beauty having to be touched by that bloated, arrogant, violent. "Jabba the Huttish" brute!

    Thank you for the giveaway,

    1. The only reason I managed to get through Wolf Hall was because I finally tried it on audio book - which made it easier to listen to.

  8. I've gotten a bit tired of the Tudor era, but I've always been interested in Katherine Parr. This novel is on my wish list. Thanks for chance to win a copy.

    1. I have been a little Tudored out too - mostly because it tends to focus on Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn - but this looks at the end of the Henry VIII era so it is a little different view.

  9. I do like to read stories that are different from what I have read before and I like books that are page turners.

  10. I read a sample chapter on my ipad from Amazon. I can't wait to read more. I hope I win! It sounds so good from the review and there will be more books from Fremantle. Yay!

    email: wmarsha505 at aol dot com


Thanks for leaving your comments! I love reading them and try to reply to all!