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Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle

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Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4226
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle

Post by Vanessa » Mon January 28th, 2013, 10:17 am

Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle

For fans of Hilary Mantel, Philippa Gregory and Alison Weir, Elizabeth Fremantle's first novel, Queen's Gambit, is a riveting account of Katherine Parr, the Tudor queen who married four men and outlived three of them - including Henry VIII.

Widowed for the second time aged thirty-one, Katherine is obliged to return to court but, suspicious of the aging Henry 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. With her charismatic lover dispatched to the continent, Katherine becomes Henry's sixth wife.

Passionate about religious reform, and ever aware of the fates of his previous queens, she must draw upon all her instincts and intellect to navigate the treachery of the court. With the Catholic faction once more in the ascendency, reformers burned for heresy and those around the dying king vying for position in the new regime, her survival seems unlikely - and yet she has still not quite given up on love...

Rich in atmosphere and period detail, and told through the eyes of Katherine and her young maid Dot, Queen's Gambit is the story of two very different women during a terrifying and turbulent time. If you loved Wolf Hall, The Other Boleyn Girl or the BBC drama series The Tudors, then Elizabeth Fremantle's Queen's Gambit is the book for you.



My Thoughts:

An excellent, entertaining and well researched historical novel centring around the life of Katherine Parr, the sixth and last surviving wife of King Henry VIII, and that of her maid, Dorothy Fownten, better known as 'Dot'!

I was gripped by this book from the very first page. I thought it was vividly and imaginatively told, combining fact with fiction. It's wonderfully written in a beautifully flowing style which is easy to read and difficult to put down. There's a good sense of time and place which brings home the reality of the 15th century - I felt I was there.

Both Katherine's and Dot's stories were interesting and absorbing. Their characters came alive for me and they were equally likeable. Some of the events had me on the edge of my seat - Henry VIII made me cringe!

All in all, an immensely enjoyable, satisfying and engrossing read which I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to historical fiction fans. I eagerly look forward to Elizabeth Fremantle's next book in the series!
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

Helen_Davis

Post by Helen_Davis » Sat February 2nd, 2013, 8:38 pm

Looks good but I am TIRED of the Tudors! How many more can we have crammed down our throat because the big publishers think that's what we want? :mad: All of them have been done to death! If you must do it, at least cover Henry VII's reign! Rant over.

Anyway, KP is one of my favorite queens. I may have to check this out.

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Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4226
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Sun February 3rd, 2013, 12:00 pm

I believe the author is writing a trilogy but I don't know about whom the next book is.

Edit: I've just looked at the author's website and it would seem the next book is Queen Jane's Shadow, about Lady Jane Grey's two sisters, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary.

There's a third book with the working title of 'Stella's Eyes' set in Elizabeth I's time about Penelope Devereaux, daughter of Lettice Knollys.
Last edited by Vanessa on Sun February 3rd, 2013, 12:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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Lisa
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Favourite HF book: Here Be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman
Preferred HF: Any time period/location. Timeslip, usually prefer female POV. Also love Gothic melodrama.
Location: Northeast Scotland

Post by Lisa » Sun February 3rd, 2013, 12:21 pm

[quote=""Vanessa""]
There's a third book with the working title of 'Stella's Eyes' set in Elizabeth I's time about Penelope Devereaux, daughter of Lettice Knollys.[/quote]

:) !!! I very much look forward to reading that one, Penelope has been sorely neglected thus far.

Helen_Davis

Post by Helen_Davis » Sun February 3rd, 2013, 9:29 pm

[quote=""Vanessa""]I believe the author is writing a trilogy but I don't know about whom the next book is.

Edit: I've just looked at the author's website and it would seem the next book is Queen Jane's Shadow, about Lady Jane Grey's two sisters, Lady Catherine and Lady Mary.

There's a third book with the working title of 'Stella's Eyes' set in Elizabeth I's time about Penelope Devereaux, daughter of Lettice Knollys.[/quote]

The Penelope one might be interesting. When does it come out?

User avatar
Vanessa
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4226
Joined: August 2008
Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
Favourite HF book: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell!
Preferred HF: Any
Location: North Yorkshire, UK

Post by Vanessa » Mon February 4th, 2013, 9:26 am

I don't know - I think it's still a work in progress. The second one is due out next year so maybe the following year - 2015!!
currently reading: My Books on Goodreads

Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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Manda Scott
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Queen's Gambit

Post by Manda Scott » Sun April 21st, 2013, 11:32 am

I loved this book - I can never tire of the Tudors when they're well done - if publishers had said, 'not another Tudor book' to Hilary Mantel, the world would be a poorer place, and this, too, is a cracking read. Review below:


My partner has a first in English Lit, my degrees are all in veterinary medicine and I am constantly grateful for the fact that nobody tried to teach me to read. By an large, this means that we have very different tastes in books although inevitably we're overlapping more as the years progress.
Once in a while, a book comes along that I know she's going to love: some of them are entirely not her kind of thing - she spent an entire evening asking me why I'd pressed Tim Griggs' book Redemption Blues on her, and then two days later sat up half the night finishing it. (can I say, 'told you so'?)

Elizabeth Fremantle's book 'Queen's Gambit' fell effortlessly into the double-tick bracket: literary enough to please Faith's love of language, while the characterisation and sense of history are so utterly engaging that I fell into it and had to be dragged unwilling back to the day job and was left with characters not of my own making hovering over the day, clamouring for more attention.

Like Wolf Hall, with which there are obvious comparisons, this book is set in the reign of Henry VIII, although this one deals with the last of his wives, the gutsy, level-headed Katherine Parr who holds her husband's hand as he dies from (I assume) bowel cancer and then is speed-dated by Henry who wants her as his new wife on the strength, so he says, of her willingness to speak the truth to him.

There follows a touching-while-toe-curling portrait of an intelligent, passionate woman in her thirties, forced into matrimony with the aging, ulcerous, overweight, monstrously self-indulgent king. I have yet to read a sympathetic portrait of Henry and while this book does much to make him human - and there is no doubt that the chronic pain from his leg ulcer must have driven him even closer to the edge of madness than he already sailed - but the real punch in this book comes from the knowledge that Katherine Parr is sixth in a line of wives, two of whom have been beheaded, one has died and only those from far more noble families than hers have had the luxury of a divorce. She has her enemies at court, the names made famous in Wolf Hall as Call me and Gardiner. Both hate her and will do anything to bring her down, particularly after she has made such a success of her regency while Henry was away campaigning in France. But more, they hate her because she espouses the new religion and they are trying their hardest to bring Henry back to catholocisim. To lose to them will be fatal and the moments when she seems to fall out of the king's favour - once for daring to quote Erasmus to him in Gardiner's company - are terrifying. The pressure in her household, the grasping after small motes of rumour... this is what happened to 'the concubine' (Anne Boleyn), this is how it happens, the jewels are taken back first.... Her redemption is humiliating, but lightened by the sight of her enemy stepping too far across the line and finding himself banished from court.

Even so, it's an old passion that seems her final downfall and the slide towards the block seems inexorable when Henry falls ill. There's a hint that Katherine, with her knowledge of herbs, and her 'easing' of a previous husband's passage, might have seen the old monster off to save her own skin, but the plot steps back from that. If it did happen, I can't think there are many who would blame her. She fails to gain regency, and is glad of it - free from the politics of court, she can marry her love and find happiness. Or so it might seem. Men, though, do not step well from the pages of this book, and her final love, and her final betrayal seem a heart-breaking end to a life lived so close to the edge, with such striving for integrity.

So... this isn't Wolf Hall, but it bears many of the hallmarks of that book if with easier language and a plot that does not depend quite so much on everyone's knowledge of history to provide the tension. It stands head and shoulders above the general run of Tudor romance/mystery/histories and will be, I'm sure, a run-away best-seller. This is a magnificent endeavour; anyone would have been proud to have written it at any stage of their writing career: as a first novel, it's truly outstanding.
*******************************

Bestselling author of
Boudica: Dreaming. INTO THE FIRE out in June 2015: Forget what you thought you knew, this changes everything.

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rebecca
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Post by rebecca » Mon April 22nd, 2013, 4:11 am

[quote=""Manda Scott""]I loved this book - I can never tire of the Tudors when they're well done - if publishers had said, 'not another Tudor book' to Hilary Mantel, the world would be a poorer place, and this, too, is a cracking read. Review below:


My partner has a first in English Lit, my degrees are all in veterinary medicine and I am constantly grateful for the fact that nobody tried to teach me to read. By an large, this means that we have very different tastes in books although inevitably we're overlapping more as the years progress.
Once in a while, a book comes along that I know she's going to love: some of them are entirely not her kind of thing - she spent an entire evening asking me why I'd pressed Tim Griggs' book Redemption Blues on her, and then two days later sat up half the night finishing it. (can I say, 'told you so'?)

Elizabeth Fremantle's book 'Queen's Gambit' fell effortlessly into the double-tick bracket: literary enough to please Faith's love of language, while the characterisation and sense of history are so utterly engaging that I fell into it and had to be dragged unwilling back to the day job and was left with characters not of my own making hovering over the day, clamouring for more attention.

Like Wolf Hall, with which there are obvious comparisons, this book is set in the reign of Henry VIII, although this one deals with the last of his wives, the gutsy, level-headed Katherine Parr who holds her husband's hand as he dies from (I assume) bowel cancer and then is speed-dated by Henry who wants her as his new wife on the strength, so he says, of her willingness to speak the truth to him.

There follows a touching-while-toe-curling portrait of an intelligent, passionate woman in her thirties, forced into matrimony with the aging, ulcerous, overweight, monstrously self-indulgent king. I have yet to read a sympathetic portrait of Henry and while this book does much to make him human - and there is no doubt that the chronic pain from his leg ulcer must have driven him even closer to the edge of madness than he already sailed - but the real punch in this book comes from the knowledge that Katherine Parr is sixth in a line of wives, two of whom have been beheaded, one has died and only those from far more noble families than hers have had the luxury of a divorce. She has her enemies at court, the names made famous in Wolf Hall as Call me and Gardiner. Both hate her and will do anything to bring her down, particularly after she has made such a success of her regency while Henry was away campaigning in France. But more, they hate her because she espouses the new religion and they are trying their hardest to bring Henry back to catholocisim. To lose to them will be fatal and the moments when she seems to fall out of the king's favour - once for daring to quote Erasmus to him in Gardiner's company - are terrifying. The pressure in her household, the grasping after small motes of rumour... this is what happened to 'the concubine' (Anne Boleyn), this is how it happens, the jewels are taken back first.... Her redemption is humiliating, but lightened by the sight of her enemy stepping too far across the line and finding himself banished from court.

Even so, it's an old passion that seems her final downfall and the slide towards the block seems inexorable when Henry falls ill. There's a hint that Katherine, with her knowledge of herbs, and her 'easing' of a previous husband's passage, might have seen the old monster off to save her own skin, but the plot steps back from that. If it did happen, I can't think there are many who would blame her. She fails to gain regency, and is glad of it - free from the politics of court, she can marry her love and find happiness. Or so it might seem. Men, though, do not step well from the pages of this book, and her final love, and her final betrayal seem a heart-breaking end to a life lived so close to the edge, with such striving for integrity.

So... this isn't Wolf Hall, but it bears many of the hallmarks of that book if with easier language and a plot that does not depend quite so much on everyone's knowledge of history to provide the tension. It stands head and shoulders above the general run of Tudor romance/mystery/histories and will be, I'm sure, a run-away best-seller. This is a magnificent endeavour; anyone would have been proud to have written it at any stage of their writing career: as a first novel, it's truly outstanding.[/quote]

I have never really been interested in this particular Queen but for some reason I decided early on to buy Queens Gambit once it has been released for sale. Thanks for the review and based on that I will definitely buy it. :)

Bec :)

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