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The Last Wife of Henry VIII

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  10,532 Ratings  ·  427 Reviews
Courageous, attractive, romantic, intelligent, Catherine Parr became the sixth wife of Henry VIII. Her story, as Carolly Erickson re-creates it, is page-turning drama: from the splendors of the Field of the Cloth of Gold to the gory last years of the outsize King Henry, when heads rolled and England trembled, Catherine bestrode her destiny and survived to marry her true lo ...more
Hardcover, 326 pages
Published October 3rd 2006 by St. Martin's Press (first published October 3rd 1980)
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Jul 10, 2008 Gracee rated it liked it
Recommends it for: not many
This book is ROYALLY irritating. Carolly Erickson is a "distinguised historian turned popular novelist" - I would have hoped the simple task of getting the right order and personage of Catherine Parr's multiple marriages could have been achieved. The lack of getting even these basic facts straight really bothered me in the beginning of the book. However, trying to keep in mind that it is simply a work of fiction helped me read through it for the most part. The truth could have been stranger, and ...more
This is one of my favorite Carolly Erickson books. Although like all of her works, she took many historical liberties to enrich the story; it worked. The novel is rich with imagery, emotional context, and personifications.

Yes, some of the timelines and facts are a bit off and the readers whom read history book on the Tudor times will notice these instantly but hey, so did "The Tudors" on TV and you still watched that! In fact, this books reads sort of like an over-dramatic episode of The Tudors
Oct 23, 2010 Emma rated it did not like it
This book was absolute rubbish. I found myself tutting out loud whenever I came across a historical inaccuracy (which was depressingly often) and I actually threw the book across the room when I read that Catherine was sleeping with Thomas Seymour whilst married to the King. WTF. ?!?!?!?!?! WHY would she do that? Didn't she JUST warn Katherine Howard a couple of chapters ago that she was an utter idiot for sleeping with someone when married to Henry?!?!

I skimmed the last 3 or 4 chapters of this
Aug 20, 2009 Empress5150 rated it it was ok
It seems lately that respected historians, previously noted for their excellent non-fictional accounts of various important figures, have taken to writing historical fiction about these same subjects.

I've read many books by Erickson about The Tudors. She also wrote an excellent accounting of the life of Marie Antoinette; "To The Scaffold".

Now, she's turned to historical fiction and, although the work was relatively engaging and I made my way through it quickly, it simply was not as enjoyable to
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Jul 03, 2009 JG (The Introverted Reader) rated it liked it
Recommended to JG (The Introverted Reader) by: Pat
Catherine Parr's mother is a lady-in-waiting to Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife. Her life intersects with Henry's in various ways like this through the years. She loves, marries, mourns, and just generally lives her life until Henry beheads wife number five, Catherine Howard. It isn't long before Henry's avaricious gaze falls on her as wife number six.

I think I was expecting something a little meatier. There is so much drama in that whole period, juicy material shouldn't be hard to
Full review at This was the 13th Literary Wives read (find us on FB). . I believe I am the only hosting blogger who truly enjoyed this one. I felt as if I truly learned what it might be like to live as a woman/wife in 16th Century Tudor England, and that's what I always want in a historical fiction novel! I really respected and liked Catherine Parr, though I was disappointed that she had an adulterous affair. Though if you check our reviews some of the o ...more
The Book Maven
Holy crap, thus far I am completely unimpressed with this book. My first and actually, only beef with it is that it is historically inaccurate. It portrays Catharine as a teenage girl who marries a young man after she begs the king to intercede and prevent her family from marrying her to the young man's grandfather. Um, that is TOTAL POPPYCOCK. In real life, Parr's first husband was, in fact, a very elderly man, the grandfather that she does not marry in the book. Why would the author deviate so ...more
Merry Bones
Apr 24, 2012 Merry Bones rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, I really did. I generally love anything to do with the Tudors, and I enjoyed the author's book, The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette, so I had some reasonable hopes for this one. Much as I tried, though, I couldn't get into it. I would read, and read, and read, come up for air and find I had only managed to read a few pages when it felt as if I had been reading forever. There were times when it showed promise and I felt a little more engaged. I think my problem with i ...more
Angela Joyce
Jan 30, 2012 Angela Joyce rated it did not like it
I do not wish to be venomous, so I will say that this book is... fanciful. It is fanciful like a romance novel (oops, for me to say that is venomous).

Next time I take a work of "historical fiction" from a shelf, I will first check for a bibliography. If it has none, it goes back on the shelf.

Mary Boleyn had a half-wit son by Henry VIII? It was Thomas Seymour who committed the crime that Thomas Culpepper was accused of? People were drinking tea in England that year? Lady Rochford flashed the cr
Jul 08, 2009 Bookwoman7 rated it it was amazing
I guess I did things a little backward and got into the work of Phillipa Gregory after I discovered Carolly Erickson. "The Last Wife of Henry VIII: a novel" follows Katherine Parr, who is pursued by the king following his dispatch of Catherine Howard. As a member of the court, Katherine has witnessed first-hand the demise of his past wives and determines to avoid marriage to the King. Finally, forced into acceding to his wishes, she is able to garner a writ from Henry, which does not allow her t ...more
Rita Berk
Told in the first person, Catherine Parr recounts her life. She married for love, miscarried his child when he was accidentally killed, married an older man who died, was ready to marry for love again when King Henry asked her to be wife number six and she could not refuse. When Henry died, she did marry her love but he was not of good character. Court intrigue, jealousy, and schemes abound. Fun historical novel.
Sep 19, 2013 Ashley rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
It is really tough to go wrong with historical fiction, and this author delivers. I had never read about this time and place before, and I found myself googling to distinguish fact from fiction on this one. This is a good, light book to read on vacation or when work is just too much. It will take you to another world.
Two stars is the result of a cheesy storyline coupled with an irritating narration. It's only redeeming point was it's brevity. Not recommended.
Anna Tomasso
Sep 22, 2011 Anna Tomasso rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Henry VIII is one of my favourite historical figures, love to read stories about his life
Mar 15, 2014 Laila rated it it was ok
Good for a trip. Easy and forgettable.
Dec 10, 2016 Jennifer rated it liked it
I was originally confused by the mixture of historical facts and fiction. I did recover and enjoyed the story. Gwennidor is a sympathetic, strong, well-developed protagonist. The story was carried along by threats to her well-being, the suspense of which kept this person reading. The ending was not satisfying. Despite enjoying the story, I'm not sure I'd read another by her because of my on going dissatisfaction with the mixture of fact and fiction.
Barbara Monk
Dec 20, 2016 Barbara Monk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story is the first time I ever looked up the ending on Wikipedia! I was listening on audio, and it is hard to just look. Also, I wanted to check that the story was accurate. This novel got 5 stars from Wikipedia for accuracy. It was a very personal telling of a volatile period of history, and what life then was like for a person born into the nobility and involved in the English court. Being a princess for real did not seem attractive at all.
Dec 06, 2016 Carol rated it it was ok
I found this very irritating. It is a novel with historical facts of which some are in the wrong order. Also Catherine made a cup of tea for her Sister in Law Anne. Tea was introduced in the 17th century not the 16th. Pepys mentions it around 1660. I could not give more than 2 stars.
Dec 09, 2016 Bridget rated it liked it
The book was an interesting read, I don't know very much about the history of King Henry VIII and his wives, so I can't comment on the accuracy of the book. I did find the book to be irritating at times, which I can't really explain.
Jan 22, 2017 Beckie rated it it was ok
The story of Henry VIII's last wife always makes me feel sad for her, and this book even more so if the trials she experienced as detailed in this telling were true.
Blair Norman
Nov 27, 2016 Blair Norman rated it really liked it
I didn’t know anything about Catherine Parr, the last wife of Henry the VIII. Slow in parts but a good read.
I picked up Erickon’s The Last Wife of Henry VIII because Barnes and Noble had yet to receive that newest issue of Fangoria Magazine and I did not want to go home. I found myself at a shelf of historical fiction about the wives of kings, a simple endcap with about six books on it. I chose Erickson’s after reading the backs of a few-- I went for Erickson because she had a background in history, which I felt the book would benefit from.

The Last Wife of Henry VIII is about Catherine Parr, the wife
Oct 16, 2009 Sheree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of Tudor fiction
This was a quick, entertaining read following the dramatic life of Catherine Parr from childhood to her death. Told from Catherine's point of view it spans the history of all King Henry's wives giving the reader a brief overview of much of Henry's life as king & the ill-fated outcomes of each of his marriages. Cat is familiar with the workings of King Henry's court from a young age, her mother being Catherine of Aragon's lady-in-waiting. She finds favour with the King over her lifetime not o ...more
Oct 20, 2011 Rae rated it liked it
Carolly Erickson's book is one that I wouldn't put on my list of all-time favorite historical fiction novels. I think part of the problem is how misleading the title seems to me. Yes, I recognize that Katharine Parr, the main character of her novel, was the last wife of Henry VIII. However, I expected this to focus mainly on that portion of Parr's life.

I thought it would be interesting to get to see the wives of Henry VIII through the eyes of his last queen given that she was, well, the last on
Aug 04, 2011 Amanda rated it liked it
After having read many of Carolly Erickson's other historical fiction novels (and having tossed aside her novel on Josephine before finishing it just last week), I decided to try her foray into the popular Tudor fiction genre. Rather than exploring the dramatic events surrounding Anne Bolyen's ascension to Queen and Henry VIII's breaking with Rome, Erickson decided to tackle the last and least discussed of Henry's wives, Catherine Parr.

We first meet young Catherine Parr at the age of seven, when
Jul 21, 2013 Rachel rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
I really enjoyed Carolly Erickson's historical fiction, The Last Wife of Henry VIII. I came into the novel with low expectations. I was worried that she would romanticize and loosely stick to the fact, but while she played up some of the mysteries surrounding Catherine and that time period (e.g. if Catherine was really slated to marry her first husband's grandfather) and Erickson definitely played up some of the romances and drama, I felt she did a good job of sticking to the history. I assume t ...more
Aug 04, 2011 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After having read many of Carolly Erickson's other historical fiction novels (and having tossed aside her novel on Josephine before finishing it just last week), I decided to try her foray into the popular Tudor fiction genre. Rather than exploring the dramatic events surrounding Anne Bolyen's ascension to Queen and Henry VIII's breaking with Rome, Erickson decided to tackle the last and least discussed of Henry's wives, Catherine Parr.

We first meet young Catherine Parr at the age of seven, when
Elizabeth Hajek
Sep 15, 2016 Elizabeth Hajek rated it liked it
I thought the first half was engagingly written, but as the book went on, it became less and less historically accurate until the end was a complete mess. I'm not sure why Erickson felt the need to change the facts - the story of Catherine Parr is fascinating even without dramatization. I know history buffs always say this, and there are definitely times when adaptations are necessary--I accepted the changes in the first half of the book as plausible and interesting. But the ending got so ridicu ...more
Rebecca Hill
Apr 24, 2013 Rebecca Hill rated it really liked it
I read this one in one day, but it was an enjoyable read. Catherine Parr was the least likely person to become confidant of the King, and eventually his sixth wife. It was not a role that she relished and if she had been honest with him, she would have rather married another, but she held her tongue and did as the King commanded. One has to wonder though if she ever really got what she wanted out of life, before it was to late to enjoy it. Her last marriage to Thomas Seymour was one of love. She ...more
I had never before read a novel focusing soley on Catherine Parr through all of her marriages (or a novel focusing soley on Ms Parr for that matter), and it was only $.60 (thank you Amazon), so I figured it was best to snatch it up to add to my steadily growing collection of Tudor era books.

It was a good read. Not amazing, but good.

The writing is great, and finally I got to read some fiction about Catherine's first two husbands. However, I'm very used to reading extensive detail about the Tudor
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 05, 2015 10:13AM  
  • Plain Jane
  • My Lady of Cleves: A Novel of Henry VIII and Anne of Cleves
  • The Secret Bride (In The Court of Henry VIII, #1)
  • The Last Boleyn
  • Mademoiselle Boleyn
  • Katharine of Aragon: The Wives of Henry VIII (Tudor Saga, #2-4)
  • The Virgin's Daughters: In the Court of Elizabeth I
  • The Last Queen
  • I, Elizabeth
  • Vengeance Is Mine: A Novel Of Anne Boleyn, Katherine Howard, And Lady Rochford  The Woman Who Helped Destroy Them Both
  • The Concubine
  • The King's Daughter. A Novel of the First Tudor Queen (Rose of York)
  • The Virgin Queen's Daughter
  • The Pleasure Palace (Secrets of the Tudor Court, #1)
Distinguished historian Carolly Erickson is the author of The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette, The First Elizabeth, Great Catherine, Alexandra and many other prize-winning works of fiction and nonfiction. She lives in Hawaii.
More about Carolly Erickson...

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