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The Last Wife of Henry VIII

(Wives of King Henry VIII)

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  11,393 ratings  ·  463 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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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  11,393 ratings  ·  463 reviews

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Jun 28, 2008 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
Susanna - Censored by GoodReads
Very, very bland.

Somehow Erickson made the Tudors boring, which I didn't think was possible.
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
M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews
I've read a few of this author's biographies, so it was interesting to see her tackle historical fiction. However, I have mixed feelings. In her biographies, especially that of Anne Boleyn, the author did some speculating on the thoughts of Anne or those around her, it seems that that sort of thinking is what led to a book like this. It's near impossible to know what real-life people thought back then, unless they left behind diaries or letters.

As a work of fiction, this book was fairly interest
Jun 10, 2010 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
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson was well written, very descriptive and educational. I was very engaged in the characters and had the feeling that I was present during those most difficult years.
This is the first novel I have read by this author but not my last.
To be honest, it was just OK. 4 of 5 stars here on Goodreads, and that is being very generous.
On the positive side, it was interesting to hear the "voice" of the Tudor wife who survived.
She seems to get much less attention than, say, Anne Boleyn or Catherine of Aragon, and her story is a prime example of how an intelligent woman survives in a society where she has no power over her own life.

The biggest negative for me, however, was the fact that I just don't like the author's writing style.
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much but when I got to the end of the book . I wished their was more to the story like maybe another book where the ending left off at . I will be reading more books by this author in the future . I am happy someone decided to write more about the last wife of king henry the 8th because their is not a lot known about her . I would love to read more books about her because she was able to live and be queen of England while being married to king henry the 8th . She helped so m ...more
Christina Rothfusz
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
Catherine Parr was the 6th and last wive of Henry VIII and the wife I knew least off, hence my interest in reading this book.

The overall story is told well and keeps you involved, however, the many historical errors made it a frustrating read at times.

Not sure I will actively hunt other books by this author.
JG (Introverted Reader)
Dec 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to JG (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
Aug 13, 2009 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
Angela Joyce
Jan 29, 2012 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
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
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
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This year I read a Rose Tremain book, about the Lutenist of the King of Denmark. The brother of an earlier King of Denmark is referred to a couple of times in this book and I really enjoy it when I can join the dots in different books.

Despite enjoying the genre and the period, the only Tudor books I've read have been Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. Both of which are simply stunning. Knowing the Carolly Erickson had a hard act to follow, I didn't give her much hope. However, I
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audible
I have a weird fascination with historical families. I could care less about the modern day royals and what they're up to, but the Tudors.....

As for this book.... Not bad. Not great either. Carolly Erickson is kind of hit/miss for me with her historical fiction. You can never really know what a historical figure was actually like, and I realize that some liberties have to be taken, but in my head there was a different version of Catherine Parr than Erickson portrayed... at least at the end.

I al
My relationship with this book was a complicated one. It started out badly, because I found the beginning of the story to be terribly boring: even though I liked Cat, I could not get involved in her story, and I even thought about abandoning it. Luckily, the book improved for me after she met Thomas Seymour, and after she got more directly involved in Henry VIII's court. Overall, I think the book is nothing special, but it has some aspects I appreciated.

First of all, I really liked that, through
Merry Bones
Dec 16, 2011 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
Jul 31, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It was told from the pov of Catherine Parr-the last wife of king henry viii.
The author took quite abit of license with accepted historical fact-for instance she has her first husband as her age when history shows both of her first 2 husbands as having been older men. However, she was a strong and likable protagonist-I was drawn into the story and really cared about what happened to her. It is also tragic in a way because she manages to outlive Henry and keep her head-t
Jul 08, 2009 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.
Jul 08, 2013 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.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Just couldn't do this one after reading half of Mary Luke's 'The Ivy Crown'. I thought the dialog was pretty unbelievable and the characterizations and motivations were too simplistic.
Anna Tomasso
Sep 05, 2011 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 rated it it was ok
Good for a trip. Easy and forgettable.
'The Last Wife of Henry VIII' by Carolly Erickson is a book that I have been looking to buy for ages, but I never managed to find out until I downloaded the Audible app and got a free trail. This was one of the books that I first bought on Audible!

This book centres around the life of Henry's sixth and final wife; Catherine Parr from her childhood in the court of the young Henry VIII, to becoming his last wife, to her life after the king's death until her unfortunate death. This author manages to
Aug 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
King Henry VIII had 6 wives, and there is speculation that he was only cut short in the number of his marriages by his death. His last wife, Catherine Parr, survived him. This is her story. The novel opens when Catherine Parr is just a girl, and tells of her life as it revolves around the royal court, King Henry, and his many wives. As each is discarded, we find Catherine in a new stage in her life - through her many marriages and ultimate pairing with the King.

The Last Wife of Henry VIII focuse
Ann Latner
Feb 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I've read almost every book I could get my hands on about Henry VIII and his wives -- clearly a fascinating topic, not just to me but to many authors out there. Far fewer books have been written about Katherine Parr than about Catherine of Aragon or Anne Boleyn, but Parr was special because she was the wife who outlasted Henry. The book spans most of Parr's life, from a small child at the Field of Gold where her mother, a lady in waiting to king's first wife, Catherine of Aragon, was attempting ...more
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I've got a soft spot for historical fiction, and this was a nice example of the genre. I also happen to really like English monarchs. I don't know a whole lot about the real Catherine Parr so I can't speak too much about the work's accuracy, but that may be one of the reasons I enjoyed it? The story was exciting, suspenseful at times, and well paced. My only criticisms were that Erickson seemed to get rather repetitive with her word choices by the end, and that I foun ...more
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Feb 05, 2015 10:13AM  

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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.

Other books in the series

Wives of King Henry VIII (4 books)
  • The Spanish Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon
  • The Favored Queen
  • The Unfaithful Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII's Fifth Wife

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