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Queen's Gambit

(The Tudor Trilogy #1)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  4,053 ratings  ·  670 reviews
Widowed for the second time at age thirty-one Katherine Parr falls deeply for the dashing courtier Thomas Seymour and hopes at last to marry for love. However, obliged to return to court, she attracts the attentions of the ailing, egotistical, and dangerously powerful Henry VIII, who dispatches his love rival, Seymour, to the Continent. No one is in a position to refuse a ...more
Hardcover, 424 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Simon Schuster (first published 2012)
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Average rating 3.78  · 
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 ·  4,053 ratings  ·  670 reviews

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``Laurie Henderson
I was looking so forward to reading this book but alas, it turned out to be a big disappointment, especially after reading so many great reviews about it too.

With book in hand I had retired for the evening, snuggling up in bed, anticipating a little time travel back to the Tudor era and the court of King Henry the 8th. Nothing better than playing Renaissance instrumental music in the background to help achieve this goal either so I was prepared to enter the world of Queen Katherine Parr - take m
Diana | Book of Secrets
Thank you to Simon & Schuster Audio for a free review copy of this book! Opinions are my own.

QUEEN’S GAMBIT is an engrossing novel about Katherine Parr’s life as the sixth and final wife of Henry VIII. I enjoyed Elizabeth Fremantle’s portrayal of Katherine as a survivor, an intelligent Renaissance woman, and a woman who longed to find true love at last. Katherine was the only wife of Henry VIII’s to make it out of marriage to him without being divorced, beheaded, or dying, which took true smarts
Each of Henry VIII’s wives had a personal fate to be remembered by. Katherine Parr is remembered as the matronly one who took care of Henry and attempted to further the Reformist cause (a portrayal which isn’t entirely correct) and then married the rogue Thomas Seymour. Elizabeth Femantle tells Katherine’s version of events in “Queen’s Gambit”.

“Queen’s Gambit” instantly opens with historical fluff and inaccuracies which sets the tone of a historical recreation novel versus an emphasis on accurac
Nov 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Giveaway opportunity: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

Of all Henry VIII's wives, Katherine Parr is my favorite. I don't know what it is about the history, but I've always felt that she, more than any of her predecessors, understood she was little more than a pawn put suddenly into play. That regardless of rank, life in the Tudor court was a game of chess and that you must be ever on your guard.

Elizabeth Fremantle see
Meh. OK, I'm calling it quits on this one. I picked this up as a freebie in a BOGO sale from Audible. This book will probably work for a lot of readers, but I ain't one of them.

Two major reasons:
1) There's instalove.
2) There's a love triangle.

The 3rd reason I'm giving up on this at just shy of the 20% mark is that, thus far, not a damn thing has happened aside from the main character annoying me. She is moody and bites peoples heads off one second, and then the next she's literally falling in

I found this novel to be a bit of a mixed bag, with parts that I genuinely enjoyed, but other parts I found bewildering or irritating. Overall I have to say I thought it was well-written. Competent use of language, smooth, flowing text… In fact the one tiny annoyance was “Sister Anne”. I immediately grasped that Fremantle did this to make sure Katherine’s sister was distinct from all the other Annes running around – Anne Stanhope, Anne Basset, and the occasionally referenced Anne Boleyn – but it
Manda Scott
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 Blu
Jan 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
This novel is an exceptional debut that introduces the reader to a Katherine Parr who is more than others have written her to be. She is a pious nurse to older husbands, but that is far from all there is to Queen Katherine. Fremantle has created a multi-dimensional character and bravely filled in historical gaps to create a gripping story.

I especially enjoyed the development of Katherine's faith as a reformer. It is easy for us, with almost 500 years of separation, to categorize historical figur
ENOUGH ALREADY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think I should know better at this point in my reading life. As a novel junkie and an admitted glutton for all things English history related it is a given that I know certain stories pretty well at this point. Hell, the stories of the tragedy and scandal ridden lives of the wives of Henry VIII have now been recounted so many damn times by so many people that if you've got even a passing interest in the Tudors (or Showtime) you probably know at least the gist of ev ...more
Jenny Q
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: blog-tour
Giveaway @Let Them Read Books! Ends Sept. 22, 2013.

After finishing Elizabeth Fremantle's debut novel, Queen's Gambit, I'm feeling quite sad, as I always do after reading about Katherine Parr. She is my favorite of Henry's queens, and not just because she's the one who got away, but because she was such a grand lady, so smart, so poised, and so tragic. I go into each novel knowing how it's going to end, but I still get swept away, much as Katherine does; I still hope for that happy ending, and th
Apr 30, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle is a Harlequin MIRA publication.
This book is scheduled for an August 2013 release. I received a copy of the book from the publishers and Edelweiss.

This book is a fictional account of the life of Catherine Parr, the last of Henry the 8th's wives.
This poor woman lived her life on the edge from start to finish. Her two marriages prior to becoming the Queen were not happy ones. However, Catherine was dignified and serene in all ways. But, shortly after her s
Jan 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This stunning historical masterpiece captures the fervent intensity and passion of the Tudors with such remarkable effortless ease.

The dazzlingly dangerous Tudor court is brought to life with such acute detail as only a painter would capture in this vividly evocative, exquisite debut novel. Stripping back and shedding new light on Katherine Parr;
Henry VIII sixth and last wife, this enthralling tale of passion, loyalty and betrayal is truly astonishing as to amaze. The combination of rich perio
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A copy of Queen's Gambit was provided to me by Simon & Schuster/Edelweiss for review purposes.

'One day, hundreds of years from now, people will tell stories about the court of King Henry and the romance of it all - the Eighth King Henry and his Six Wives. But will they tell of the terror that came with it, she wonders, or will it be made to seem a golden age?'

Queen's Gambit opens with the eminent death of Katherine Parr's second husband, John Neville, Lord Latimer. While s
This wasn't a bad début novel by any means and it seems that lots of people really enjoyed it. I didn't dislike it, I actually found it a pleasant read, but it was also fairly undemanding. You might want that from a book sometimes or you may want something a bit more challenging. It may be that there are so many historical novels out there and of these ones about the Tudors top the leaderboard by a mile, so for me, a Tudor historical novel needs to really outstandingly good to make it stand out ...more
Rebecca Huston
This was a Tudor period novel that irritated me mightily. This time the queen is Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth wife, and the one who survived him. We first meet Katherine as she arrives in London, with devoted servant Dot and stepdaughter Meg Latymer in tow. She rejoins the royal court as one of Lady Mary's ladies, and gains the attentions of King Henry VIII. There's another suitor waiting, Thomas Seymour, and the story is filled with much to-ing and fro-ing and plenty of anachronisms -- Ke ...more
Claire Ridgway
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This treat for historical fiction fans has just come out in the UK and comes out on 11th June in the US. It is the debut novel from Fashion editor Elizabeth Fremantle and Fremantle is definitely one to watch as the book is a wonderful read.

The novel follows the story of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII's sixth and final wife, from 1543, when she is nursing her dying second husband, to her death in September 1548. It is a novel covering just five years, but it was an action packed five years in Katheri
Bee Ridgway
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story of a queen -- Henry VIII's last wife -- had me from page one, in which we experience the death of Katherine Parr's second husband from his point of view. It's remarkable to be invited into a book through the eyes of a dying man. After that we move among characters gracefully, each perspective true and engaging, with most weight given to the queen herself and her maid. We see the two women grow into their interconnected realms of power -- for the maid, the queen's household, for the qu ...more
Diane S ☔
3.5 I keep telling myself that I have read more than enough books about Henry VIIIth and his wives. Than I see this one about Katherine Parr, who is not written about as much as some of the other wives, and I had to read it. The author does a great job with the description of the time and the places, the court intrigue and the phoniness of the same, and I loved that she started the book when Katherine's second husband was dying. It provided a little more background on her instead of just startin ...more
I quite enjoyed this.
The storyline surrounded Elizabeth as a girl being molested by Seymour is unsettling.
May 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Elizabeth Freemantle is my favourite female author - no question.
As E C Freemantle she astounded me with The Poison Bed, but this is simply stunning.
Queen's Gambit is a fictional account of Catherine Parr, the sixth wife of King Henry VIII, and keeping to timelines offers much more than just a story.
I fell in love within the first fifty pages and never stopped loving it.
Now for the second in the series: Sisters of Treason 😁
Caidyn (he/him/his)
Dec 15, 2015 rated it did not like it
DNF at 46%

All this book is, is smut with historical figures attached to it. The only saving grace is that it's slightly well written.

The last line I read was what made me decide to stop reading.

The very hardness of it [his penis] made her lose her breath when she thought of where it was supposed to end up.

"Unlace me," he breathed.

It burst out, as if it had a mind of its own, and swelled beneath her fingers -- too much, she thought.


That was my final straw, as I'm not a romance/erotica read
I won a copy of this book through Goodreads but all thoughts on the book are my own opinion based on reading it.

Katherine Parr comes to Court as a widow and is surprised to fall for the charms of the notorious player Thomas Seymour, who seems to return her feelings. Finally, Katherine has the chance to be with a man for love not duty-until King Henry VIII decides that he wants to have Katherine as his sixth wife, and saying no is not an option. Katherine is heartbroken but faces her destiny with
Marie Z Johansen
At last ! An novel about one of the least well known, but most fascinating of Henry VIII's Queens; Katherine Parr.

Elizabeth Fremantle has finally done justice to this most enigmatic, free thinking, spirited Queen. Reading this book was a thoroughly satisfying, extremely entertaining read, that I was loathe to put down and sorry when it ended!

The book goes far beyond the usual fare that tell the story Katherine Parr's life. Generally we know her only as the last wife of the saint/monster King, H
Queen’s Gambit gives the reader a very in depth look at Henry VIII’s last queen, Katherine Parr. So much controversy is associated with the other wives that Queen Katherine’s more reticent personality sometimes gets glossed over as being of less significance. Queen’s Gambit shows that Katherine Parr had a quiet power and dignity that not only outlived 3 husbands and a tragic past but could withstand even the changeable moods of this dangerous king as well as navigate a court filled with those wh ...more
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read and enjoyed Philippa Gregory's Tudor series of novels so I was keenly anticipating this debut novel by Elizabeth Fremantle which focuses on Henry VIII's sixth and last wife, Katherine Parr. My knowledge of Katherine was rather limited given that other queens especially Anne Boleyn tend to hog the Tudor stage!

This is an impressive debut novel with assured, confident writing. We see the many aspects of Katherine's character – she was so much more than a nursemaid to the ailing king –
Richard Farley
I recieved this through a giveaway through penguin and im glad I was lucky that I got it! I enjoyed it from start to finish. I am a great lover of historical fiction. Katherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of Henry VIII is probably one of the lesser known or documented wives. In ‘Queen’s Gambit’ Elizabeth Fremantle tells the story of Katherine’s life, from the death of her second husband Lord Latymer, her marriage to her third, Henry, then to her fourth and final spouse, Thomas Seymour. The wa ...more
Mar 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my most enjoyable read of 2013. I understand it is Elizabeth Freemantle' s debut novel. For me, it struck the perfect balance between a well researched history of the era and a compelling character study of the King and his last wife, Katherine Parr, the only one to survive him. The supporting characters came across very well too. The scandal involving the Queen’s hasty remarriage to Thomas Seymour and his influence over the future Queen Elizabeth I was fascinating to read. A veritable ...more
Karon Buxton
Nov 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
New historical fiction writer , Elizabeth Fremantle has written a novel to equal any of Phillipa Gregory's.
If you love either Ms Gregory, as I do or the Tudor period this book is a must. She now has two other novels out, one of which iv just started and the other on my rather large TBR pile!
Very exciting to have a new talented author who writes beautifully of the period , so many historical fiction books fall into the romance section which we all know that period of history is far from romantic
Olivia Buehl
Aug 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I could not put this book down. I'ver read many novels about the wives of Henry the Eighth, and this was the best of all. Fremantle absolutely inhabited the mind and emotions of Katherine Parr, who escaped with her life (although not for long). Although she is a journalist, this was Fremantle' s first novel and it is a winner. ...more
Rio (Lynne)
When the book started with Katherine's dying husband remembering his wife having a miscarriage from a potential rape, I lost interest. I tried...I skimmed...skimmed some more.....nah...scratch. ...more
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Tudor History Lovers: December 2015 - Queen's Gambit, by Elizabeth Freemantle 55 106 Jan 11, 2016 06:14PM  

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Elizabeth Fremantle is the critically acclaimed author of Tudor and Elizabethan set novels: Queen's Gambit, Sisters of Treason, Watch the Lady and Times Books of the Year: The Girl in the Glass Tower and The Poison Bed, a historical thriller written under the name EC Fremantle described as 'a Jacobean Gone Girl.'

Her latest novel is The Honey and the Sting, published August 6th 2020 as EC Fremantle

Other books in the series

The Tudor Trilogy (3 books)
  • Sisters of Treason (The Tudor Trilogy, #2)
  • Watch the Lady (The Tudor Trilogy, #3)

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