Queen's Gambit: A Novel
Katherine Parr is 31 years old and twice-widowed when she is given a
marriage proposal she can't refuse: to become the sixth wife to Henry VIII, a
brute whose five previous wives have been divorced, disowned or beheaded. A weaker woman would
quail at the prospect but Katherine is a rare breed of heroine; she refuses to
lose to His Highness in chess matches or to shriek at the sight of a pie filled
with live frogs (apparently a kind of Tudor test of one's mettle). Her secret?
She's in love with a dashing courtier named Thomas Seymour and hopes to at last
marry for love. What ensues are years of desperate gambling for happiness—and
a plot twist even canny readers will not see coming. Author Elizabeth Fremantle
brings the decadent, conniving, back-stabbing world of the 16th-century British
court to brilliant life here, revealing what one woman can teach us all about the
timeless art of survival.
— Andrea Walker