By Elizabeth Fremantle
Simon & Schuster, $26.00, 432 pages
In the court of Henry the VIII of England, as in chess, the Queen must not only play strategically to win, but also to remain standing. For his sixth wife, Katherine Parr, the Queen’s Gambit was to choose a strong opening move and shrewdly counter her opponent’s attacks. Despite persistent court intrigue, religious and military upheaval, and the lack of an additional heir, Parr survived; unlike her five unfortunate predecessors, she was not divorced, beheaded, or exiled.
In this fictionalized account of Parr’s marriage to the aging and ill Henry the VIII, British author Elizabeth Fremantle entertainingly tells a story of court life from the perspectives of the Queen and her loyal servant, Dot. For those who enjoy this time period and historical romances, this well-written novel will be a pleasure to read.
Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen