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Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle

Queen's Gambit

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March 2013 MEGA Debut of the Month.

Rich in atmosphere and period detail, and told through the eyes of Katherine and her young maid Dot, Queen's Gambit is the riveting account of Katherine Parr, the Tudor queen who married four men and outlived three of them - including Henry VIII. The story of these two very different women during a terrifying and turbulent time is utterly engaging and compelling. If you loved Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory, the historical novels of Alison Weir or the BBC drama series The Tudors, then Elizabeth Fremantle's Queen's Gambit is the book for you.

reader reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Queen's Gambit a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'It is a long time since I've been completely entranced by a novel, but Queen's Gambit is truly remarkable. I simply couldn't put it down.' Scroll down to read more reviews.

If you like Elizabeth Fremantle you might also like to read books by DarceyBonnette, Philippa Gregory and Emily Purdy.

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Queen's Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle

Widowed for the second time aged thirty-one, Katherine Parr is obliged to return to court but, suspicious of the aging Henry and those who surround him, she does so with reluctance.

Nevertheless when she finds herself caught up in a passionate affair with the dashing and seductive Thomas Seymour, she believes she might finally be able to marry for love. But her presence at court has attracted the attentions of another...Captivated by her honesty and intelligence, Henry Tudor has his own plans for Katherine and no one is in the position to refuse a proposal from the king. With her charismatic lover dispatched to the continent, Katherine becomes Henry's sixth wife. Passionate about religious reform, and ever aware of the fates of his previous queens, she must draw upon all her instincts and intellect to navigate the treachery of the court. With the Catholic faction once more in the ascendency, reformers burned for heresy and those around the dying king vying for position in the new regime, her survival seems unlikely - and yet she has still not quite given up on love...


We have asked a select number of members and browsers to review Queen's Gambit. You can read their reviews below.

Maureen Evans - 'This book simply blew me away and is the best historical novel I’ve read since Hilary Mantel’s ‘Bring up the Bodies’.' Click here to read the full review.

Sam Lewis - 'Quite simply this is one of the best books I have read recently and would strongly recommend it to anyone with an interest in historical fiction.' Click here to read the full review.

Natasha Way - 'The attention to detail is both engrossing and insightful, the tale gripping and tragic…This novel was a joy to read.' Click here to read the full review.

Dawn Shaw - 'I have absolutely fallen for this book, I couldn’t put it down and was intrigued throughout.' Click here to read the full review.

Amanda Donovan - 'The political tension, the excellent characters and the brilliant plot makes this an excellent historical fiction that I found hard to put down. Highly recommended.' Click here to read the full review.

Jaine Ellis - 'Once begun, I found this novel difficult to put down, devouring it as the strands of love, passion, death and duty unfolded in all its’ facets.' Click here to read the full review.

Edel Waugh - 'Katherine is a character that you want to do well and find true love with a husband she truly loves. I could not get enough of this story, an engrossing tale told well that will have you telling all your friends about it.' Click here to read the full review.

Vanessa Wild - 'All in all, an immensely enjoyable, satisfying and engrossing read which I wouldn't hesitate to recommend to historical fiction fans. I eagerly look forward to Elizabeth Fremantle's next book in the series!' Click here to read the full review.

Sian Spinney - 'At its heart it is a love story that may well make you shed a small tear but it is also the story of a very strong woman...' Click here to read the full review.

Katie Reynolds - 'Queen’s Gambit is a gripping tale of secrets, love, paranoia and corruption...Beautifully written this intriguing story of Henry’s last wife charts her rise from well to do widow to the most powerful woman in the country.' Click here to read the full review.

Stephanie Harding - 'Beautifully written, this book was a joy to read...Catherine Parr is written in a very sympathetic way and is portrayed as an intelligent and compassionate woman.' Click here to read the full review.

Eva Le Bon, author of Bring Down the Moon - 'Told through the eyes of Katherine and her young maid Dot, the novel provides the reader with the story of two very different women during a terrifying and turbulent time.' Click here to read the full review.

Glynis Elliot - 'Well I finished it in two days which I think says it all...Queen´s Gambit is a wonderful read, the characters are fully fleshed and well drawn.' Click here to read the full review.

Lindsey Whittle - 'This book, based on excellent historical references, portrays vividly how aristocratic Tudor women were viewed as chattels and bargaining counters in the dangerous power games of Henry’s court.' Click here to read the full review.

Kathy Howell - 'The characters are really well drawn and you feel you are taking part in the events as they unfold...This is a good read covering a neglected character from history.' Click here to read the full review.

Joy Bosworth -
'A thoroughly enjoyable book...This novel has an overwhelming sense of the uncertainty and futility of Tudor times.' Click here to read the full review.

Gill Wilmott - 'This book relates the life of Katherine Parr, 6th wife of Henry VIII, from the demise of her 2nd husband to her own death. It is a very “inclusive” book taking you behind the scenes of everyday Tudor life, both above and below stairs.' Click here to read the full review.

Donna Smith - 'I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. This book expertly, for me at least, conveyed a time when a woman were ruled by men, expected to do whatever the men wanted when they wanted and whose feelings were completely ignored by men.' Click here to read the full review.

Elizabeth Thomas - 'I was transported back to Tudor London with fantastic description helping me to see, smell and hear what sights, odours and sounds would have been part of the world of Henry VIII and his Tudor court would have experienced.' Click here to read the full review.

Tracey Poulter
- 'This novel is remarkable in being able to give the big, political picture alongside the daily life of individuals and making both equally enthralling.' Click here to read the full review.

Kath Martin - 'I can only describe 'Queen's Gambit' as amazing! It is a long time since I was so captivated by a book and I found myself reading long into the night because I couldn't bear to be torn away from the Tudor court.' Click here to view the full review.

Alison Jones - '
This is a very engaging retelling of the life of Katherine Parr. It is full of period detail and as a result the atmosphere of the Tudor court is vividly captured.' Click here to read the full review.

Cath Humphris -
'Through their extraordinary stories Freemantle provides an accessible and vivid picture of women’s lives in Tudor England.' Click here to read the full review.

Sue Broom -
'She brings the atmosphere at court to life - claustrophobic and fraught with political scheming.' Click here to read the full review.

Kath Thornton -
'You really feel you are a part of the Queen's court and all that is going on, you feel the passion, danger, fear and religious struggle of Katherine all the way through. This is a very enjoyable read.' Click here to read the full review.

Linda Hill - 'It is a long time since I've been completely entranced by a novel, but Queen's Gambit is truly remarkable. I simply couldn't put it down.' Click here to read the full review.

Helen Sidebottom - 'I could not put this book down it is a real page turner! I was immediately transported back to the Tudor court as the writing is so descriptive.' Click here to read the full review.

Joan Hill - 'The Queen’s Gambit’ by Elizabeth Freemantle is a fine example of historical fiction at its very best. Authoritative, well researched and giving a wonderful snapshot of Tudor life.' Click here to read the full review.

Alan Brown - 'The book demolishes the perception that Katherine Parr is only noteworthy for outliving Henry VIII and brings her story out from the shadow of the Boleyn saga.' Click here to read the full review.

Hannah Brittlebank - 'The problem with writing a fictional novel about well-known historical characters is that there are going to be few surprises in the story line.' Click here to read the full review.

Susan Walsh - 'A brilliant read, Colourful and powerfully written. Take a stroll back in time with the Tudors.' Click here to read the full review.

Author Praise for Queen's Gambit:

'Beautifully written and finely observed, this suspenseful tale of Henry the Eighth's last wife expertly conveys all the dangerous intensity and passion of the Tudor court' Rachel Hore, author of A Place of Secrets and A Gathering Storm

'With a painter's eye for detail, Fremantle brings the dazzling, dangerous Tudor court to life and sheds an intriguing new light on Katherine Parr, one of history's great survivors. An enthralling tale of power and passion, loyalty and betrayal' Elizabeth Wilhide, author of Ashenden

About the Author

Elizabeth Fremantle

Elizabeth Fremantle is the author of Queen's Gambit, Sisters of Treason and Watch the Lady. She holds a first in English and an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck. As a Fashion Editor she has contributed to various publications including Vogue, Elle, and Vanity Fair.

Author Photo © Phyllis Christopheri

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Book Info

Publication date

14th March 2013


Elizabeth Fremantle

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Historical Fiction
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