Six Tudor Queens: Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife by Alison Weir

I have been reading Alison Weir books since I was a teenager so imagine how much I fangirled when I was given the opportunity to read an advanced copy of her final book in the Tudor Queens series!
To Netgalley and Headline, thank you, thank you, thank you!

It is my opinion that Katharine Parr is often the most overlooked of Henry VIII’s wives: indeed most novels focus only on her life after becoming Queen. That is why this novel from Alison Weir was simply brilliant.

Weir introduces us to Katharine Parr as a girl, constantly surrounded by family and, after losing her father at a young age, being brought up by her uncle, aunt and her mother who was an attendant to Queen Katharine of Aragon.

The reader instantly falls in love with Katharine, an intelligent, caring child who is acutely aware of her eventual duty to her family but desperately wishes to remain in her carefree days with her siblings.
As we know, Tudor girls married young and Weir explores each of Katharine’s four marriages in great detail: combining historical fact and storytelling in the way that only she can.

It struck me that, in three of Katharine’s four marriages, she was used as a pawn, marrying for rank, power and connections as was the norm at the time.
However, in every one of these marriages Katharine was able to find love; even when marrying an old overweight Henry, already famous for disposing of numerous wives.
The writing during each of these marriages is rarely emotional: Katharine is a very rational and practical character, only showing real passion for religion. She is even super calm when she believes she is being investigated as a heretic!
It isn’t until Katharine’s fourth and final marriage that she marries for herself and for love. The passionate relationship between Katharine and Tom Seymour seeps into the writing at this point: introducing jealousy and anger where there has previously been merely a stoic resolve.

The fact that this novel spans the lifespan of Henry’s marriages is fitting and really allows Weir to paint a picture of Tudor society throughout the religious reforms and upheavals associated with its monarch.

No one who has read Alison Weir’s books before will be surprised that this is yet another success. Together with Philippa Gregory, Weir is a Queen of historical fiction and this novel is only the latest jewel in her crown.

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