I wasn't too long into the book that I had to apply one of the most important historical fiction rules: when reading historical fiction, keep in mind that it's not non-fiction and will therefore be less bound by the responsibility of accuracy and neutrality. Historical fiction may take as many liberties as it pleases to tell an interesting story, which Erickson certainly does in this novel. Historical fiction is usually based on the life of an important figure or on historical events, though not with the promise of total truth. Fiction is fiction, even with you tack on the word 'historical' in front of it. To anyone unfamiliar with Tudor history, the story flows easy. For anyone who knows a little something about the Tudors, some of the inaccuracies or displays of character are a bit unsettling.
For example, Catherine did not marry young Ned Burgh, though Erickson writes that he was her one true love. Also, Tom Seymour did not try to usurp the crown through starting his own army and waging a personal war. These things are added for romantic and dramatic effect only.
What especially annoyed me was that when married to Henry VIII, the novel Catherine Parr was silly and stupid enough to commit adultery. Clearly she had not been paying enough attention when other wives were executed for that very crime. It seemed out of character that such an intelligent and steady headed woman would give in to something so dangerous and, well, stupid.
Was this a good book?
Yes. I couldn't put it down. The drama was great, the romances were hot, and the intrigues were very intriguing. I enjoyed the book and hope to find more of Erickson's works. Fortunately, while I enjoy picking through historical fiction and determining its accuracy, I don't get upset or overly bothered when a book is very inaccurate.
This book threw me when one of her husbands was completely changed and I never recovered:-( She was known for her common sense and some of her actions in this book contradicted those traits she was known to have. I just didn't buy all the changes. I know historical fiction IS fiction, but why not concentrate on the lesser known parts of her life to fictionalize instead of major ones? Maybe I'll try another by this author since I've read that this isn't one of her better ones.
The author of this book must be so wrapped in self-pity because the female lead in this book reeks of it as well. On this bogus journey of Katherine Parr (the last wife of Henry VIII) there are no solid facts or even fun made-up ones. It is countless scenes of 'woe is me' from a daft perspective. There also is no happy ending or even likeable characters. A failure and obvious wannabe of the Philippa Gregory series.
I enjoyed this book. I believe it gave me more insight into the life of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's last wife, who survived him. Like most historical fiction of the Tudor era this book is filled with court intrigue; who is making a power play, who is committing adultery and Henry's unstableness as the years go by. If you enjoy reading about this era in time and you like a book with a little war, romance and treachery thrown in this book would be a good choice.
I've become very interested in learning more about the Tudors ever since reading The Other Boleyn Girl (as I'm sure many people have become), so reading this book sounded perfect to me! Catherine Parr first came into my life during my first year of teaching when another teacher gave me a transparency slide to use when going over the wives of Henry VIII. I thought it was interesting that this last wife had been married four times in her 36 years of life and that she is typically given credit for bringing Mary and Elizabeth back into the line of succession. So I was excited to find out that there was a historical fiction book out there about her life. Overall, I liked this book. It sheds some light on Henry's last wife, who had a pretty interesting life herself if most of the major events in this book are true. I'm not too knowledgeable about Catherine's life, but a few major things were "out of wack" (Her first husband was more than likely in his 50s or 60s according to some sources I consulted, but in this book he's a teenager like her! Also, her sister-in-law in this book seems to be more of an amalgam of her sister-in-law and a religious preacher that the real Catherine was acquainted with). In this story, Catherine makes note of the changing world of England around her. After all, Henry was king for as long as she could remember, so she, as did the rest of the nation, followed his succession of wives with interest. Her mother was a lady-in-waiting to Henry's first wife (also named Catherine), so her connection to the crown starts early. It then leads into Catherine's first and second marriages, and how those shaped her life for when she would eventually marry her third husband, King Henry VIII. Historical fallacies aside, this was an interesting read! :-)
An entertaining historical novel that expanded on the usual Anne Boleyn/Henry viewpoint to give a broader picture of Tudor England, especially of the waning years of Henry's reign. But while the characters were mostly well-drawn, the author often chose such modern words, actions, and motivations for them that even real historical figures seemed unbelievable.
I really liked this book. I am a Tudor freak and read everything I can about them. Catherine Parr, Henry's last wife survived him, but led a very exciting life. This book is very easy to read and understand, unlike many I have read about this family. Genny Sikes
This was a wonderful look at the life of Katherine Parr. It was nice to see a book set in Tudor England that did not center around Anne Boleyn. I really enjoyed that the author went through Henry's laundry list of wives and portrayed it through the eyes of Katherine. Defiantly a good read. This book took me about three days to finish
For some inexplicable reason I am a sucker for just about anything having to do with the Tudors, and the only reason I read this book was because I was going through withdrawal having seen the final episode of Showtime's cheesy series in which the main characters spent as much time stepping out of their elaborate 16th century costumes in order to hop into bed with one another as they did wearing them. Nevertheless, the series rekindled my love of all things Tudor and so I ended up wandering across this book, which I am almost embarrassed to admit that I read. Usually I'm a little more discriminating about books I read that have to do with this period, and so I could tell from the beginning that the author of this one had taken enormous liberties with the life of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's last wife. Facts were distorted, dates were confused, important characters eliminated and others invented. Equally unfortunate was the author's tendency to lapse into a writing style that seemed closer to what might be expected between the covers of a romance novel, or the script of a soap opera. And yet I suppose I shouldn't be so critical. After all, I could have put the silly book down any time. Instead I kept right on reading ..right up to this disappointing novel's final melodramatic ending, which I will quote here: "I lift my hand to grasp his, eager to go wherever he leads, down the bright corridor I glimpse behind him, where all is peace and light..." Enough said.
This is a terrific look at Henry VIII and his last wife, Catherine Parr. We always get the story of Henry and his first wife or Henry and Anne Boleyn, but here's a new slant on an old and vicious king!
I loved this book! It was accurate and it really drew me in. Carolly Erickson takes you back to the court of Henry VIII and sheds light on his last wife, Cathrine Parr. It is historical fiction at its best.
A light read and definitely a NOVEL!! About 2/3's of the way through, I began to get tired of this Catherine's inability to stand up for herself. Don't take Erickson's portrayal of Catherine Parr as real. The real Catherine Parr was a very strong, plain woman who had little romance in her life. Which doesn't make for much of a story. If you're looking for a romance novel in an historical setting -- this can be a fun book. If you are looking for accurate historical information, look elsewhere.