Fascinating book regarding Katherine Parr written from the perspective of her best friend. Historically accurate and well written!
Suzannah Dunn's The Sixth Wife was an odd, tiresome and ultimately disappointing look at the last year-and-a-half of Katherine Parr's life. The title is a misnomer, as the book only mentions in passing her marriage to King Henry VIII and focuses exclusively on her relationship with Thomas Seymour.
Dunn chose to tell Kate's story through the eyes of her best friend, Catherine Willoughby, Duchess of Suffolk. Dunn's Catherine was an unlikeable character whose behavior became more and more preposterous as the novel progressed.
Dunn skimmed over the most interesting parts of the story: Thomas's inappropriate relationship with the teenage Princess Elizabeth, and his subsequent trial and execution for treason. The final third of the book was somewhat touching. By then, however, I was impatiently skimming the novel, just wanting it to end so I could read something better.
I read historical novels partly to become immersed in the past, but Dunn's annoying use of modern idiom kept pulling me right back into the 21st Century. (The worst offense: Catherine referring to Edward VI, the boy king, as "little Eddie." Groan.) The author's writing style was clunky and overly simplistic, with laughable, tin-eared dialogue. The impression her novel gave was of bad chick lit, with historical personages incongruously shoved into it. Without the names Katherine Parr, Thomas Seymour and Princess Elizabeth, this could have been any tedious piece of romantic fluff.
An interesting book about Katherine Parr's life after Henry VIII. The story is told through the eyes of Katherine's best friend, the widow of Charles Brandon. It's a little slow so the author spices it up by inventing a relationship between Catherine Brandon and Thomas Seymour. Strange but author doesn't spend a lot of time on the scandal involved with Thomas Seymour and Princess Elizabeth. A good read nonetheless.
This book has a 2007 copyright, and NOT 1997, that I incorrectly typed when entering it into the PBS system. I am awaiting a moderator to make the change.
This book is printed in the UK (ahead of the US as the author is in the UK) - it will, likely, be reprinted in the US with a US publisher and this is the author's most recent work. Unfortunately, it is too new for the PBS system to recognize, and you can see a picture of it at http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sixth-Wife-Suzannah-Dunn/dp/images/000723242X
I was really looking forward to this book, I had read another by this author earlier in the year and liked it quite a bit. And I liked this too, but it took me a bit of time to adjust to the viewpoint and way of speaking in this one.
The book is told from the viewpoint of Catherine of Suffolk, the last wife of Charles Brandon, who was a great friend to Henry VIII. Cathy, completely by coincidence, is a great friend of Katherine Parr, Henrys sixth and final wife, and we pick up the story right after Kate marries Thomas Seymour, going through the last year or so of her life.
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