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The Last Wife of Henry VIII
The Last Wife of Henry VIII
Author: Carolly Erickson
The least known of Henry VIII's six wives was the most clever of them all. Alluring, witty and resourceful, Catherine Parr attracted the king's lust, and though much in love with the handsome Thomas Seymour, was thrown into the intrigue-filled snake pit of the royal court. From the splendours of the Field of the Cloth of Gold to the gory last ye...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780312352189
ISBN-10: 0312352182
Publication Date: 10/3/2006
Pages: 400
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 47 ratings
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

morbidromantic avatar reviewed The Last Wife of Henry VIII on + 63 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 14
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.
reviewed The Last Wife of Henry VIII on + 29 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Great book. Interesting on the way it portrays the woman who survived Henry VIII and how she helped shape the future queen.
surfwidow avatar reviewed The Last Wife of Henry VIII on + 36 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
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.
jacquiebeans avatar reviewed The Last Wife of Henry VIII on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
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.
Shervivor avatar reviewed The Last Wife of Henry VIII on + 97 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
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.
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reviewed The Last Wife of Henry VIII on
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.
lectio avatar reviewed The Last Wife of Henry VIII on + 88 more book reviews
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.


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