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.
Great book. Interesting on the way it portrays the woman who survived Henry VIII and how she helped shape the future queen.
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.