Sunday, November 01, 2020

Sunday Synopsis


The Taming of the QueenThe Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Philippa Gregory does it again! Her historical fiction comes to life. She does her research so well that the dialogue feels so realistic as though these were the actual conversations of Henry, Kateryn Parr, Thomas Seymour, or any of the other characters. None of her characters are one-sided caricatures, not even the Fool, who is likely wiser than most. If Gregory wants her audience to love a character, she can make that happen, and if she wants the audience to despise a character, well, she can make that happen, too. What a talented author!

Only a few months have passed since Henry's fifth wife was sentenced to death, and Henry has his eye on Kateryn Parr, a 30-year-old widow who has her sights on Thomas Seymour. But you can't say "No," to the King, particularly not to Henry VIII. Kateryn will be his sixth wife and she will turn out to be a friend to Henry, a step-mother to his children who are reunited at court, and regent of England in Henry's absence. However, he all but exiled two of his wives, had two of his wives killed, and had one wife, Jane Seymour, who died in childbirth, and whose ghost Kateryn must compete with, among many other treacherous situations she may find herself in.

Kateryn Parr is a scholarly woman who is in favor of reform of the church. Some still at court would like to see England return to the Pope's church. Kateryn forms a study group for women at court, translates Biblical passages, and writes her own scripture-driven literature. This may put her in danger, not only with the traditionalists but with her own husband who wants to believe he is better and more scholarly than everyone else, especially his wife.

I enjoyed this book so much! The descriptions are so vivid, it is easy to imagine the culture in 1543 when the book begins - clothing, traditions, culture, foods, buildings, and the history of England are all so well-described and interesting. She brings intrigue and tension to this story about Henry VIII's sixth and last wife and their court. I loved it!

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