Queen’s Gambit by Elizabeth Fremantle
Review by Amanda Donovan
If you enjoy reading Philippa Gregory’s historical novels, then you will love Elizabeth Fremantle’s debut novel, Queen’s Gambit. Katherine Parr is mourning the loss of her husband, but is called to the Tudor court of Henry VIII. She falls in love with the dashing Thomas Seymour, but the king wants her as Queen and what the King wants, he gets! Expect much heartbreak, tension and angst for Katherine when her beloved Thomas Seymour is sent away by the King and she has no choice but to marry Henry VIII. It is a period of political and religious unrest and well aware of what happened to his previous wives, Katherine is diplomatic and careful around the grumpy King. The smell of his gammy leg pervades the plot and makes the reader really feel for Katherine.
Elizabeth Fremantle’s fresh writing style immerses the reader in the beauty and stresses of Tudor times at Henry VIII’s colourful court. Characters are well researched, real historical people and the author skilfully brings them to life. With her original creative slant, Elizabeth Fremantle creates three dimensional personalities that shine from the pages. I enjoyed following the trials and tribulations of Katherine’s long-term maid and friend, Dot and Huicke, the King’s Physician and her confident – and grew to love them as did Katherine.
The political tension, the excellent characters and the brilliant plot makes this an excellent historical fiction that I found hard to put down. Highly recommended.