Book Review: Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife, by Alison Weir

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Headline Review
Pub date: 13 May 2021
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

A WOMAN TORN BETWEEN LOVE AND DUTY.

Two husbands dead, a boy and a sick man. And now Katharine is free to make her own choice.

The ageing King’s eye falls upon her. She cannot refuse him… or betray that she wanted another.

She becomes the sixth wife – a queen and a friend. Henry loves and trusts her. But Katharine is hiding another secret in her heart, a deeply held faith that could see her burn…

KATHARINE PARR. HENRY’S FINAL QUEEN. HER STORY.

Renowned, bestselling historian Alison Weir reveals a warm, clever woman of great fortitude who rose boldly to every turn her life took.

This is the final instalment in the Six Tudor Queens series and begins with Katharine aged five.
Weir takes us on a journey through Katharine’s life from a little girl losing her father to Queen of England followed by her final marriage to Thomas Seymour.

First I’d like to thank Headline for sending me a copy of this, I had been eagerly awaiting this instalment as I’ve adored the rest of the series and was intrigued to see how Weir would depict Katharine, I was not disappointed.

This wonderful instalment is breathtaking in it’s descriptives of the Tudor court, the clothing, the palaces and having been to Sudeley I was able to let my imagination put Katharine in the beautiful gardens and the Chapel I’d seen.

Image is author’s own taken at Sudeley and showing the tomb of Katharine Parr.

Katharine may well be known as the one who survived Henry VIII but she was so much more and Weir is able to bring life to her character as a woman and not just a queen. It was fascinating to read about her childhood and growing up and whilst I know this is historical fiction I am also aware of the meticulous research Weir takes to write her books.

Katharine was the first queen to publish under her own name and having seen the books at Sudeley it was very easy when reading this to picture Katharine sat at her desk writing away but before she was queen Katharine led an interesting life. It was lovely to see her early life hadn’t been ignored in favour of her time as queen as her younger life is no less interesting. Weir shows Katharine to be a loving and kind person who adores her family and does her best to fulfil her role to her family and in her faith, even when it puts her in danger.
It is only after the death of her second husband that Katharine finds she has caught the King’s eye.

The focus of this book is clearly Katharine but I have to say I really enjoyed how Weir has portrayed other individuals especially Henry, his daughters Mary and Elizabeth along with the Duchess of Suffolk who I found to be a bold and humorous character. Henry wasn’t depicted as the angry hateful old man we sometimes see and it was lovely to read about his and Katharine’s relationship as well as her relationship with Edward from a little boy to king.

Unfortunately Katharine met a sad end but Weir has brought her story to life and ensured her life before queen is not forgotten amd I’d recommend this along with the rest of the series to all with an interest in the Tudors. Weir provides a note at the end explaining the work and her use of fictional additions which is really helpful.

Having considered the rest of the series, I did enjoy them all but I think this one may be my favourite. It has been a while since I read the first couple so maybe it’s just an excuse for me to read them all again in order. It is definitely my favourite cover, such a beautiful cover, the picture does not do it justice. It’s a little sad to know the series is over but I am looking forward to hearing what Weir will be doing next. This has been a brilliant series, Weir writes beautifully and captures the Six Tudor Queens and their courts in an enthralling way.

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