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Two husbands dead; a life marred by sadness. And now Katharine is in love for the first time in her life. The eye of an ageing and dangerous king falls upon her. She cannot refuse him. She must stifle her feelings and never betray that she wanted another. And now she is the sixth wife. Her queenship is a holy mission yet, fearfully, she dreams of the tragic parade of women Two husbands dead; a life marred by sadness. And now Katharine is in love for the first time in her life. The eye of an ageing and dangerous king falls upon her. She cannot refuse him. She must stifle her feelings and never betray that she wanted another. And now she is the sixth wife. Her queenship is a holy mission yet, fearfully, she dreams of the tragic parade of women who went before her. She cherishes the secret beliefs that could send her to the fire. And still the King loves and trusts her. Now her enemies are closing in. She must fight for her very life. KATHARINE PARR – the last of Henry’s queens. Alison Weir recounts the extraordinary story of a woman forced into a perilous situation and rising heroically to the challenge. Katharine is a delightful woman, a warm and kindly heroine – and yet she will be betrayed by those she loves and trusts most. Too late, the truth will dawn on her.


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Two husbands dead; a life marred by sadness. And now Katharine is in love for the first time in her life. The eye of an ageing and dangerous king falls upon her. She cannot refuse him. She must stifle her feelings and never betray that she wanted another. And now she is the sixth wife. Her queenship is a holy mission yet, fearfully, she dreams of the tragic parade of women Two husbands dead; a life marred by sadness. And now Katharine is in love for the first time in her life. The eye of an ageing and dangerous king falls upon her. She cannot refuse him. She must stifle her feelings and never betray that she wanted another. And now she is the sixth wife. Her queenship is a holy mission yet, fearfully, she dreams of the tragic parade of women who went before her. She cherishes the secret beliefs that could send her to the fire. And still the King loves and trusts her. Now her enemies are closing in. She must fight for her very life. KATHARINE PARR – the last of Henry’s queens. Alison Weir recounts the extraordinary story of a woman forced into a perilous situation and rising heroically to the challenge. Katharine is a delightful woman, a warm and kindly heroine – and yet she will be betrayed by those she loves and trusts most. Too late, the truth will dawn on her.

30 review for Katharine Parr, the Sixth Wife

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    I’m a massive fan of anything relating to the Tudor dynasty, and author Alison Weir, employing great knowledge and a splash of imagination, brings not only the workings of the Tudor Court wonderfully to life, but also its characters. Katharine Parr, had lost two husbands, and though she cared deeply for both of them, she had never actually been IN love - until she met Thomas Seymour. However, in Tudor times, duty came before love, and when Henry VIII, King of England set his cap at her, she thoug I’m a massive fan of anything relating to the Tudor dynasty, and author Alison Weir, employing great knowledge and a splash of imagination, brings not only the workings of the Tudor Court wonderfully to life, but also its characters. Katharine Parr, had lost two husbands, and though she cared deeply for both of them, she had never actually been IN love - until she met Thomas Seymour. However, in Tudor times, duty came before love, and when Henry VIII, King of England set his cap at her, she thought it would be very unwise to refuse, and besides, she thought her influence would bring about changes close to her heart, and so it was that Katharine Parr became Henry’s sixth, and final wife. By the time they married, Henry was but a shadow of his former self - ageing, and in ill health. Katharine Parr was probably the least appealing of Henry VIII’s wives for me personally, but that’s because I knew little about her, however, the author brings the many facets of her personality to life, from her time as a child born into minor nobility, to her life as queen, and she highlights the machinations of the Tudor Court, and the growing tension between the Catholics and the Protestants - a very dangerous time indeed to be queen. So, from knowing very little about Katharine Parr, I discovered that (on the whole), I really liked this strong, independent and sensible lady. A great addition for fans of historical fiction, and the Tudor dynasty in particular. * Thank you to Netgalley and Headline for my Arc in exchange for an honest unbiased review *

  2. 5 out of 5

    *TUDOR^QUEEN* (on hiatus)

    Four Stars I confess, I was not particularly looking forward to reading this final book in the "Six Queens" series simply because I never found this sixth queen of King Henry VIII that interesting. The Tudors being a passion of mine, I've read many books and watched movies and documentaries about the Six Queens. So, what did I already know about Katharine Parr? I knew that Katharine fervently wished to marry Thomas Seymour at the time she was proposed to by Henry VIII, that she sacrificed her per Four Stars I confess, I was not particularly looking forward to reading this final book in the "Six Queens" series simply because I never found this sixth queen of King Henry VIII that interesting. The Tudors being a passion of mine, I've read many books and watched movies and documentaries about the Six Queens. So, what did I already know about Katharine Parr? I knew that Katharine fervently wished to marry Thomas Seymour at the time she was proposed to by Henry VIII, that she sacrificed her personal desires to perform her duty by marrying the king. She also stood firmly with religious reform to the Protestant faith, and this nearly got her arrested whilst married to the King. Henry had already moved towards religious reforms to the Protestant faith, but still preferred to take a "middle road" while retaining elements of Catholic traditions. I also knew of Thomas Seymour's carnal interest in the teenage Elizabeth, who later became Queen Elizabeth I. Lastly, I knew that Katharine mysteriously had never gotten pregnant in her previous marriages until she finally was able to marry Thomas Seymour following the King's death, but tragically and ironically died from complications of childbirth after giving birth to a daughter. This book filled out some unknowns for me, fleshing out her childhood and two prior marriages before she married King Henry VIII. I found this book to be quite voluminous in pages, as if I was reading two books. Towards the beginning of the book, I became a tad disinterested and strayed away to read some other books. However, I was heartened to read about how when her father died, her uncle welcomed/absorbed the family into his own household. During this time, fortuitous marriages were arranged that had nothing to do with love but with money, titles and rank. Women just had to make the best of it and hopefully find love and at least a certain contentment following marriage. Also, the men controlled the wealth, even if it came from his wife's family. Her first marriage was blighted by the complication of her husband favoring men. The second was with an older man, but provided comfort and contentment. However, it was a dangerous time when the Catholics were fighting back against King Henry VIII's destruction of their abbeys, and her husband John Neville was being heavily pressured by both sides. When Neville died, Katharine was finally able to entertain her simmering attraction to Thomas Seymour. This was thwarted almost immediately by King Henry VIII's unexpected and unwanted interest in her. In the end, she succumbed to his wishes for the betterment of her family, and more importantly, to influence Henry towards more progressive religious reforms to Protestantism. It has always been depicted that by this point King Henry VIII could not perform in the bedroom, but this historical fiction offering has them successfully achieving marital relations. Another surprise! I enjoyed this part of the book most of all because although Katharine wasn't "in love' with Henry, she grew to love him and enjoy his company. It was a happy marriage all around, and Katharine was a wonderful stepmother to Henry's children. I appreciated Katharine's intelligence, temperance and cunning in navigating the dog eat dog world of the Tudor Court, which was a dangerous place. This was another quality read from acclaimed royal author Alison Weir, which closes the final chapter to her historical fiction series, "Six Queens". Thank you very much to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for providing an advance reader copy via NetGalley.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Whenever I have the chance to read something by Alison Weir, I take note, be it a lengthy piece of non-fiction or her well-paced novels of historical fiction. Weir is able to breathe life into the Tudor Era (as well as other times in English monarchical history) and provide the reader with a stellar account of things that took place. In this, Weir’s final novel related to the wives of Henry VIII, the author depicts how King Henry VIII continued to rule over England, in search of yet another wife Whenever I have the chance to read something by Alison Weir, I take note, be it a lengthy piece of non-fiction or her well-paced novels of historical fiction. Weir is able to breathe life into the Tudor Era (as well as other times in English monarchical history) and provide the reader with a stellar account of things that took place. In this, Weir’s final novel related to the wives of Henry VIII, the author depicts how King Henry VIII continued to rule over England, in search of yet another wife. Young Katharine Parr was no simple woman, having been married before and suffered great loss. However, it is the interaction between the King and his sixth wife that brings life to this story and provides an intriguing ending to the long-winded narrative of Henry’s wives. Weir does a fabulous job at illustrating things here, offering up some great storytelling and wonderful dialogue to leave the reader feeling as though they were in the middle of the action. While the series has ended, the impact is sure to remain long after. Katharine Parr was born into a well-established family with ties to past monarchs. Her upbringing was full of privilege, though Parr never sought to flaunt herself to others. Rather, she dove into learning to quench her desire to expand her mind and better comprehend the world around her. This included trying to understand her place in the world, or at least the complex placement within England at a time when many had claims of royal blood and lineage. After her first marriage at seventeen, Parr discovered the trials and tribulations of trying to fit into the lifestyle. Her husband, Sir Edward Burgh, held secrets that could not make their way to Court, for fear of tarnishing the family name. Still, Katharine pined for a family, something Burgh could not deliver. Upon his death, Katharine wondered what might become of her and how she could rectify the blunder of her marriage with little to show for it. When she married John Neville in 1534, Parr hoped to make a name for herself and truly understand what it was like to have a family, now graced with a handful of step-children. However, it was around this time that King Henry VIII chose to annul his first marriage to Catherine of Aragon, creating a massive schism with the Church in Rome. While Henry VIII pushed for the dissolution, he also developed the Reformation and the Church of England. Neville, a staunch Catholic, fought hard against the change and he was soon deemed troublesome to the king, an issue that Katharine would have to face head-on. There were conflicting accounts as to how involved John Neville might have been in the push against the Reformation, leaving Henry VIII to make some interesting decisions regarding how to treat the man. Katharine’s future was left in the king’s hands, as she had little to support her and the children under her care. All the while, Katharine sought to marry for love, though she could not see how this might occur, having no means of finding a man who stole her heart while saddled with her current responsibilities. Her saving grace might have been a connection with Princess Mary, the king’s eldest daughter, in whose household she served. While at Court, Katharine caught the eye of the king, though she did not seek his affections. Rather, she found herself enamoured by Sir Thomas Seymour, brother of the late queen, Jane Seymour, the only wife to bear Henry VIII a legitimate son. While Katharine hoped to marry Thomas, it was not in the cards. Henry was without a wife and seemed keen to find a sixth, with Katharine his first choice. As has been seen throughout the series, what Henry wants, he gets. After marrying the king, Katharine found the stability she had long sought, though there was still a lack of love in her marriage (at least on her part). Katharine bonded well with her new step-children and sought to connect with them whenever possible. It would seem that she was a glue that past queens could not be between the royal offspring and their father, as she welcomed them and was apparently loved by all three, even though she was only a few years older than Mary. While Henry grew older and sicker, Katharine did her best to serve as queen and regent when time required it. She sought to make the most of her life and did whatever was asked of her, within reason. Katharine knew that Henry’s time was limited, as he became less and less active and his ailments caught up with him. She knew that it would be only a matter of time before the country was forced to accept the end of the reign of their long-serving ruler, but what of the Tudor dynasty? It is this latter portion of the book that tackles not only the waning period of Henry VIII, but Katharine’s struggle to be named regent to serve as technical ‘monarch by proxy’ until Prince Edward came of age. Katharine uses her power to try lobbying Henry, as well as members of the Privy Council, all of whom will help to shape the future of England and the direction in which the monarch will turn. Add to this, Katharine has struggles of her own about a future that is not clear. Will she be able to turn to the man she sought before being chosen as a sixth wife? How will it play out and which pieces must move in tandem for all this to happen? A powerful end to the queens of Henry VIII, while also providing a key period in the larger Tudor narrative. Weir ties things off splendidly and many fans of the series will likely agree. There is something about the writing of Alison Weir that has captivated me for many years. I always know that when I pick up one of her books, it will be an educational experience, no matter the topic. While there are both fiction and non- books from which to choose, both offer such insight into the lives of past English monarchs and how their lives changed the history books. Weir’s use of dialogue is likely one of the only reasons this series is called ‘fiction’, but that is an argument I will not broach, as I am sure Tudor historians would leap on the chance to crucify me with examples. All the same, it was a thoroughly enjoyable novel and stellar series. While it has come to an end, I hope to be able to return and learn more with another reading at some future date. Katharine Parr was an amazing protagonist throughout this piece, offering up insights and intriguing vignettes throughout the narrative. While she came to reach her zenith after many struggles and personal hurdles, Katharine does not skimp on the action or development throughout this time. Weir provides her with a thorough and well-rounded story, adding the twist that she was the only one to outlast the monarch and saw England post-Henry VIII. This would prove poignant, as the chaos of fickle decision making, both in matrimony and leadership, had finally come to an end. Weir uses a handful of stellar supporting characters to keep the story lively. The story spans quite a time period and much of Katharine Parr’s life needs hashing out, which requires thorough narrative footprints. Weir effectively shapes the Parr story with names and faces who push the story along, sometimes recurring throughout to offer a few twists, even as the history books have long closed on how things would cement themselves. I could not find myself leaning towards any single character or time period, but was highly impressed with all that was packed into this single novel. It is no shock that the book (and series) turned out to be so stellar. There is so much going on and yet Weir keeps the narrative pushing along at a decent pace. Details drip from every page, some needed and others that permit a visualization that could not otherwise be made (as these are the centuries before photographs). Long and thorough chapters fill the book with needed details, each segmented in an effective manner, as the push towards the end of one Tudor era and into a rockier time to come. Using history and fiction together, the novel came across as a gritty piece of entertainment, though there is surely so much to learn throughout, keeping the reader from skimming too much. I have always loved Weir’s work for this reason and cannot wait for the next project, hoping it will lure me in as effectively. Kudos, Madam Weir, for another winner. The series, the book, the concept... all worked so well. I loved it and am also a little sad to see it all come to an end. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    For my full review, visit me at https://mrsbrownsbooks.wordpress.com/... I love a good Tudor novel but have always been overwhelmed by the vast number of characters. Weir’s offering had me thinking the same before I started, especially given that this is a rather lengthy novel. However, I am so glad that I read this book (despite being the last in the series and the first one I have read!) because I enjoyed it so much; it will undoubtedly be part of my top reads for this year. For my full review, visit me at https://mrsbrownsbooks.wordpress.com/... I love a good Tudor novel but have always been overwhelmed by the vast number of characters. Weir’s offering had me thinking the same before I started, especially given that this is a rather lengthy novel. However, I am so glad that I read this book (despite being the last in the series and the first one I have read!) because I enjoyed it so much; it will undoubtedly be part of my top reads for this year.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Karen’s Library

    For whatever reason, I’m Tudor obsessed. I’m absolutely fascinated by this era of history, and of this time period, I’m most intrigued by King Henry VIII’s reign. Any time I find a new book to read, I jump at it. And out of all of his wives, Katharine Parr is probably my favorite. Alison Weir did an excellent job of keeping this story fresh by going back to the beginning and telling the tale of Katharine’s childhood and her first 2 marriages. I’ve read several books from the beginning of Katheri For whatever reason, I’m Tudor obsessed. I’m absolutely fascinated by this era of history, and of this time period, I’m most intrigued by King Henry VIII’s reign. Any time I find a new book to read, I jump at it. And out of all of his wives, Katharine Parr is probably my favorite. Alison Weir did an excellent job of keeping this story fresh by going back to the beginning and telling the tale of Katharine’s childhood and her first 2 marriages. I’ve read several books from the beginning of Katherine’s marriage to Henry, but didn’t know too much about her life from before. I loved it and couldn’t read this book fast enough. I’ve read other Katharine Parr books where the religious aspect was just too much and overwhelming and I almost couldn’t get through those books. But Weir’s version had just the right amount of religion (as it was a major part of Katharine’s story) and still kept the entire book so completely interesting. I have read another of Weir’s book in this series, and now need to go back and read about the 4 other wives that I haven’t read yet! I’m hooked on Weir’s versions now. *Thank you so much to Random House and NetGalley for the advance copy!*

  6. 4 out of 5

    Alayne Emmett

    I loved this book so much, it was interesting and not too heavy in detail. Some of it I knew but lots I didn’t. Katherine Parr outlived King Henry the eighth and went on to marry for the fourth time to Thomas Seymour. Although I haven’t read all here books in this series it really didn’t matter as they are all stand alone books. Definitely one of my best reads of this year.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    Alison Weir helps you understand how it could have happened that Katherine Parr became the wife of Henry VIII and then, soon after, Thomas Seymour. It gives some dimension on how Katherine coped with her protestant leanings amid the dangerous Catholic spies in the court and the likely Seymour family dynamics. Weir presents events as Katherine might have seen them. You see Katherine’s childhood and how she, like others, is married off. You see her defer to her first two husbands and advise them a Alison Weir helps you understand how it could have happened that Katherine Parr became the wife of Henry VIII and then, soon after, Thomas Seymour. It gives some dimension on how Katherine coped with her protestant leanings amid the dangerous Catholic spies in the court and the likely Seymour family dynamics. Weir presents events as Katherine might have seen them. You see Katherine’s childhood and how she, like others, is married off. You see her defer to her first two husbands and advise them as best she can. You see Thomas Seymour at his romantic best and then as an ambitious lying cad. (The scissors incident is given a story I hadn’t heard before). Weir shows how the Ann Askew case had Katherine worried for her life when she hardly knew the woman. Katherine’s close relationships with her brother, sister and uncle are shown as significant. They share information keep each other’s confidences. Like her, they support the “new” religion, but to keep their positions, show a moderate face in court. While Henry is the king who broke with Rome, confiscated monasteries and sent soldiers to harass Catholic defenders, at this time of life he is now “the middle of the road” on religious issues. Katherine believes his early actions reflect the influence of Anne Boleyn and are the reasons for her death. Catherine, who lacks the courage to come out of her closet as a Protestant, is shown to influence the King to allow some reading of scripture in English and advance the protestant cause other subtle ways. While Katherine Parr is not the most exciting of Henry VIII’s wives the characterizations and dialogs of Katherine, Henry, the Seymour Family, Mary and Elizabeth and how the low grade civil war (during her queenship) over religion dominated their relationships make this a worthy read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lois

    My deepest condolences to the author on the loss of her mother and son. 2020 was a brutal year for her and my heart goes out to her. 2.5 stars rounded up. I liked this more than I thought I would. I would've rated this more highly but the author relies very heavily on sexism. I'm tired of authors and historians not holding King Henry VIII, who was an absolute ruler, responsible for his own choices. He was a tyrant and a monster, stop trying to victim blame those he murdered or did wrong. My deepest condolences to the author on the loss of her mother and son. 2020 was a brutal year for her and my heart goes out to her. 2.5 stars rounded up. I liked this more than I thought I would. I would've rated this more highly but the author relies very heavily on sexism. I'm tired of authors and historians not holding King Henry VIII, who was an absolute ruler, responsible for his own choices. He was a tyrant and a monster, stop trying to victim blame those he murdered or did wrong.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor (bookishcourtier)

    I enjoyed the character of Katharine, but she was not my favourite of the queens I have read about in this series. I also found her journey towards becoming truly Protestant in her views unconvincing and a little clunky, but overall the book was compelling and readable. I just wish we could finally have some good LGBTQ+ representation in Tudor books, because I have never been able to find any. I am grateful that Alison Weir clarified that the views expressed by Katharine were those of the time a I enjoyed the character of Katharine, but she was not my favourite of the queens I have read about in this series. I also found her journey towards becoming truly Protestant in her views unconvincing and a little clunky, but overall the book was compelling and readable. I just wish we could finally have some good LGBTQ+ representation in Tudor books, because I have never been able to find any. I am grateful that Alison Weir clarified that the views expressed by Katharine were those of the time and not today, but as she also stated that there was no evidence that the particular character was homosexual (and that she only made him so as a possible theory as to why they had no children?) the poor representation seemed to be rather pointless, and the character deserved more development as a gay character. And considering the speculative changes she made to Anna of Kleve's story, it hardly seems too much to ask for Katharine to be a little more accepting. I hope I expressed this point in an eloquent way; it is not a major criticism, just some disappointment. that tudor historical fiction seems to offer nothing better than this. Aside from this, I did really enjoy the novel and I am sad that this series is over. I am always looking to read more historical fiction about Henry's wives, particularly the less 'popular' ones, and this series has been something I look forward to each year. They are always incredibly easy to read, intricate and detailed, and always the wife at the centre is sensible, relatable and engaging.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Isabel

    so sad to see this marvellous series come to an end but I enjoyed the last installment so much

  11. 4 out of 5

    Juliew.

    Surprisingly,I thought this was a fairly accurate account of Katherine Parr's life.Full of detail,well written with good pacing throughout the book.There are a few debatable scenes in here but the one that really stuck out to me was Katherine's confrontation with Elizabeth over Thomas Seymour.To my knowledge I think Elizabeth was too intelligent to ever to say that Thomas prefered her to Katherine.I think I broke up laughing at that point in the book.On the other hand Ms.Weir seemed to have capt Surprisingly,I thought this was a fairly accurate account of Katherine Parr's life.Full of detail,well written with good pacing throughout the book.There are a few debatable scenes in here but the one that really stuck out to me was Katherine's confrontation with Elizabeth over Thomas Seymour.To my knowledge I think Elizabeth was too intelligent to ever to say that Thomas prefered her to Katherine.I think I broke up laughing at that point in the book.On the other hand Ms.Weir seemed to have captured Thomas and Katherine's relationship as volatile which seemed in keeping with the historical record.As for Katherine I felt this was a sympathetic portrayal where the author managed to bring out her personal qualities quite well.Overall I enjoyed it and it has been my favorite of the series.Much thanks to Netgalley for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brinley

    This book was a great glimpse into the Tudor Court during the time of Henry VIII. I was astounded by the amount if research Weir put into this, you could tell how hard she worked to make this as accurate as possible. Because of that accuracy, I did feel that the plot moved a bit slowly at times. Katharine Parr was fairly removed from the Court for the first half of the book, so quite a bit of time is spent following her on her daily activities. It was interesting, but at times, got a bit boring. This book was a great glimpse into the Tudor Court during the time of Henry VIII. I was astounded by the amount if research Weir put into this, you could tell how hard she worked to make this as accurate as possible. Because of that accuracy, I did feel that the plot moved a bit slowly at times. Katharine Parr was fairly removed from the Court for the first half of the book, so quite a bit of time is spent following her on her daily activities. It was interesting, but at times, got a bit boring. I did love how this book gave Katharine dimension though. When I picked it up, I really expected this to focus on her time as Henry's wife, and little else. This book did a great job of making her other than that. She was a loving mother, educated woman, and a fierce fighter. She felt real, and it was amazing. Because of her realness though, she angered me at times. She wasn't always likeable, which is the mark of a good author. Even though I haven't read the other books in this series, I really enjoyed this one! It was a great snapshot into Katharine's life. I'd definitely recommend this to historical fiction fans! Thanks to Netgalley and Alison Weir for providing a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jaksen

    A big, weighty, meaty book about the last of King Henry VIII's six wives. Katharine marries Henry with some reluctance, but turns out to be a wife he truly loves and respects. Too bad it took him six tries to get there. Katharine Parr was a name I knew, but knew little about. It seems to me that certain wives get all the attention, namely the first wife, Katharine of Aragorn; the second, Anne Boleyn; and even the third and fourth, Jane Seymour and the next Catherine. (Anne/Anna of Cleves gets sho A big, weighty, meaty book about the last of King Henry VIII's six wives. Katharine marries Henry with some reluctance, but turns out to be a wife he truly loves and respects. Too bad it took him six tries to get there. Katharine Parr was a name I knew, but knew little about. It seems to me that certain wives get all the attention, namely the first wife, Katharine of Aragorn; the second, Anne Boleyn; and even the third and fourth, Jane Seymour and the next Catherine. (Anne/Anna of Cleves gets short shrift, too.) So when I saw this book in my library just sitting there I said OMG I need to know more about this woman. Much-married, Katharine was widowed twice before marrying Henry, and had a fourth husband after him, Thomas Seymour. Intensely religious, she was an adherent to some of the 'new thinking' of her day involving a reformed church which eventually led her to embracing Protestantism. (Which eventually became the Church of England with the monarch at its head.) But even though that came about because Henry needed a divorce to marry Anne Boleyn, it doesn't seem he was totally on board with the Protestants; he even burned a few who went too far, in his opinion. What he wanted was merely to 'reform' the existing church, which meant, twist it in the direction HE wanted. Katharine Parr, on the other hand, was eager to take it a step further and this book goes into great detail concerning that. (She had to hide some of her books from Henry lest he regard her as a heretic, and we all knew what that might mean, even for a royal wife.) So, a good read, with one star off for a lot of 'tell' instead of 'show,' which I mentioned in a comment here on Goodreads to a friend. It is a long novel, and there is A LOT of history here, especially when dealing with all the previous wives, their families, the social climate, the wars, the infighting, backbiting and gossip. (It just goes on and on!) But too often the book reads more as 'tell' than 'show.' There's a lot of: he did this; she did that; he said this; they went there. I liked the sections where the action is right there, and Katharine is in the thick of it. There's a passage where protesters (against Henry's latest religious reforms) come to Katharine's home in search of her (then) husband John, planning to persuade/force him to join their cause. Katharine is more or less held hostage in her own home - John is away - for several days as these men have their way with her house, her food stores, and almost, with her. It's a scary section which reveals her resolve and strength, even though she's obviously terrified - and terrorized by this group of men. It's not 'tell' by any means and stands out as it digs deep into Katharine, her fears and needs. She has children in the house to protect as well as servants and things could have turned out very different had she not asserted herself. Otherwise, an excellent novel of historical fiction, based on true events in the life of a fascinating woman. Four stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Katie

    I’m rating this book in two halves with the first half being 5 stars and the second being 3 stars, and I suspect that many people will feel the opposite! I was really eager to learn more about Katharine’s life before marrying Henry as I knew that she had been widowed before but didn’t know any more than that. While I understand Weir had to be more creative than historically accurate with this part due to the lack of material available, I enjoyed her approach and imagination (in the afterword she I’m rating this book in two halves with the first half being 5 stars and the second being 3 stars, and I suspect that many people will feel the opposite! I was really eager to learn more about Katharine’s life before marrying Henry as I knew that she had been widowed before but didn’t know any more than that. While I understand Weir had to be more creative than historically accurate with this part due to the lack of material available, I enjoyed her approach and imagination (in the afterword she mentions that she used other contemporary sources to influence what some of these characters “could have” been like to reflect the times). I think other readers might find this part of the book to be boring as it is quite long, but I also think it’s important to illustrate why the second half of the book is puzzling to me. It’s well-understood that Katharine wanted to marry Thomas Seymour and had to put that on hold due to Henry’s interest in her. I liked that Weir explored the theme of Katharine coming to terms with marrying Henry as her calling to help aid the cause of religious reform, something which becomes a clear arc for her character early on. As her dedication to reform ultimately lands her in a dangerous position with the King and the machinations of Gardiner, we see how clever she is deferring to Henry’s “superior intellect” in a move that likely saved her from being his next victim. It’s at this moment that we fully understand just how smart Katharine is. So it’s especially surprising following Henry’s death how quickly Katharine turns into a goggle-eyed teen over Seymour. While I’m sure there’s something to be said for being “blinded by love,” we see Seymour make so many bad decisions it’s difficult to reconcile Katharine’s acceptance of his selfishness and egomania. At the very end we see some of her anger come forward at the point it can no longer have any consequence. I would have liked to see more introspection, more difficult conversations between Katharine and Seymour, how his actions hurt her, if she felt she’d made a mistake in marrying him. It’s not difficult to assume that she may have felt this way given the point that she was at in her life: she was finally able to marry for love, is this what she expected? Given that she was so intelligent, it must have been hard to watch him make terrible choices, but in this book we see that she often agrees with them and feeds his jealousy. In the afterword Weir mentions that she hadn’t read about Katharine for almost 30 years and it made me wonder how this book might have been different if Katharine had maybe been her favorite of Henry’s wives. I’m sad that this series is over and I did enjoy reading this book even if I would have liked to see Katharine portrayed in a different way. Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy! See more of my reviews: Instagram

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    And so this ambitious, spectacularly-presented and immersive series of six books comes to an end with the last of Henry VIII's wives - the one that survived and also, on a personal note, the one I'm named after! I enjoyed this version of Katharine, although I'm not sure it fully captures her intellect. Alison Weir's treatment of Henry has intrigued me and that's even more the case with this book, which presents the end of his life. I just can't view him with the same rose-tinted glasses and that And so this ambitious, spectacularly-presented and immersive series of six books comes to an end with the last of Henry VIII's wives - the one that survived and also, on a personal note, the one I'm named after! I enjoyed this version of Katharine, although I'm not sure it fully captures her intellect. Alison Weir's treatment of Henry has intrigued me and that's even more the case with this book, which presents the end of his life. I just can't view him with the same rose-tinted glasses and that does cloud my view of the novel. Thomas Seymore is likewise a 'problematic' individual. But this is fun historical fiction, packed with fascinating details of Tudor life and its surroundings. It's hard to believe that the completion of this series means that six years have passed! I will really miss these books. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4. Review to follow shortly on For Winter Nights.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer N

    Alison Weir is an incredible historical fiction writer. She puts a lot of research into the time period and really makes the characters come alive. This is her last of the 6 wives series and it is a great finish. I didn't know much about Katherine Parr as she didn't seem as interesting as the one who survived Henry VIII. What I thought I knew turned out to be wrong. I thought she was married to really old men with her first marriages. In fact her first husband was a couple of years older but pos Alison Weir is an incredible historical fiction writer. She puts a lot of research into the time period and really makes the characters come alive. This is her last of the 6 wives series and it is a great finish. I didn't know much about Katherine Parr as she didn't seem as interesting as the one who survived Henry VIII. What I thought I knew turned out to be wrong. I thought she was married to really old men with her first marriages. In fact her first husband was a couple of years older but possibly homosexual and her 2nd husband was older but only by a decade and they were very happy. She was extremely well educated and intelligent. I still don't understand her infatuation with Thomas Seymour, especially with his shenanigans with Elizabeth.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kiara

    Four husbands is a lot - Katharine is a boss though.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laura Noboa

    I'd like to thank Net Galley for the ARC of Alison Weir's Katherine Parr, the Sixth Wife First it must be said that Alison Weir writes truly masterful historical fiction. She manages to bring the historical figures that she writes about to life without sacrificing historical accuracy and without venturing into the sphere of inaccessibility. Her latest work Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife concludes her six part series on the wives Henry VIII. In the famous rhyme about the six wives of Henry VIII ( I'd like to thank Net Galley for the ARC of Alison Weir's Katherine Parr, the Sixth Wife First it must be said that Alison Weir writes truly masterful historical fiction. She manages to bring the historical figures that she writes about to life without sacrificing historical accuracy and without venturing into the sphere of inaccessibility. Her latest work Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife concludes her six part series on the wives Henry VIII. In the famous rhyme about the six wives of Henry VIII ( Divorced, Beheaded, Died, Divorced, Beheaded, Survived) the titular character, Katharine Parr is the wife who survived her husband. Yet Katharine Parr deserves to be remembered as much more than just a survivor. This novel shows the she was a devoted mother, well-educated, a writer, and an advocate for religious reform in England. Weir's novel brings to light these multi-faceted parts of personality, that can be so easily forgotten in the shadow of Henry VIII's infamous reputation. In the novel, the reader follows Katharine from her life as minor noble in Tudor England to her eventual rise as Queen of Englands. This dramatic ascendency is all set against the tumultuous background of the English Reformation. In Weir's portrait of Katharine we are introduced to a woman who compassionate, intellectual gifted and utterly committed to her religious views. Weir's novel does a good job setting up the fact that in the wake of Henry VIII schism from the Catholic Church, there was still a lot of uncertainty about the way religion should be practiced. Through this novel we see that his breaking from the church was more than just a theological debate. It was more than just a political conflict, rather it had serious repercussion for both the English nobility and the common people who they governed. Given her extensive (for the period) education and natural intelligence, Katharine developed firm views on this matter and ultimately viewed her union with the aging Henry VII as way to maintain the theological integrity of the fledgling Church of England and bring spiritual peace to population that was ailing. She is, thus, another example of the many women throughout history who have put duty before personal happiness and comfort in order to service a higher goal . My criticisms of the novel are small and should by no means deter a future reader. First the cast of characters in expansive and at times it can get bit confusing if you are just reading casually. Sometimes it seems that characters just pop up and the recede into the background as swiftly as they were introduced. Beyond this, the pacing felt a bit slow in the first half of the book. It takes a while before Katharine gets to the Tudor court and overall I wish we could have seen more of time there. Finally just a point of curiosity, it would have been nice to see some epilogue space devoted to the fates of her daughter Mary and her final husband. Again these are minor quibbles, anyone who regularly reads works of Tudor historical fiction should be very satisfied with this novel.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Tracey Allen at Carpe Librum

    The Six Tudor Queens series by Alison Weir has finally come to an end with the release of Katharine Parr - The Sixth Wife. I've been following this historical fiction series since book two (Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession) and they've all been 5 star reading experiences. Each book is about the life of the queen in the title, and I was looking forward to Weir's representation of twice widowed Katharine Parr. The novel starts in 1517 when Katharine is just 5 years of age, and the excellent writing, The Six Tudor Queens series by Alison Weir has finally come to an end with the release of Katharine Parr - The Sixth Wife. I've been following this historical fiction series since book two (Anne Boleyn: A King's Obsession) and they've all been 5 star reading experiences. Each book is about the life of the queen in the title, and I was looking forward to Weir's representation of twice widowed Katharine Parr. The novel starts in 1517 when Katharine is just 5 years of age, and the excellent writing, research and storytelling in evidence throughout the series is definitely on show here. These historical figures are expertly brought to life, and I don't recall where I first heard it (it could have been from one of many Tudor inspired documentaries, movies, TV shows or books) but I enjoyed seeing this quote from King Henry VIII in the book: "He has no idea what I really think of him. That's my method, Kate. Play off one against the other. Divide and rule, and keep your hand close. Believe me, if I thought my cap knew what I was thinking, I would throw it in the fire!" Page 346 I enjoyed learning more about Katharine Parr, especially since the novel covers many of the same events as The Taming of the Queen by Philippa Gregory. Another favourite historical fiction author, In The Taming of the Queen, Gregory tells Kateryn (note different spelling) Parr's story in the first person. The fact that I read it when it was released back in 2015 provided enough distance to appreciate the similarities but also space to notice the differences between the two books. The painting that featured so prominently in Philippa Gregory's novel doesn't take up much time in this story and I can't help feeling a little disappointed by that; given how much I adore the portrait and the story behind it. The slightly different take on Katharine's religious leanings, her achievement in bringing King Henry VIII's children Prince Edward, Mary and Elizabeth to court and convincing the King to change the Act of Succession made for fascinating reading. The deplorable behaviour by Prince Edward's uncle after the death of Henry VIII was just as frustrating to read here as it must have been to endure, but I could relate to Katharine's internal struggle about whether to fight the fact that the King wanted her to be Regent or let it go and focus on her own happiness instead. Reading Katharine Parr - The Sixth Wife was a refresher on the scandals of the Tudor court, the political influences and of course the Reformation and changes in religious doctrine at the time. Weir takes us right up to Katharine Parr's death in 1548 from childbed fever at Sudely Castle. She was only 38 at the time of her death, and passed away just 1 year and 8 months after Henry VIII. As with the rest of the series, the passing of the main character at the end of the book was a very moving scene. I found myself doing a lot of Googling after the last page to remind myself how things ended for the other characters and to get a better sense of Sudeley Castle. It's an amazing castle and I'd love to visit there one day, but it was a shock to find out that historians disagree about what eventually became of Katharine's daughter with Thomas Seymour. Katharine Parr - The Sixth Wife by Alison Weir can easily be read as a stand alone and is recommended for historical fiction fans with an interest in the Tudor period. I'm sorry to have reached the end of this magnificent series, and the only thing left for me to do now is go back and read the first book, Katherine of Aragón: The True Queen. * Copy courtesy of Hachette Australia *

  20. 4 out of 5

    Helen

    This is the final book in Alison Weir’s Six Tudor Queens series retelling, in fictional form, the stories of the wives of Henry VIII. Katharine Parr, the subject of this sixth novel, has never interested me as much as some of the other wives, yet this book has turned out to be my favourite of the series, not just for what we learn about Katharine herself, but also for the depiction of the political and religious situation in England during the later stages of Henry’s reign. I have read other nove This is the final book in Alison Weir’s Six Tudor Queens series retelling, in fictional form, the stories of the wives of Henry VIII. Katharine Parr, the subject of this sixth novel, has never interested me as much as some of the other wives, yet this book has turned out to be my favourite of the series, not just for what we learn about Katharine herself, but also for the depiction of the political and religious situation in England during the later stages of Henry’s reign. I have read other novels about Katharine Parr, such as Elizabeth Fremantle’s Queen’s Gambit and Philippa Gregory’s The Taming of the Queen (interestingly, every author seems to choose a different spelling of her name!), but none of them go into as much depth and concentrate almost solely on her time as Henry’s wife and her relationship with Thomas Seymour. This book starts at the beginning, with Katharine’s childhood, and then takes us through her entire life, devoting plenty of time to her earlier two marriages, first to the young Edward Burgh and then to John Neville, Lord Latimer. I particularly enjoyed the section of the book where Katharine is married to Latimer; although it’s not a passionate romance, Katharine comes to love and trust her husband and they have a happy nine years together despite the religious turmoil going on around them (the uprising known as the Pilgrimage of Grace takes place during this period and provides one of the most exciting episodes in the novel). Although Lord Latimer remains faithful to the Catholic Church, Katharine becomes a supporter of religious reform. When Latimer dies in 1543 and the King, having recently had his fifth wife beheaded, asks her to marry him, Katharine reluctantly accepts, knowing that turning down his proposal would be very unwise and hoping that her influence at court can further the cause of the reformers. Over time she becomes quite fond of Henry, engaging in lively debates with him on the subject of religion, but there is always an undercurrent of danger and Katharine knows that if she is to avoid the fate of her predecessors, she can’t allow her sympathies for the new Protestant religion to become too obvious. Somehow, Katharine manages to survive and outlive the King, free at last to marry Thomas Seymour, the man she really loves…but their time together is tragically short and marred by Seymour’s inappropriate behaviour with the young Princess Elizabeth. I loved reading about Katharine’s life before she became Queen, as so much of this was new to me – and unlike the book on Anne of Cleves, where Weir admits that she invented a lot of Anne’s story, this one seems to be more grounded in historical fact. Once the novel moves on to her marriages to Henry VIII and Thomas Seymour, I was on more familiar ground and found these sections slightly less interesting to read – particularly as I have never liked Thomas Seymour and wished I could reach into the pages of the book and stop Katharine from marrying him! Something that has intrigued me throughout this series is the way in which Alison Weir has chosen to portray Henry VIII. She shows him in a much more positive light than usual, to the point where she almost seems to be absolving him of any responsibility for his actions, putting the blame on the people around him instead – Thomas Cromwell, Bishop Gardiner, even some of his victims such as poor Katheryn Howard. On the one hand, it’s interesting to see a more nuanced depiction of Henry, but on the other I’m not convinced that his wives would all have viewed him as favourably as these books suggest! Katharine Parr herself is portrayed as an intelligent, well-educated and compassionate woman; her previous marriages and experience of life have given her a maturity and common sense that some of Henry’s other wives lacked. She makes an effort to befriend her stepchildren and plays an important part in persuading Henry to restore his daughters Elizabeth and Mary to the line of succession. She gains the King’s trust and is named regent while he is away on a military campaign, as well as becoming the first queen to have books published in English under her own name. Katharine’s life is maybe not as dramatic as some of the other wives’, but because I liked her so much I was able to become fully invested in her story.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Meagan Houle

    I have loved every moment of this series, so I confess I took my time cracking open the final installment for fear it would all end too quickly. As with all other volumes before it, this book is full of politics, passion and rich historical detail. Her queen comes to life as so much more than a pawn in men's games. Too often, when I read about Henry's six wives, they are trotted out as tragic victims lacking agency or meaningful agendas of their own. Like the other queens in the series, Katherin I have loved every moment of this series, so I confess I took my time cracking open the final installment for fear it would all end too quickly. As with all other volumes before it, this book is full of politics, passion and rich historical detail. Her queen comes to life as so much more than a pawn in men's games. Too often, when I read about Henry's six wives, they are trotted out as tragic victims lacking agency or meaningful agendas of their own. Like the other queens in the series, Katherine's faith, intelligence, courage and tenacity are all here, in full colour. Weir is such a treasure and the only thing keeping me from despair is that she has so many other books with which I can occupy this new void in my life. If you're about to finish the series for yourself, take hart, because this book will not disappoint you.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ashley

    Wow! This book is amazing! Every single time I picked up "Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife", I was whisked back in time to the Tudor Era, and I was immersed in history that came to life right before my eyes. I absolutely love Alison Weir's book, both fiction and non-fiction. This novel is a part of her historical fiction series, "Six Tudor Queens", with each book focusing on one of Henry VIII's wives. Ms. Weir has such a beautiful way of telling history in such a way that grabs the reader's interes Wow! This book is amazing! Every single time I picked up "Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife", I was whisked back in time to the Tudor Era, and I was immersed in history that came to life right before my eyes. I absolutely love Alison Weir's book, both fiction and non-fiction. This novel is a part of her historical fiction series, "Six Tudor Queens", with each book focusing on one of Henry VIII's wives. Ms. Weir has such a beautiful way of telling history in such a way that grabs the reader's interest from the first page to the last. I could envision each and every moment, and Ms. Weir seamlessly blends history with fiction, and the result is this INCREDIBLE book! Katharine Parr was the sixth wife of Henry VIII, and what an intelligent, compassionate, brave, interesting, and kind woman she was. I really feel like I came to understand Katharine more as a person, as well as a deeper understanding of her life from reading this book. From earlier moments in her life, to her life and marriage with Henry VIII, to her marriage to Thomas Seymour, Katharine went through so much. To Henry VIII, she was a kind wife, and wonderful and loving step-mother to his children. She was able to navigate the politics of court life while remaining true to herself, and I can only imagine how she felt with the danger around every corner. I do not want to spoil anything in this review, so, I will simply say, this book is an absolute must-read! If you enjoy historical fiction and / or reading about the Tudor Era, I highly recommend this book! It kept me turning page after page and chapter after chapter, and I can't wait to see what Ms. Weir writes next! Thank you so much to Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine and NetGalley for the ARC of this book, it is incredible! All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Bookgrrl

    4.5 stars This is my first time reading a historical fiction novel about a real person that I actually have a decent amount of knowledge on. Where did I get that knowledge, you ask? Why, from The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir, of course. I used to read a lot more historical fiction than I do currently, but I was happy to get back to it with this book. Since I read history as well, I have a bad habit of picking apart the inaccurate details in most historical fiction’s. So where can I expe 4.5 stars This is my first time reading a historical fiction novel about a real person that I actually have a decent amount of knowledge on. Where did I get that knowledge, you ask? Why, from The Six Wives of Henry VIII by Alison Weir, of course. I used to read a lot more historical fiction than I do currently, but I was happy to get back to it with this book. Since I read history as well, I have a bad habit of picking apart the inaccurate details in most historical fiction’s. So where can I expect accuracy in abundance? Why, from a historian of course! Now I realize I can’t necessarily use the word “accurate“ for the dialogue, since a word for word transcript doesn’t exist. But it all read as very plausible to me. As I would expect from this author everything is very well written. While I have read quite a few of Weir’s history books, this is my first fiction from her, but will certainly not be my last. Thank you to NetGalley & Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine for this advanced reader copy. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    SaraFair

    Alison Weir has finished her latest writing project, a historical fiction account of each of Henry VIII’s wives. Each book relates the women’s birth to death and the latest, Katharine Parr: The Sixth Wife, gives quite a bit of insight of what led up to this choice for a final wife. The account of her life shows us where she got the strength to handle being Henry’s queen during a trying time for him and her reasoning for saying yes. Oh how I love reading how the Tudor era women spent their lives. Alison Weir has finished her latest writing project, a historical fiction account of each of Henry VIII’s wives. Each book relates the women’s birth to death and the latest, Katharine Parr: The Sixth Wife, gives quite a bit of insight of what led up to this choice for a final wife. The account of her life shows us where she got the strength to handle being Henry’s queen during a trying time for him and her reasoning for saying yes. Oh how I love reading how the Tudor era women spent their lives. The day to day issues of finding a suitable husband for daughters and securing a job at court are so interesting. In addition, Weir puts quite a lot of explanation on the evolution of Parr’s religious beliefs. Changing religious beliefs guide the Tudor era day to day. This reader appreciated much background on the times that strengthen Parr’s faith in the outlawed extreme Protestantism, and how her comments possibly change England via Henry. I highly recommend this fictional biography of Katherine Parr. I received a free ecopy of this book for an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lottie (The Disney Bookworm)

    I have been reading Alison Weir books since I was a teenager so imagine how much I fangirled when I was given the opportunity to read an advanced copy of her final book in the Tudor Queens series! To Netgalley and Headline, thank you, thank you, thank you! It is my opinion that Katharine Parr is often the most overlooked of Henry VIII's wives: indeed most novels focus only on her life after becoming Queen. That is why this novel from Alison Weir was simply brilliant. Weir introduces us to Kathari I have been reading Alison Weir books since I was a teenager so imagine how much I fangirled when I was given the opportunity to read an advanced copy of her final book in the Tudor Queens series! To Netgalley and Headline, thank you, thank you, thank you! It is my opinion that Katharine Parr is often the most overlooked of Henry VIII's wives: indeed most novels focus only on her life after becoming Queen. That is why this novel from Alison Weir was simply brilliant. Weir introduces us to Katharine Parr as a girl, constantly surrounded by family and, after losing her father at a young age, being brought up by her uncle, aunt and her mother who was an attendant to Queen Katharine of Aragon. The reader instantly falls in love with Katharine, an intelligent, caring child who is acutely aware of her eventual duty to her family but desperately wishes to remain in her carefree days with her siblings. As we know, Tudor girls married young and Weir explores each of Katharine's four marriages in great detail: combining historical fact and storytelling in the way that only she can. It struck me that, in three of Katharine's four marriages, she was used as a pawn, marrying for rank, power and connections as was the norm at the time. However, in every one of these marriages Katharine was able to find love; even when marrying an old overweight Henry, already famous for disposing of numerous wives. The writing during each of these marriages is rarely emotional: Katharine is a very rational and practical character, only showing real passion for religion. She is even super calm when she believes she is being investigated as a heretic! It isn't until Katharine's fourth and final marriage that she marries for herself and for love. The passionate relationship between Katharine and Tom Seymour seeps into the writing at this point: introducing jealousy and anger where there has previously been merely a stoic resolve. The fact that this novel spans the lifespan of Henry's marriages is fitting and really allows Weir to paint a picture of Tudor society throughout the religious reforms and upheavals associated with its monarch. No one who has read Alison Weir's books before will be surprised that this is yet another success. Together with Philippa Gregory, Weir is a Queen of historical fiction and this novel is only the latest jewel in her crown.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Katharine Parr: The Sixth Wife by Alison Weir is the latest amazing addition to her wonderful historical fiction series that covers each of the six wives of Henry VIII. This book did not disappoint. I have read every one of the books in this series, but of course it can be delightful as a stand alone. I have been a fan of Ms. Weir for many years, and her books always are a great addition to her full portfolio. As always, despite how much I previously have studied a particular historic figure or e Katharine Parr: The Sixth Wife by Alison Weir is the latest amazing addition to her wonderful historical fiction series that covers each of the six wives of Henry VIII. This book did not disappoint. I have read every one of the books in this series, but of course it can be delightful as a stand alone. I have been a fan of Ms. Weir for many years, and her books always are a great addition to her full portfolio. As always, despite how much I previously have studied a particular historic figure or event, Ms. Weir is able to give a fresh perspective, additional information, and is able to present it in a way to make it fluid, fascinating, and engaging. I loved reading even more about the last spouse of Henry VIII. It was clear it encompassed a significant amount of research and personal knowledge. I loved how it balanced perfectly between narrative and also a historic text. I enjoyed it so much, I wished it would have been able to continue to discuss even more of Katharine's life that followed. Nevertheless, I loved every moment of it and I highly recommend. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and Random House/Ballantine for this excellent arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Bargain Sleuth Book Reviews

    For this and other book reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com Many, many years ago I picked up some history books on various royalty including the Tudors written by Alison Weir, but I never got around to reading them. Recently I discovered that Weir also wrote historical novels about the wives of Henry VIII. Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife, is the final volume in the series. It goes on sale to the general public May 11. I received an ARC from NetGalley and Ballantine Books in exchange for an hones For this and other book reviews, visit www.bargain-sleuth.com Many, many years ago I picked up some history books on various royalty including the Tudors written by Alison Weir, but I never got around to reading them. Recently I discovered that Weir also wrote historical novels about the wives of Henry VIII. Katharine Parr, The Sixth Wife, is the final volume in the series. It goes on sale to the general public May 11. I received an ARC from NetGalley and Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it took me quite a while to get into the book. I knew nothing of Katharine Parr beyond the fact that she was Henry VIII’s last wife, and that she outlived him. The book begins when Katharine is a child, and as she comes of age, her marriage to a man in his early 20’s. The marriage was short-lived because her husband died. Then, she was married to a man who had teenagers and two wives buried. Her early life and marriages make up the first 40% of the book, and while many of the events were historically accurate I came to find out while listening to The Six Wives of Henry VIII on audiobook, also by Weir, I was pretty bored. It wasn’t until Katharine went to court and met Henry that things picked up for me. Katharine was really in love with Thomas Seymour, Jane Seymour’s older brother and uncle to Prince Edward, but once Henry sets his sights on her, she could not refuse him, choosing her sense of duty instead of love. And for the most part, Henry treated her well. Why he chose Katharine is a bit of a mystery, what with Henry obsessed with the line of succession and only having one son in a time when many children did not live to adulthood. And Katharine had no children in her previous two marriages, so the fact that she might not be able to have children must have crossed his mind. Yet Henry still chose her. Katharine was a closet Protestant, and a faction in Henry’s court suspected her of as much and attempted to have her arrested for heresy. But she knew it was coming and disposed of all her “heretical” books and advised those close to her to do the same. She threw herself at Henry’s mercy and for once in his life, he backed off and tore up the arrest papers. Henry trusted Katharine enough to declare her regent while he was off fighting the French, and relied upon her to be a good step-mother to his three children. Many historians believe that Katharine’s tutelage of young Elizabeth showed the princess how to behave when she became queen herself. Katharine proved to be a good step-mother to all three children, although Mary refused to speak to her after Henry died and Katharine married Thomas Seymour only four months later. Finally, with her fourth husband, Katharine got pregnant and delivered a healthy baby girl. But as with many women during centuries past, childbirth could be dangerous for a woman, and Katharine developed an infection and died twelve days later. While the first part of the book bored me, the second part was compelling. The fact that I was listening to the nonfiction book by Weir at the same time as reading this book helped me figure out which events were fabricated and which were historically accurate; surprisingly, most of the fictional story contains accurate information. I’ll have to pick up Weir’s other five books on Henry VIII’s queens at the library because overall, I did enjoy the book.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Malagisi

    A woman twice widowed with no children of her own has the opportunity to choose who she will marry next. Will she marry the man of her dreams or marry the man who has been married numerous times and has killed two of his wives already? It seems like a no-brainer who she should choose, but the man she married for her third marriage was the man who was married numerous times before simply because he is the notorious King Henry VIII and you do not disobey the king. However, his last wife, Katharine A woman twice widowed with no children of her own has the opportunity to choose who she will marry next. Will she marry the man of her dreams or marry the man who has been married numerous times and has killed two of his wives already? It seems like a no-brainer who she should choose, but the man she married for her third marriage was the man who was married numerous times before simply because he is the notorious King Henry VIII and you do not disobey the king. However, his last wife, Katharine Parr, is willing to fight for the religious reforms and her stepchildren that she loves dearly. In the last book of the Six Tudor Queens series, “Katharine Parr: The Sixth Wife”, Alison Weir takes her readers on an extraordinary journey to explore who this brave woman was and why she is the one who survived Henry’s last days. I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House/ Ballantine Books for sending me a copy of this novel. I have enjoyed the Six Tudor Queens series so far and I was looking forward to reading the last book. Like many people, I know what happened with Katharine during her marriage to Henry VIII and her fourth marriage to Thomas Seymour, but I am not well informed when it comes to her first two marriages. Katharine Parr has been my favorite wife of King Henry VIII for a while now and I wanted to read a novel about her life, to see what Weir’s interpretation of her life story would be like. Katharine Parr’s story begins with her childhood and her connection with her family. It was unique to see how her childhood helped shaped what type of queen she would become as her mother pushed hard for her daughters to be well educated. Katharine’s first husband, Sir Edward Burgh, was just a boy who followed whatever his father, Sir Thomas Burgh, asked him to do. I think Weir has a unique spin on Katharine’s life with Edward Burgh and their marriage, but it did not last long as Edward Burgh would die in 1533. Katharine’s second husband, John Neville 3rd Baron Latimer, was her longest marriage. Although they had no children of their own, like Katharine’s marriage to Edward Burgh, it was a happy relationship. They may have differed when it came to their views on religion, but they did seem to love each other. Their happy household was thrown asunder when the Pilgrimage of Grace and Robert Aske knocked on their door and asked for help. There was a real sense of danger during this episode and the bravery that Katharine showed was nothing short of astounding. When John died, Katharine was left with a choice of who her third husband would be; either the ailing Henry VIII or the suave and debonair Thomas Seymour who deeply loved Katharine. Katharine’s choice was Henry VIII who she hoped she could sway to accept the religious reforms that she believed in strongly. She developed a friendship with the king and his children, but she was still in love with Thomas Seymour. She wrote books during this time that gave her comfort during the difficult times when the court tried to attack her for what she believed and wanted to pit her against Henry. In the end, love triumphed over sorrow and Katharine survived to live with her beloved until the end of her days. I found this book an absolute treat to read. As someone who loves Katharine Parr and her story, this novel just made me love her even more. The one problem that I had was actually with the spelling of her name as Weir spelled it a bit differently than what I am used to, but it was really a minor detail. I am a bit sad that this is the last book in this wonderful series, but this book was worth the wait. This novel was a delight to read. It was full of action and intrigue, intense love, and immense sorrow. Katharine was one remarkable woman, just like every wife of Henry VIII Weir has written about in this marvelous series. “Katharine Parr: The Sixth Wife” by Alison Weir is a masterpiece in historical fiction and the perfect conclusion to the Six Tudor Queens series that will leave readers satisfied.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jaffareadstoo

    In Katharine Parr : The Sixth Wife, the author brings to life the character of this fiercely intelligent Queen, whose interest in the new religion would almost bring about her downfall. Katharine has already been widowed twice when she catches the eye of the King, and whilst her previous two marriages have brought her a modicum of contentment, and some security, Katharine has never experienced the giddy excitement of being in love. By a cruel quirk of fate she meets, Thomas Seymour, the man who In Katharine Parr : The Sixth Wife, the author brings to life the character of this fiercely intelligent Queen, whose interest in the new religion would almost bring about her downfall. Katharine has already been widowed twice when she catches the eye of the King, and whilst her previous two marriages have brought her a modicum of contentment, and some security, Katharine has never experienced the giddy excitement of being in love. By a cruel quirk of fate she meets, Thomas Seymour, the man who makes her heart beat faster just weeks before the King, entranced by Katharine's kind and caring nature, asks her to be his wife and, as it turns out, the last Queen Consort of Tudor England. Marriage to the irascible, and capricious, English King was no bed of roses but with Katharine's compassionate nature and her ability to bring out the best in people she set about creating a stable environment for Henry's children, and Katharine's ability to cajole and comfort the aging King was to her credit. However, the Tudor court is a fickle place and there are always shadowy people who seek to do harm. Beautifully written and impeccably researched this last book in this wonderful series is every bit as good as I knew it would be. Tudor England shines brightly and the complicated process of social climbing, with advantageous marriages being made, and broken, comes alive in the imagination. I especially enjoyed reading of Katharine's early years spent at Rye House with her aunt and uncle whilst her widowed mother made her way at the royal court, and of Katharine's subsequent ill-fated first marriage which took her into the north of England and set her on the path of destiny. Regardless of how her life ended there is something quite poignant about Katharine's short life, that, after three dutiful marriages of convenience, she eventually found a brief moment of happiness with a man of her own choosing. I'm really sad to see the conclusion of this wonderful series of Tudor Queen novels. Each book has been such an absolute joy to read and has brought one of Henry's six wives to life in a meaningful and very readable way. Each novel has been a fascinating insight into the lives of six very different women who lived their eventful and short lives in the full glare of Tudor politics.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Katya

    First off, it didn't actually take me two months to read this book. Well, it did, but only because I kept putting it down and taking a break to read something else - something faster-paced, more engaging. This is a brilliant book, but it's very dense, and while I remained invested in Katharine's story and intended to finish it, breaks were required. This is the first book I've read by Weir, so it's a little odd that I came in to her works at with the last Queen, Katharine Parr. (I was granted a First off, it didn't actually take me two months to read this book. Well, it did, but only because I kept putting it down and taking a break to read something else - something faster-paced, more engaging. This is a brilliant book, but it's very dense, and while I remained invested in Katharine's story and intended to finish it, breaks were required. This is the first book I've read by Weir, so it's a little odd that I came in to her works at with the last Queen, Katharine Parr. (I was granted a copy of the book by the publisher through NetGalley.) I'm far more familiar with the stories of Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn, so I knew little of Katharine's history going into it - I just knew that she was the Queen who survived her King. Weir has proven herself to be a master (or mistress, if you'd rather) of her craft, and this story is meticulously researched. This is, in part, what makes it so dense - Weir (mostly) faithfully chronicles Katharine's life from her childhood, through both of her earlier marriages, and into her Queenship. This isn't a book that highlights the juicy tidbits for drama, instead detailing all of the events and relationships that shaped Katharine into the woman, and Queen, that she was. It's not historical fiction meant to titillate, but to elucidate, written by and for an historian's mind. That being said, I did enjoy it. I wished it was faster-paced at times (and I love historical fiction, but the breadth and depth of information was too much for me at times) but will say that Weir does a masterful job at painting a complete portrait of the last of Henry's Queens. I felt like I understood Katharine, her motivations, her drive, and I liked her. She was kind, keenly intelligent, and an excellent stepmother to many, her death of childbed fever the greatest injustice. One thing that I personally found a bit of a detractor to my experience was the heavy presence of religion, as I'm not religious and don't enjoy reading or hearing about it - however, reform and the Protestant faith were great parts of Katharine's story and it would be remiss to downplay that part of her character. I'd recommend this book to those who are big historical fiction fans and aren't afraid of lots of detailed research.

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