Sunday, January 24, 2016
"The Taming of the Queen", by Philippa Gregory
“The Taming of the Queen” is set in the 1540's, and takes as its heroine and narrator Katherine Parr, the sixth and surviving wife of Henry VIII. It is an elaborately embellished political novel as well as a compelling historical fiction about a surprisingly unfamiliar period of Tudor history. It also provides an overwhelming sense of the sheer terror that comes with living under a capricious tyrant—especially if you’re married to him. This book is breathtakingly intimate portrait of the first woman to publish work under her own name in English.
Miss Gregory makes history lively, fascinating and real. Of course the story is told with some twists and enhancements to makes history accessible. At the end of the book the author explains what is known and what the fruit of her imagination is. Although a bit repetitive, this is nevertheless a solid book with more steamy and graphic scenes than usual. The characterization is good. The players shine in all their glory even the ridiculousness of the king’s games and the foolishness of Will Somers, the king’s fool. Katherine survived by using her wits and submitting to Henry’s caprices and we are taken through this scene by scene in a pleasant retelling tale. The novel is also rich in the extravagance of the Tudor Court including its exotic feasting, its clothing, its furnishings etc.
“The Taming of a Queen” is a captivating book that works well both as a standalone historical fiction and as a continuation of the Tudor Court series.