Monday, 3 March 2014

Book Review: The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn

Clever, level-headed Katherine Parr has suffered through four years of marriage to the aging and irascible King Henry VIII—and she has survived, unlike the five wives who came before her. But less than a year after the old king's death, her heart is won by the dashing Thomas Seymour, and their hasty union undoes a lifetime of prudent caution.
An unwilling witness to the queen's late-blossoming love, Catherine, Duchess of Suffolk, harbors nagging suspicions of Kate's handsome and ambitious new husband. But as Catherine is drawn deeper into the web of politics ensnaring her oldest friend, it gradually becomes clear that she has her own dark tale to tell. For though Thomas might betray his wife for power, Catherine might betray her for passion, risking everything she has in a world where love is a luxury not even royalty can easily afford.

My Review:
Don't be fooled into thinking that this book focuses on Katherine Parr and her thoughts and feelings or is one of the author's split storytelling plots between Katherine and her best friend the Duchess of Suffolk. This is the story of the Duchess and a fictional affair between her and Katherine's husband Thomas Seymour, so the Duchess and her affair are the main focus of the book with Katherine in a supporting role.

Firstly, I was actually quite pleased to see a novel of Katherine Parr after Henry's death which doesn't just follow the same path accepted dangerous liason between Seymour and Elizabeth. I liked the introduction of this fictional affair between Charles Brandon's widow and her friend's dashing husband. Yes it is purely fictional and a lot of readers don't like authors moving away from accepted fact but I felt that this gave a fresh look at Katherine Parr's dubious relationship with Seymour, instead of just the same old story again.

It was written much better than the previous novels I have read by this author, perhaps because the Duchess was an interesting and outspoken character in real life as well as fiction. I liked the twist of Katherine seeing her husband kiss someone in the dark not knowing it was her best friend, only for the Duchess to blame Elizabeth causing her to be sent away in disgrace. This was a good plot twist, having the cheating adults ruin Katherine's relationship with her stepdaughter and ruin Elizabeth's reputation. And for those of you who like sex in your Tudor novels, this book has it.

This was a decent read and if you don't mind a plot deviation from fact to pur fiction, you might enjoy this one.
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png

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