This book is about Henry VIII's last wife, Kateryn Parr. Again Mrs. Philippa Gregory does a superb job in telling us the story of yet another queen. Besides telling us about the life of Kateryn Parr as queen, Mrs. Gregory also reveals to us the tumultuous times of the first baby steps of the reformation in England. As a Christian, this book really helped give a great amount of insight of the Biblical battles happening during this time. The Church in England had separated from Rome, and the Bible had been translated into English.
It was refreshing to read about how much this queen contributed to learning and Biblical scholarship. She was an author in her own right and someone I really grew to love in this book. Her faith and the love she had for the Word of God gave me a renewed passion to study mine even more. A lot of people died to translate the Bible into English. Even she came close to losing her life over her love for the new faith.
Most of the history I knew on Kateryn Parr was after the death of King Henry, so for most of the book I kept waiting for King Henry to die and then read about the second part of her life. But I was very grateful that Mrs. Gregory focused mostly on Queen Kateryn during her reign because there is just so much about her that I didn't know.
The book also mentions the martyr Anne Askew. I had read about her before, and I was pleased to see her interact with Queen Kateryn and her ladies.
King Henry was a gluttonous monster and as always, Mrs. Gregory depicts and develops this character so well. I found myself hating him and then feeling sorry for him and then hating him again throughout the book.
Recommendations: I recommend this book to anyone who loves the idea of women learning, especially learning about God's Word. Also to the person who appreciates the Reformation and all the sacrifices made by both men and women for their faith. If you have read Philippa Gregory books before, you will not be let down with this book. It is gripping and it is suspenseful. Even though I knew Kateryn survived, the book still leaves you fearing for her death and rooting for her as she courageously faces the bully, King Henry, over and over again.
To the Christian: I have always loved the first of Henry's wives the most. But reading this book, I really have grown to love Kateryn. She is a fellow sister in the faith and was a true Reformer. In the book, she does struggle with adulterous thoughts, but that in itself is the beauty of her because there is an actual struggle. She doesn't let these thoughts overtake her though. She fights them with prayer. There is a love scene at the beginning of the book, but it is not long and it is not graphic. There are several love making flashbacks that she has, but they are not more than a sentence or so long. There is a somewhat long scene of King Henry abusing her that is graphic and quiet horrible. There is a recurring dream that Kateryn has that is pretty spooky and another dream describing the interrogation of Anne Askew that is also quite terrifying.
You can buy the book here.