Because she cannot refuse…
Kateryn Parr, a thirty-year-old widow in a secret affair with a new lover, has no choice when a man old enough to be her father who has buried four wives—King Henry VIII—commands her to marry him.
Kateryn has no doubt about the danger she faces: the previous queen lasted sixteen months, the one before barely half a year. But Henry adores his new bride and Kateryn’s trust in him grows as she unites the royal family, creates a radical study circle at the heart of the court, and rules the kingdom as Regent.
But is this enough to keep her safe? A leader of religious reform and the first woman to publish in English, Kateryn stands out as an independent woman with a mind of her own. But she cannot save the Protestants, under threat for their faith, and Henry’s dangerous gaze turns on her. The traditional churchmen and rivals for power accuse her of heresy—the punishment is death by fire and the king’s name is on the warrant…
From an author who has described all of Henry’s queens comes a deeply intimate portrayal of the last: a woman who longed for passion, power, and education at the court of a medieval killer.
Kateryn Parr was an amazing woman; in Philippa Gregory's latest book The Taming of the Queen her story is told in a narrative voice from the point of his proposal up until Henry's Death. In the author's note it is also described how Kateryn did live to marry her love Thomas and that she would eventually die trying to give birth to their child.
I love Philippa Gregory's book but this one is a favorite now by far. In it the voice of Kateryn speaks out passionately to the reader and it is almost moving to a point as you follow her on her journey of thinking that a woman's role is just being a wife and surviving to the realization in and of herself that she has the power to be able to write and study just as any man does specifically for her this
epiphany occurs when she is studying the Word of God.
Kateryn goes through hell and back trying to survive Henry the 8th and all his mind games; even to the point of him setting up a fake arrest to scare her into submission as if he hadn't already by that point; but Kateryn stays strong and survives the marriage with cunning and grace. She was a woman truly out of her time who I believe would have been a great writer if she'd been born in a period with more tolerance for women and their rights.
The characters were easily relatable in this book and I found myself cheering them on. In a way Kateryn can be an inspiration for women today. She survived an extremely abusive marriage, raising step-children, living in a royal court, and she did it all while still wanting to study and having a thirst for knowledge that I truly admire. She was also the first woman to publish a book in England.
Gregory knocked this one out of he ballpark for me and its a book I will most definitely keep on my shelf.