Title: The Sixth Wife
Author: Suzannah Dunn
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Historical Fiction
How I Read It: Paperback purchased by me
Synopsis: 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: I was really looking forward to this book, I had read another by this author earlier in the year and liked it quite a bit. And I liked this too, but it took me a bit of time to adjust to the viewpoint and way of speaking in this one.
The book is told from the viewpoint of Catherine of Suffolk, the last wife of Charles Brandon, who was a great friend to Henry VIII. Cathy, completely by coincidence, is a great friend of Katherine Parr, Henry’s sixth and final wife, and we pick up the story right after Kate marries Thomas Seymour, going through the last year or so of her life.
I think that’s the part I had a hard time with – I’d like to read a bit of a story about Kate’s time married to Henry in addition to the time afterwards. We see so much fiction about several of his earlier wives, and if I’m being honest, that’s the interesting part about Katherine Parr – that she was married to Henry.
Anyone who reads into the latter wives of Henry probably knows how Kate’s life goes…she’s married to Henry in his twilight, is nearly arrested, outlives him, marries Thomas Seymour, and dies shortly after giving birth to their child. This book kept me guessing as to how the author would factor Elizabeth I into this story, as she was allegedly involved in a somewhat scandal with Thomas, and it kept me on edge with wondering when that would come into play. Although I didn’t love the way it all came about, I have to admit that it was an interesting portrayal into the lives of this family for the short time they were together.
While I didn’t learn anything new from this book, I did enjoy the tale. After my initial adjustment to how it was written, I felt it was an entertaining telling of this story, and I really enjoyed having Cathy as our main character and reading from her point of view. I’m looking forward to reading more by this author!
Read this book if: You enjoy historical fiction about Katherine Parr. If you haven’t read anything about her before, you might want to pick something else up first, such as The Sixth Wife by Jean Plaidy.
My Rating: 3/5 – Two thumbs up, fine holiday fun!