Book Review: Queen’s Gambit (Paperback)
by Elizabeth Fremantle
Eye reading, 13 days
I picked up this book in a closing sale at WH Smith for about £3! I’m always looking for a bargain and this book certainly seemed to be that! This is another era of history I have been interested in from afar but never studied myself.
Another piece of historical fiction, this book follows the story of the 6th wife of Henry VIII, Katherine Parr. This book is seen from two perspectives, that of Katherine Parr and of her servant, Dot, which has been used to give a wider perspective for the story. However, it isn’t from a first person perspective and I found it quite difficult and frustrating at times to work out who was actually narrating the story. Was it Katherine, Dot or Elizabeth Fremantle looking in on their minds as a third-party? It felt quite clumsy to me as I struggled to work out whose mind I was in.
Unlike my previous review of Red Rose, White Rose, I found it difficult to warm to the characters as I found the writing style difficult. I found any sexual references within the book, especially from Dot’s perspective, very uncomfortable. Not that it was explicit but it was all third person and seemed awkward rather than anything else. I feel it could have been done in a better way without sounding as though it was my grandmother explaining to me the birds and the bees with a very red, embarrassed face. It doesn’t need to be 50 Shades of Grey to give readers an impression of what is meant either.
I did feel that I learnt a bit more about what was going on at the time though. I knew bits about Henry VIII and his wives and his move away from the Vatican and Catholicism. I knew very little of the politics at the time, so the book opened my eyes in that sense. It’s sparked my interest in the era more so than before based on the historical fact rather than historical fiction.
I felt the book was average and haven’t felt the need to recommend it to family or friends. I think if there was less confusion over the narration it would have been a very good read. It is part of a series, but I’m afraid I won’t be looking to pick up any of the rest of the books.