Katharine Parr, the Sixth Wife

Ballantine. (Six Tudor Queens). May 2021. 544p. ISBN 9781101966631. $28.99. F
Tudor historian Weir concludes her popular series of novels about each of Henry VIII’s wives with this title (following Katheryn Howard: The Scandalous Queen), which tells the story of the wife who outlived her notorious husband. Katharine is a wealthy widow looking to finally marry for love after two prior marriages dictated by duty, when she unfortunately catches the king’s eye. Though she’s disappointed she won’t be able to marry the man she truly loves, she becomes determined to use the opportunity to sway Henry for the religious reforms she favors. Then a dangerous endeavor puts her at risk of being the third of Henry’s wives to meet an untimely end by the executioner’s blade. As with the earlier books in Weir’s series, the major draw here for Tudor fans will be the detailed account of Katharine’s life outside of her marriage to Henry—territory that will likely be unfamiliar to most readers.
VERDICT Weir creates a believable portrait of a savvy woman able to hold her own despite often having her life shaped by forces outside her control. A solid choice for Tudor enthusiasts looking for a well-researched, entertaining novel.
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