The Sixth Wife

Divorced, beheaded, died. Divorced, beheaded, survived.

There, in a nutshell, are the fates of the six wives of Henry VIII. In Alison Weir’s Katharine Parr, the sixth wife we meet the lucky one who survived. This new release is the last in Weir’s six- volume series about Henry’s wives. I have read the other books in the series, which helps, but I wouldn’t say it’s absolutely essential.

91i9BgPItJLKatharine Parr was twice widowed and aged 30 when she wed Henry, giving her greater life experience than Henry’s other wives. Mindful of the fate of the previous five and harbouring a few secrets of her own, Katharine comes across as, well, careful. She is portrayed as intelligent, highly educated and a loving mother to her step-children, Henry’s three children by earlier marriages. (BTW, each of them went on to become monarch, first King Edward, then Queen Mary and lastly, and most spectacularly, Queen Elizabeth I.)

Besides being a writer of fiction, Alison Weir is also an historian. And it shows. Weir has vividly recreated the drama of the Tudor period. There’s Henry himself, enormously fat, ailing, capable of great kindness—and even greater wrath if crossed. Then there’s the glittering life at court, the intrigue as people compete for the King’s favour, the endless fighting over religion.

I would highly recommend this enjoyable and engrossing series by Alison Weir. Here in order are the five previous titles: