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The Taming of the Queen
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The Taming of the Queen

3.8 14
by Philippa Gregory

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By the #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the Starz original series The White Queen, a riveting new Tudor tale featuring King Henry VIII’s sixth wife Kateryn Parr, the first English queen to publish under her own name.

Why would a woman marry a serial killer?

Because she cannot refuse…

Kateryn Parr, a


By the #1 New York Times bestselling author behind the Starz original series The White Queen, a riveting new Tudor tale featuring King Henry VIII’s sixth wife Kateryn Parr, the first English queen to publish under her own name.

Why would a woman marry a serial killer?

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.

Editorial Reviews

USA Today
"Our obsession with Henry and the Tudors continues unabated."
From the Publisher
“Gregory does her usual excellent job of ratcheting up the intrigue and suspense as another intelligent and strong-willed heroine fights for her life and her legacy.”—Booklist

“Who’s ever heard of Kateryn Parr? Henry VIII’s sixth wife was smart, independent—and managed to outlive him. In historical-fiction-queen Gregory’s latest, she’s unforgettable.”—People Magazine

“Full of vivid details and fraught with the constant tension of a court run by a madman, this novel will appeal most to historical fiction readers and those who enjoyed Wolf Hall. . . . Gregory beautifully builds the suspense.”Library Journal

Praise for The King's Curse:

“Infuses vitality into an oft-forgotten player in the aftermath of the War of the Roses—Margaret Poole, heiress to the defeated Plantagenet clan.”—Closer

“Margaret’s story is shocking, deeply moving and offers an alternative view on a much-told tale. Gregory is on form here; her depiction of Henry VIII’s transformation from indulged golden boy to sinister tyrant is perfectly pitched and seems more horrific still when we are made intimate witnesses to the devastation of Margaret’s family. . . . I defy anyone to remain dry-eyed as the story reaches its tragic denouement.”—The Sunday Express (UK)

“[A] gripping and detailed chronicle, with plenty of court intrigue and politics to spice up the action . . . . Highly recommended.” Library Journal (starred review)

“Nobody does dynastic history like Gregory.”—Booklist

"Gregory manages to keep us in suspense as to what will befall her characters....Under [her] spell, we keep hoping history won't repeat itself.”—Kirkus Reviews

"An illuminating portrait. . . Gregory moves confidently through a tangle of intrigue, revenge, and tyranny toward a shocking betrayal."—Publishers Weekly

"Loyalties are torn, paranoia festers and you can almost hear the bray of royal trumpets as the period springs to life. It’s a bloody irresistible read."—People

Praise for The White Princess:

"Bring on the blood, sex and tears! . . . You name it, it's all here."—USA Today

“This rich tapestry brings to vivid life the court of Henry and Elizabeth. Meticulously drawn characters with a seamless blending of historical fact and fiction combine in a page-turning epic of a story. Tudor-fiction fans can never get enough, and they will snap this one up.”—Library Journal (starred review)

"The White Princess features one of the more intriguing theories about the possible fate of the princes."—The Washington Post

Praise for Philippa Gregory:

“The queen of royal fiction.”—USA Today

Publishers Weekly
In this absorbing Tudor historical, Gregory (The White Queen) traces the relationship between Henry VIII and Kateryn Parr, his sixth wife, from the time of the king's marriage proposal in 1543 until his death four years later. Kateryn is a beauty: learned, kind, twice-widowed yet young enough to bear the sons crucial to securing the succession; she is also passionately in love with another. Her dutiful tolerance of Henry's bad breath, corpulence, ulcerous leg, and fumblings in bed make pitiable the personal cost of his proposal. Gregory balances Kateryn's sensual responses to royal life—the smell of her predecessor's furs, the king's sweat-drenched clothing—with the religious controversy that dominated the 1540s. Initially naive to court factions, Parr is guided by her sister and develops enormous satisfaction from scholarly examination of the Bible. Expressing her own Reformist views when pro-Catholic forces are ascendant, Kateryn risks the king's extreme displeasure and is "tamed" to save her life; the process bleaches the marriage of its satisfactions. Tracing Kateryn's path to intellectual independence requires more religious discussion than some readers will prefer, but Gregory's portrait of the complex, aging king and his sensual, scholarly bride will satisfy Tudor enthusiasts. (Aug.)
People ("Book of the Week")
"A fascinating history lesson, disguised as a novel, about a wily woman who survives lethal Tudor plots and outlasts a deadly king.”
Historical Novels Review
"This novel beautifully exemplifies [Kateryn Parr’s] accomplishments while portraying an honest and emotional woman learning to survive in a dangerous royal court.”
RT Book Review (top pick)
“Gregory manages to make history lively, fascinating and real, even as she puts her own twist on what readers believe they know. The impeccable research shows in every page, while her wonderfully realistic dialogue and remarkable characters come to life. Gregory is a historian with heart and wit who makes history accessible.”
Christ and Pop Culture
"Parr’s story speaks of resilience, of a spirit that cannot be squelched."
National Examiner
“The unforgettable, vivid story of Henry VIII’s last queen, Kateryn Parr…will have readers spellbound”
New York Daily News
"Gorgeous fun."
The Washington Post
"The White Princess features one of the more intriguing theories about the possible fate of the princes."
New York Post
"This wives’ tale takes on a new life under Gregory’s whimsical pen.”
People Magazine
"Loyalties are torn, paranoia festers and you can almost hear the bray of royal trumpets as the period springs to life. It’s a bloody irresistible read."
Library Journal
★ 07/01/2015
In her latest historical outing, Gregory (The White Queen) studies the final Tudor wife. Henry VIII has chosen his sixth and last bride, Kateryn Parr, and she is justifiably terrified at this prospect. There is no denying the king, even as her heart longs for her lover Thomas Seymour. Kateryn's family is of the reformed faith and wants her to promote their religious agenda to the king. Reluctant at first, she comes to embrace the Protestant faith in earnest. Subjected to Henry's dramatic mood swings, Kateryn quickly learns that she must tread carefully to stay safe and promote her cause. Things go smoothly for a period, but the capricious king decides that the old religion is best after all and Kateryn is now in danger of being arrested for heresy. As she fights for her life, she must compromise her newfound religious principles. VERDICT Full of vivid details and fraught with the constant tension of a court run by a madman, this novel will appeal most to historical fiction readers and those who enjoyed Wolf Hall. The end of the story is well known, but Gregory beautifully builds the suspense.—Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., TX
Kirkus Reviews
By pondering the mistakes of her predecessors, Kateryn Parr, sixth wife of King Henry VIII, manages to keep her head. Gregory, who has written extensively about the Tudors and other British dynasties, now turns her attention to the end of Henry's reign. The king, though grotesquely obese and suffering from gout and a suppurating leg wound, still fancies himself the warrior, huntsman, and seducer he was in his youth. Kateryn Parr, a widow at 31, is commanded shortly after her husband's death to come to court, where Henry immediately makes his matrimonial intentions clear. Although she loves Thomas Seymour, brother of the late Queen Jane, who died giving birth to Henry's heir, Prince Edward, Kateryn knows she has no choice but to marry Henry. As consort, Kateryn strives to avoid, by word or deed, any indication she is other than Henry's loving helpmeet. Although well-aware that none of his other wives had any control over his mercurial whims—not even best-beloved Jane, who died alone while Henry was off hunting—Kateryn is not planning on providing any ammunition to those who would see her replaced, like the love letter that led to Katherine Howard's execution or the arrogance that made Anne Boleyn a target. She concentrates on studying and promoting her pet projects, advocating for Scriptures in English and supporting the Protestant Reformation, while appearing never to overtly disagree with the growing faction hoping to restore papism. With a male heir in place, both Princess Mary and Princess Elizabeth are relegitimized thanks to Parr. However, she is warned, by Thomas and others, that if Henry wants her gone, no amount of discretion can save her life. Gregory puts readers at the scene with visceral details like the annoying sounds Henry makes while gorging himself and the smell of his never-healing leg that seeps into Kateryn's dreams. Although Kateryn's studiousness makes for some dull reading, the pace picks up as her intellect becomes her greatest liability.

Product Details

Publication date:
Plantagenet and Tudor Novels Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.70(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Philippa Gregory is the author of several bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. Her Cousins’ War novels are the basis for the critically acclaimed Starz miniseries The White Queen. She graduated from the University of Sussex and received a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, where she is a Regent. She holds an honorary degree from Teesside University, and is a fellow of the Universities of Sussex and Cardiff. She welcomes visitors to her website, PhilippaGregory.com.

Brief Biography

Yorkshire, England
Date of Birth:
January 9, 1954
Place of Birth:
Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa
B.A. in history, Sussex University, 1982; Ph.D., 18th-century popular fiction, Edinburgh, 1984

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The Taming of the Queen 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Greggory exacts vindictive revenge on Henry, wife killer extrodinaire, by describing every last belch, eating noise, and odor. He was always crazily capricious in her novels, but now he just plain gross. Katherine Parr isn't a fascinating Anne Boleyn, but it is easy to empathize with her precarious position. Greggory, as always, makes you take a step back into history with her attention to detail. However, it is not as compelling as some of her other novels. Very readable nontheless. 3.5 stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fan of Phillipa Gregory, but the emphasis on church reform in this book is too pervasive and did not hold my interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As all the books in the Tudor series are very well written. However, The Other Boelyn Girl remains my favorite.
Anonymous 5 months ago
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DianaH-Maine More than 1 year ago
Philippa Gregory’s, THE TAMING OF THE QUEEN, was somewhat painful to read. How would any of us react to life under a tyrannical king such as Henry VIII, let alone be married to him? Kateryn Parr was Henry’s 6th wife and barely survived the court’s plots and counterplots, Henry’s murderous tendencies and egomania and mental illnesses. Kateryn was very scholarly and dared to write “original material in English for publication and put her own name on the title page.” She served as regent for a time when Henry went to war in France and she was very motherly to Henry’s three (largely) ignored children. Ms. Gregory’s writing is excellent. Her research is excellent. The book includes an author’s note and an extensive bibliography. There is also a ‘reading group’ guide. Ms. Gregory has opened up a whole new world of historical fiction with her ‘Cousins’ War’ and ‘Tudor Court’ series. I am a big fan.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I usually love Philippa Gregory books but this one really plods along. Very slow read and somewhat repetitive. Glad I got this through library instead of purchased....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
MsDollie More than 1 year ago
This was the most fascinating book ... I found it suspenseful even though I know the stories of all of Henry VIII's wives. King Henry is depicted with all his character flaws. I was left with no doubt that he was evil in his very core and that Katherine Parr was incredibly lucky to have survived him. Her terror as she dealt with his murderous intentions was end of my seat real. Philippa Gregory never disappoints.
MerryWifeofWindsor More than 1 year ago
The thirty-one-year-old Kateryn Parr is recently the widow of John Neville, 3rd Baron Latimer and she has come to the royal court. While there, she happens to catch the eye of the rather old and ailing corpulent King Henry VIII. When she is approached by the king with a proposal of marriage, Kateryn is very much taken aback and doesn't really quite know what to say. Deep down, she is absolutely disgusted at the prospect of being the wife to such a man, a personage who has gone through five queens. Kateryn steels herself as she assents to marrying the king, delivering a pretty speech with such shrewd, clever words. When she ascends to the title of Queen of England, she has to walk on eggshells around her husband, careful to use every word with such cautious precision. She has seen many a queen fall from the grace of Henry and, she reminds herself of what happened to Katherine Howard. Even though displeased with marrying the king, she throws herself entirely into this new marriage. Her ailing husband seems to strive to recapture the glory of his youth and the early years of his reign, when all was well. Kateryn witnesses as Henry toys with his subjects, who all seem to curry for his favor, pitting them against each other. While she finds some revulsion in it, she begins to understand the way that her new husband acts and why he does what he does. Kateryn is a forward-thinking woman and she is not only the wisest character in the story, but she is even a writer. She favors total reform and glories in the idea of the English people reading the Bible in their native language, rather than the Latin mumbo-jumbo that has prevailed for centuries. She even keeps company with the infamous Anne Askew, a woman who claims to be a preacher and who reads the Bible in English, a dangerous thing for that time. While she is careful to watch her words and to throw herself into something that is altogether positive, Kateryn knows full well that she needs to tip-toe on egg shells around her tempestuous husband. If she displeases him, she could follow her predecessor to the block. Before picking up a Philippa Gregory book, I know that I will be treated to a visual delight and step back into an earlier time. That is exactly how I felt with “The Taming of the Queen”. From the beginning, I found myself positively adoring the character of Kateryn Parr and pitying her for having to marry such a man. The author did a fantastic job of explaining what a woman in the sixteenth century had to face, especially being married to a king who seemed to think of himself above all else. From the description of the horrid stench of Henry's leg to his flatulence to the fact that he wanted to make love to her made my stomach churn. All in all, it was a fantastic read. I enjoyed the descriptions of the religious unrest and the different factions fighting for favor with the king. I think my favorite scene was the sea battle with the French fleet and how the Mary Rose sank. Gregory fleshed everything in such compelling terms that made me feel like I was there. I felt like I stood on the battlements with Kateryn and watched it with my own two eyes. What was interesting was the mention of the Mary Rose and it reminded me of “The Other Boleyn Girl” when Henry named the ship after Mary Boleyn. I imagined it to be a sort of homage. Great read and what a compelling Kateryn Parr — the name even reflected historical accuracy. ** www.MerryWifeofWindsor.com **
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