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Catherine Parr: Henry VIII's Last Love Paperback – Illustrated, 21 Jan 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press; Reprint edition (21 Jan. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752448536
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752448534
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 866,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"Catherine blossoms before our eyes and so does this book . . . beautifully written." --"The Spectator"

About the Author

Susan James has written numerous articles on the Parr family, including Catherine's entry in the "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography." Her other books include "Kateryn Parr: The Making of a Queen." She lives in California.


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
For a long time this is the first proper biography on Katherine Parr. Of course she features in all of the works on Henry VIII, Edward VI, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth but very often it only covers the parts of her life after she had become a member of the Royal Family.

Susan James's work on Queen Katherine gives a full picture of Katherine's life. The parts related to the life before her marriage to the King are most interesting and already shed a lot of light on Katherine Parr. Her relationship with her mother Maud and her mother's example how to manage as a widow her own life, her family and her estate and her valuing education for females is quite revealing. The same applies to her relationship with her sister and brother. Susan James corrects the strangely often repeated notion that Katherine married the 2nd Baron Borough of Gainsborough while in reality she was married to his son and heir who happened to carry the same first name. Her second marriage to the 3rd Baron Latimer seems to be a dry run for the marriage with the king: she married an older, sickly man of higher social standing and got two step children which were becoming quite close to her. The marriage to the king seems to be a repeat of this situation. But Katherine as Queen managed to fulfil her role in an excellent way. She was made even regent during the King's absence. She seemed to have liked the power.

Susan James puts Katherine in perspective of the role of woman at the time, deals with aspects of education for females, covers Katherine's role to foster these, her own achievements and of course with her political and religious importance.
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Format: Paperback
This is an interesting book. Catherine Parr reminds me a bit of Anne Boleyn, but there hasn't been much written about her. Martienssen's book on her is good too, but this is more up to date. I read the first version of this, which I think is called Kateryn Parr. It was good, but had as much about Catherine's brother and sister-in-law as about Catherine. I liked that because I'm interested in Edward VI's reign, and the Marquess and Marchioness of Northampton were interesting. However, this is a much tighter story, focusing fully on the queen. If you're interested in Henry VIII's wives, or independent and intelligent sixteenth-century women, I'd recommend this.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an impressive biography of Catherine Parr that really rewrites a lot of what is written about her in older "six wives" books. The Catherine we see here is not the "Nurse-Queen" that is so often depicted on those who base their research mostly on Agnes Strickland as a source.

The lady we see here is someone who grew up in a house dominated by a strong woman and who survived the wilds of the north and the revolt of the pilgrimage of Grace and who never forsake an early love of learning instilled by her mother.

Catherine's nearly 4 years as Queen is particularly well covered and I felt I learnt a lot about her from this book. The Catherine you read about here is a complex woman who for someone who did not grow up at the court managed to fulfill her role as Queen to an extent that she impressed both local doubters and foreign diplomats. Of course her sudden rise and religious beliefs gave her enemies and the well known plot against here is covered well here.

For anyone interested in Tudor history I highly recommend this biography. It's well written and well researched and easy to read. You'll come away with a better appreciation of Catherine and her world for reading this.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating insight into the life of a woman who played a much bigger part in English history than she's often given credit for. Well written, interesting, informative and easy to read. I'm enjoying this book.
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Format: Paperback
I came to this book before the Philippa Gregory Taming of The Queen came out as I wanted an easy to read biography of Parr and that's certainly not what I got! The biography in general is well constructed and very fully evidenced and argued. It sets Parr in the socio-political context of the day and of her familial environment. James tries not to fall into the trap of taking anecdotal contemporary 'evidence' at face value and is very good at finding valid and well supported arguments that provide an alternative and perhaps more balanced account of events. It gives a well researched and comprehensive background to the often sketchy and pale impressions of the last of Henry's Queens. James shows a good understanding of human frailties and inconsistencies and gives life to her main protagonists. The reason for the lack of a 5th star is partly James' fault. Her research and conveying of the religious tracts and beliefs of the Queen are interesting for a while, but after sooooo many pages of it I almost gave up and skipped chapters. I didn't. But she nearly lost me for a while.Such detail was not necessary unless you were studying for a thesis on her levels of involvement or James' right to call her the first Protestant Queen. Parr's credentials as a well educated woman writing in such an institutionally and socially misogynist time, and about religion and relationships with God no less, could have been effectively dealt with without such length and detail. The second reason for the lack of fifth star is the production of the book itself. The illustrations are poor and almost pointless, particularly galling considering James' repeated assertions about Parr's interest in and patronising of portraiture. But the actual print of the text is ridiculous! I read a lot of historical texts as well as novels etc.Read more ›
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