Queen's Gambit

A Novel

Queen's Gambit

Widowed for the second time at age thirty-one Katherine Parr falls deeply for the dashing courtier Thomas Seymour and hopes at last to marry for love. However, obliged to return to court, she attracts the attentions of the ailing, egotistical, and dangerously powerful Henry VIII, who dispatches his love rival, Seymour, to the Continent. No one is in a position to refuse a royal proposal so, haunted by the fates of his previous wives—two executions, two annulments, one death in childbirth—Katherine must wed Henry and become his sixth queen.

Katherine has to employ all her instincts to navigate the treachery of the court, drawing a tight circle of women around her, including her stepdaughter, Meg, traumatized by events from their past that are shrouded in secrecy, and their loyal servant Dot, who knows and sees more than she understands. With the Catholic faction on the rise once more, reformers being burned for heresy, and those close to the king vying for position, Katherine’s survival seems unlikely. Yet as she treads the razor’s edge of court intrigue, she never quite gives up on love.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • ISBN 9781442363397 | 
  • August 2013
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Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Queen’s Gambit includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Elizabeth Fremantle. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


This brilliant work of historical fiction brings to life the remarkable story of Katherine Parr, Henry VIII’s sixth and final wife. Widowed for the second time at age thirty-one, Katherine Parr reluctantly returns to the court of Henry VIII, where she finds herself falling deeply in love with the dashing courtier Thomas Seymour. She believes she might finally be able to marry for love, but, captivated by Katherine’s honesty and intelligence, Henry Tudor has other plans. When Henry Tudor proposes marriage, Katherine has no choice but to become his wife. Katherine must draw upon her instincts to navigate the treachery of the Tudor court. Yet, even as she treads the razor’s edge of court intrigue, she never quite gives up on love.

Topics & Questions for Discussion

1. Elizabeth Wilhide has praised Queen’s Gambit, saying, “Fremantle…sheds an intriguing new light on Katherine Parr, one of history’s great survivors.” Aside from survivi see more

More Books from this Author

Sisters of Treason
Watch the Lady

About the Author

Elizabeth Fremantle
Photograph by Paola Pieroni

Elizabeth Fremantle

Elizabeth Fremantle is the author of Sisters of Treason, Queen’s Gambit, and Watch the Lady, and has contributed to Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, The Sunday Times (London), and other publications. She has also reviewed fiction for The Sunday Express. She lives in London, England.