I don’t usually write book reviews on their own, but on the 8th last month, one of my favourite authors released another book. So, here is The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory review. This book can be found at the library (most likely it’s already reserved for the next few months) or it can be bought from amazon or even a local supermarket (I saw it in Asda and Tesco).
If you’ve read my monthly books roundups this year, you saw how smitten I am with Philippa’s books. I’ve read many of her books, as you can see at the end of the post.
Philippa said that this is the last Tudor book she will write. Her future projects will be just as exciting, I can’t wait to read them.
If you don’t know Philippa, she was born in Kenya and moved with her parents in UK. She studied here and has an PhD in History. Her first books were a trilogy, Wideacre. I read one of them and I plan to read the other two. The Other Boleyn Girl, a book about Anne Boleyn’s sister is now published globally and the book won the Parker Pen Novel of the Year award 2002 and the Romantic Times fictional biography award. It was adapted for the BBC as a single television drama. She lives in Yorkshire and has a small charity making wells in Gambia, called Gardens for the Gambia.
The book is divided into 3 books, the first one about Jane Grey, the second one about Katherine Grey and the last one about Mary Grey. Spoilers! (if you don’t already know their stories).
Jane’s story starts in 1550 and finishes in 1554, when she is executed by Queen Mary. I can’t say I felt a connection with Jane. I think she is accurately described, but it’s not a likeable character. She died for her faith, despite Mary offering her a few chances to become Catholic.
Katerine’s story begins in 1554, after Jane’s execution and unfolds over the next 10 years. I knew nothing about her and her other sister, so it was all new. When I started to read the book I thought Katerine will be my favourite as she loved animals so much. I liked her a lot and her story made me cry in the end. After getting married in secret to Edward Seymore, she was imprisoned in 1561, while pregnant, because Elizabeth didn’t agree with her marriage. Her husband was also imprisoned in the Tower. They spent a couple of years in the Tower and, with bribes, they were able to meet and they had another baby, another boy. I thought they will be released and rejoined and I hoped that again and again. Both of them were moved from the Tower in other places, but still a prison as such. Their eldest boy lived with his grandmother, Katerine lived with her second child, moving from one gaoler to another, for another five years. She died aged 27, without seeing her husband and her eldest child again. Her husband was released after her death, but wasn’t allowed to see his children. Both children would have been heirs to the crown, after Elizabeth’s death and she might have been scared of that.
Mary’s story, the last book, begins in 1563. She married in secret the Queen’s sergeant porter, Thomas Keyes. A few months after their wedding, Elizabeth found out about it and she, obviously, imprisoned both of them. They will not see each other again. After four years in Fleet Prison in London, Thomas was released and was allowed to move to Kent. He died 2 years later in 1571. Mary remained imprisoned for the next couple of years before being released. She bought a house in London and lived there for five more years until she died, aged 33. Unlike Katherine, her marriage wouldn’t have posed a threat to Elizabeth’s crown, but even so, she was separated and imprisoned. Mary was a “little person”, a dwarf in an age when beauty was considered a glimpse into the soul. This means she would have never been supported to get the throne. She should have been allowed to live her life with her husband even if they would have had children.
As she did with all her cousins, Elizabeth gave both Katherine and Mary lavish funerals. I loved this book, even though the stories were heartbreaking. I hope everybody that says Elizabeth I was one of the greatest monarchs England had will read this book. The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory is 5 out of 5 stars for me.
I mentioned before I’ve read all the books she wrote, The Cousins’ War and The Tudor Court series.
The first series is called The Cousins’ War. It is made up of 6 books, in order by timeline:
1. The Lady of the Rivers, the story of Jacquetta of Luxembourg, mother to Elizabeth Woodville
2. The White Queen, the story of Elizabeth Woodville
3. The Red Queen, the story of Margaret Beaufort
4. The Kingmaker’s Daughter, the story of Anne Neville.
All four books reviewed in March roundup – Books I read this month.
5. The White Princess, the story of Elizabeth of York
6. The King’s Curse, the story of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury
Both books reviewed in April roundup – Books I read and books I didn’t read.
The second series is called The Tudor Court. It is made up of 8 books, in order by timeline:
1. The Constant Princess, the story of Katherine of Aragon
2. Three Sisters, Three Queens, the story of Queen Margaret of Scotland, Queen Katherine of England and Queen Mary of France
Both reviewed in May roundup – 7 Books in May.
3. The Other Boleyn Girl, the story of Mary Boleyn
4. The Boleyn Inheritance, the story of Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard and Jane Rochford
5. The Taming of the Queen, the story of Kateryn Parr
Three books reviewed in June roundup – What I’ve been reading.
6. The Queen’s Fool, the story of Hannah, a fictional character as Queen Mary’s fool.
7. The Virgin’s Lover, the story of Elizabeth I, Robert Dudley and Amy Dudley
8. The Other Queen, the story of Mary Queen of Scots
Remaining books reviewed in July roundup – Books, more books.
Besides these books, I also read The Women of the Cousins’ War. The Duchess, The Queen and the King’s Mother by Philippa Gregory, David Baldwin & Michael Jones, last month. Review in Currently reading. It’s historical and not historical fiction. I enjoyed it a lot.