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The Last Tudor

Review

The Last Tudor

“Learn you to die” is the advice that Jane Grey writes to her sister, Katherine. These words would turn out to be more prophetic than she ever imagined. After the death of King Edward VI, Jane is named queen in place of the dead king’s half-sister, Mary Tudor. Nine days later, Jane is dethroned and held prisoner in the Tower while Mary claims the English throne. Jane comes to accept her fate, saying goodbye to her family and all but sealing her destiny as the greatest English martyr of her time by going stoically to her death.

"True to her style, Philippa Gregory weaves a story that draws readers in and tugs at the heart, featuring characters who defy everyone’s expectations. She clearly loves the Tudor court; every detail is pristine, and the drama is spot on."

With the death of Queen Mary, her half-sister Elizabeth ascends the throne, once more bypassing the Grey line that does hold a valid claim to the throne. Katherine Grey may well be heir to the throne, but with Queen Elizabeth, who is a vengeful and difficult ruler, Katherine decides that she would rather look for love than play politics, hoping that Elizabeth will once more restore her family to the royal line once the court learns she is unable to produce an heir. What Katherine soon realizes is that Elizabeth will never allow her that simple happiness --- a husband and family will not be in her future --- unless, of course, she fights for them. She does find love, and when her secret marriage and the unplanned pregnancy she was unable to completely hide, become public knowledge, her freedom and the life she so carefully crafted in secret are gone. Elizabeth imprisons her in the Tower, just like her sister, Jane.

The youngest Grey sister, Mary, may be small but is far from feeble. She plays her part at court hoping that the queen will do as many others have and simply overlook her because of her size. She visits her sister, Katherine, in the Tower while fueling her determination to never be imprisoned by her paranoid cousin. While Mary vows to herself to do all she can to remain free and keep suspicion about her to a minimum, she follows very closely in her sister’s footsteps.

THE LAST TUDOR tells the stories of the last Tudor women who stand in line for the English throne but find themselves as far away as most commoners. A family trailed by scandal with a last name that carries very little honor among royals, the Greys have difficulty finding favor with anyone in their social circle. The lies they live to cover their true lives are sad yet incredibly devious --- a trait that certainly falls within the prescribed drama necessary for the Tudor court.

True to her style, Philippa Gregory weaves a story that draws readers in and tugs at the heart, featuring characters who defy everyone’s expectations. She clearly loves the Tudor court; every detail is pristine, and the drama is spot on. The sadness is followed by immense happiness, but in the midst of high drama, Gregory doesn’t let you down. She delivers every emotion so subtly that you’ll be crying even before the intensity of the scene hits you. Gregory is at her best in THE LAST TUDOR, a must-read for historical fiction enthusiasts and certainly for her countless fans.

Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski on August 15, 2017

The Last Tudor
by Philippa Gregory

  • Publication Date: August 8, 2017
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone
  • ISBN-10: 147675876X
  • ISBN-13: 9781476758763