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The Last Tudor

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The latest novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory features one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen. Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days. Her father and his allies crowned her instead of the dead king’s half sister Mary Tudor, who quickly mustered an army, claimed he The latest novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory features one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen. Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days. Her father and his allies crowned her instead of the dead king’s half sister Mary Tudor, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her throne, and locked Jane in the Tower of London. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner’s block, where Jane transformed her father’s greedy power grab into tragic martyrdom. “Learn you to die,” was the advice Jane wrote to her younger sister Katherine, who has no intention of dying. She intends to enjoy her beauty and her youth and fall in love. But she is heir to the insecure and infertile Queen Mary and then to her half sister, Queen Elizabeth, who will never allow Katherine to marry and produce a Tudor son. When Katherine’s pregnancy betrays her secret marriage, she faces imprisonment in the Tower, only yards from her sister’s scaffold. “Farewell, my sister,” writes Katherine to the youngest Grey sister, Mary. A beautiful dwarf, disregarded by the court, Mary keeps family secrets, especially her own, while avoiding Elizabeth’s suspicious glare. After seeing her sisters defy their queens, Mary is acutely aware of her own danger but determined to command her own life. What will happen when the last Tudor defies her ruthless and unforgiving Queen Elizabeth?


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The latest novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory features one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen. Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days. Her father and his allies crowned her instead of the dead king’s half sister Mary Tudor, who quickly mustered an army, claimed he The latest novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory features one of the most famous girls in history, Lady Jane Grey, and her two sisters, each of whom dared to defy her queen. Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days. Her father and his allies crowned her instead of the dead king’s half sister Mary Tudor, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her throne, and locked Jane in the Tower of London. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner’s block, where Jane transformed her father’s greedy power grab into tragic martyrdom. “Learn you to die,” was the advice Jane wrote to her younger sister Katherine, who has no intention of dying. She intends to enjoy her beauty and her youth and fall in love. But she is heir to the insecure and infertile Queen Mary and then to her half sister, Queen Elizabeth, who will never allow Katherine to marry and produce a Tudor son. When Katherine’s pregnancy betrays her secret marriage, she faces imprisonment in the Tower, only yards from her sister’s scaffold. “Farewell, my sister,” writes Katherine to the youngest Grey sister, Mary. A beautiful dwarf, disregarded by the court, Mary keeps family secrets, especially her own, while avoiding Elizabeth’s suspicious glare. After seeing her sisters defy their queens, Mary is acutely aware of her own danger but determined to command her own life. What will happen when the last Tudor defies her ruthless and unforgiving Queen Elizabeth?

30 review for The Last Tudor

  1. 4 out of 5

    Iset

    Philippa Gregory’s latest book is as good as a play… if you like fantastical parodies. If you want to read a well-written novel about the Greys, I recommend Susan Higginbotham’s Her Highness, the Traitor instead. Here we are again. Another year, another Philippa Gregory release; and many of the same failings and criticisms still apply. As You Know Bob I’m afraid this year the As You Know Bobbing is off the charts. For the uninitiated, As You Know Bob refers to a mark of poor writing where the autho Philippa Gregory’s latest book is as good as a play… if you like fantastical parodies. If you want to read a well-written novel about the Greys, I recommend Susan Higginbotham’s Her Highness, the Traitor instead. Here we are again. Another year, another Philippa Gregory release; and many of the same failings and criticisms still apply. As You Know Bob I’m afraid this year the As You Know Bobbing is off the charts. For the uninitiated, As You Know Bob refers to a mark of poor writing where the author attempts to convey information to the audience by means of character narration or dialogue telling each other things they already ought to know perfectly well. It usually results in clunky, awkward sentences in which the blindingly obvious is stated for no apparent plot reason. It’s fair to say this is a consistent hallmark of Gregory’s writing, and it sticks out like a sore thumb. Not only that but it makes it feel as though the reader is being talked down to, or as if the author believes the reader has a limited attention span. In The Last Tudor, its usage is at the worst I have ever seen in Gregory’s novels. 11%: “Elizabeth Parr comes in too and stands beside her husband the Marquess of Northampton” 11%: “Jane, the king my cousin is dead” 17%: “Your mother-in-law went to Queen Mary... Lady Dudley the duchess went to Queen Mary; but the queen would not even admit her.” 28%: “The widower Henry FitzAlan the Earl of Arundel owns the palace and remembers his duty to the family of his first wife, my aunt, and brings me forward in all the entertainments he has laid on for the court.” 29%: “Here is my friend Janey Seymour’s brother come to fetch me to her. Your Excellency must excuse me” 61%: “‘Everyone knows it is a lie,’ his father, my husband, says.” 69%: “They know that my sister and her two boys are the next heirs to the throne... I am her cousin, I am the daughter of a princess of the blood.” 72%: “My God! And that is my uncle John. John Grey, who was keeping my sister!” 73%: “The boy my pretty kinsman Henry Stuart” followed mere paragraphs later by: 73%: “Elizabeth beckons to Henry Stuart Lord Darnley, a fair-headed boy as beautiful as a girl. He is a cousin of mine, since he is the son of Lady Margaret Douglas, but I can’t say we share much family feeling.” Terry Pratchett once said the fantasy version of As You Know Bob is: ‘As you know, your father, the king’. I vote we make the historical fiction version: ‘Jane, the king my cousin is dead’. No one in real life talks this way. I can’t imagine describing my cousin as “the man my handsome kinsman John Smith”. This sort of sentence construction sounds incredibly juvenile. It gives me flashbacks to classrooms when I was five years old: “Auntie waves to John. John is my cousin. He is my aunt’s son. John is my Auntie Sarah’s son and my cousin. John’s full name is John William James Smith of 10 Station Road. Auntie lives at 10 Station Road with John.” It is gratingly repetitive and the tedium of it, by the end of the book, honestly wore me down. It’s enough to drive a person to teeth-grinding. For the sake of my sanity, please, stop. Put a dramatis personae in at the front if you have to, just make the As You Know Bobbing stop. Unlikeable Protagonists I found all three of the protagonists – the Grey sisters, Jane, Katherine, and Mary – to be exceedingly unlikeable. Jane was an arrogant prig, always putting down those around her; even her own sisters. Katherine was judgmental, egotistical, and selfish, to the point where she thinks that everything Queen Elizabeth I ever did is all, in some roundabout way, deliberately designed to be malicious to her personally. I actually began to suspect her character was a paranoid narcissist. Mary, to be fair, a lot of Mary’s narrative gives a rather dry and dull recounting of factual events in an effort to speed the timeline along and get to the end of the story, but her voice was indistinguishable from Katherine’s in its spite and selfishness. I didn’t like any of these women, and yet I get the feeling I was supposed to empathise with and root for them. Why didn’t I believe their assertions? For one, several of the episodes and accusations they hurl are completely fabricated. Two, their relentless determination to condemn at every single turn and make everything about them – that screams biased narrator to me. If anyone came off in this novel as malicious and venal, it was the three Grey sisters. Katherine Grey even begrudges Elizabeth’s recovery from the terrible disease of smallpox, and says she’s not sorry that Mary Dudley (one of Elizabeth’s ladies in waiting) almost died from it too and lost her beauty as a result. Reason? Mary Dudley escorted Jane Grey to Syon where she was proclaimed queen. Wow, what a bitch that Mary Dudley is! She accompanied Jane to the announcement proclaiming her as queen; an act surely deserving of death and the ruin of her looks! Historical Inaccuracy This is seemingly a standard feature of Gregory’s novels, and The Last Tudor is peppered heavily with misunderstandings of the lives and times of the historical figures it depicts. For example, Frances Brandon is portrayed – as she has perennially been – as the hard-bitten virago whose hobbies included hunting Bambi and beating her children into submission. But if Gregory had done her research she would know that this portrayal is extremely shaky and far from a concrete picture of Frances. She does the same thing with Guildford Dudley, keeping to the well-worn but baseless stereotype of him as a rangy, blond mummy’s boy; but Leanda de Lisle’s The Sisters Who Would Be Queen revealed that this was a 1909 fiction created by Richard Davey. She states that Elizabeth was not much of a scholar, when in fact Elizabeth shared her brother’s tutors, learned several languages at a precociously young age, studied and translated scripture and classical authors, learned musical instruments, and her learning was commented upon repeatedly and independently by her contemporaries. In fact this follows on to my next point. Bias I think this might well be the most vituperative portrayal of Elizabeth I have ever seen, in the sheer volume of historical inaccuracies and omissions, and the consistency with which the Grey sisters blame her for everything. The condemnation of her scholarly abilities is just the tip of the iceberg. Episodes occur which never happened; events that did happen are cherry-picked and twisted. Apparently Elizabeth deliberately tormented her elder sister Mary as she died by ‘refusing her comfort’. It’s not clear exactly what is meant by this, but if Mary’s wish that she convert to Catholicism is referred to, the possibility that she could not contravene a genuinely held faith, or that she intended to keep to her honest word, is dismissed out of hand. Elizabeth is blamed for ‘queening it over’ Mary when Mary went to serve in her household when she was just a baby – as if an infant conceived of and then enacted this as some sort of intentional malice, rather than it being the hard-heartedness of King Henry VIII. Elizabeth is accused of hating all her step-mothers (in fact she had a good relationship with them), of murdering Amy Robsart (zero proof), even of calculatingly breaking up the marriage of Kateryn Parr and Thomas Seymour, despite being 13 at the time and he her 40-year-old step-father and guardian! Somehow, even Elizabeth offering Robert Dudley to Mary Queen of Scots as a bridegroom comes round to spiting the Grey sisters again. We are told there is absolutely no possibility that it could’ve been intended in earnest, or part of a stratagem to reverse psychology MQOS into a disastrous match with Darnley – we are literally told that Elizabeth just hates the Grey sisters so much that she is willing to fling the love of her life aside to a rival heir to the throne in order to remove the Greys’ claims. It gets worse. The teenaged Elizabeth is described as stout and big-boned. Actual portrait of teenaged Elizabeth. She is “swarthy and ginger” in comparison to the Greys’ “fair-skinned and blonde”, and described as “old” at just turned 30. My eyebrows nearly shot clean off my forehead when I read the author’s note, that this was intended as a feminist portrayal. For a feminist portrayal, this book sure does like to call Elizabeth and Anne Boleyn ‘whore’ a lot: 27%: “I think of Elizabeth as the vain scramblingly ambitious daughter of a lute player and a whore.” 30%: “the country thinks she is a complete whore and Robert Dudley an ambitious adulterer. My sister was lucky enough to be spectator to this scene. She was holding Elizabeth’s gold-tipped laces, waiting to lace her shoes, when Kat went down on her knees to beg the queen not to behave like a whore.” 35%: “she is Robert Dudley’s whore, she still leans from her bedroom window in the morning, half naked, and calls to Robert Dudley to come to her at once.” 42%: “everyone knows that Dudley is the reason. I would never see you shamed, as she is. In Europe they say that she is a whore to her master of horse.” 57%: “why should I serve a queen that everyone knows is a Dudley whore? Born of the Boleyn whore?” 60%: “Kat warned her that she was seen as a whore.” 70%: “We rise and follow her out of the hall and curtsey as she goes through the garden door, Robert Dudley offering his hand on one side, Álvaro de la Quadra on the other. Elizabeth is where she loves to be – at the centre of attention with a man on either side. I think that if she were not a queen she would certainly be a whore.” Nicholas Sander, is that you? At this point I would give serious credence to the notion that the 16th century Catholic writer with an axe to grind had used a time machine to propel him to the 21st century, where he writes novels under the nom de plume ‘Philippa Gregory’. The narrative is so focused on blackening Elizabeth’s name that it is not even internally consistent with its protagonists. The Grey sisters are solid Protestants, and yet at one point Elizabeth is damned for refusing to send an army to help the Catholic Mary Queen of Scots regain her throne. There are so many instances of cherry-picking, twisting, and fabrication that I honestly don’t have time to go through them all. One thing’s for sure, this is definitely not a feminist portrayal. Pacing I just want to have a final word about the pacing, because it was just off throughout. The book is divided into three sections, one for each sister. Jane’s section felt rushed and hurried, with not nearly enough time spent on what should have been some of the most interesting events. Katherine and Mary’s sections dragged and felt like too little butter spread thinly over too much bread. Much of it was repetition – oh the Grey sisters are so beautiful and perfect, the populace love the Grey sisters, Elizabeth is a nasty woman, surely Elizabeth will release them this time – over and over and over again. Their naivety was yawn-inducing, and their Mary Sue perfection was too engineered and syrupy. In conclusion, no I did not like it. It seemed to me neither well-written nor empathetic, and in fact came off as poorly written, tedious, and, to rephrase Robin Maxwell; "vicious, unsupportable". 0 out of 10

  2. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    "The devil protects his own." A Game of Thrones, indeed. There is more vanity, spite, jealousy, arrogance, murder and mayhem in this crooked line of succession to the Tudor dynasty that would, undoubtedly, make Ned Stark's head spin. Most certainly, winter has come. Adding to this evil brew is Papist vs. Protestant and who is backed by whom. When Henry VIII's seriously ill young son, Edward, dies, the recognition of a true heir is at hand. That crooked line runs rivers much like the trickles of sp "The devil protects his own." A Game of Thrones, indeed. There is more vanity, spite, jealousy, arrogance, murder and mayhem in this crooked line of succession to the Tudor dynasty that would, undoubtedly, make Ned Stark's head spin. Most certainly, winter has come. Adding to this evil brew is Papist vs. Protestant and who is backed by whom. When Henry VIII's seriously ill young son, Edward, dies, the recognition of a true heir is at hand. That crooked line runs rivers much like the trickles of spilt paint. The backers of the reformed religion literally shove young Lady Jane Grey onto the throne even though she vehemently shakes her head in refusal. She is touted as "one of the elect". Nine days on the throne is not even enough time to wrinkle one's gown. Lady Jane and those of her inner circle are escourted to the Tower of London. Your Tudor score card will be checking off this potential player. Philippa Gregory stirs the pot, once again, with the tumultuous saga of the Tudor clan and their blood-thirsty, disjointed members. But this time, the reader is invited to partake in the lesser known sisters of Lady Jane Grey. Though Lady Jane no longer poses a threat to the throne, Lady Katherine and Lady Mary certainly are. Lady Jane was noted for her intelligence, Katherine for her beauty, and Mary, though quite diminutive in size, was wise beyond her years. Enter Elizabeth I. Stately, red-haired, and consumed with jealousy, Elizabeth intends to snip off any tedious bits of the gross-grained, irregular ribbons of her distant cousins. Philippa Gregory paints Elizabeth with broad strokes of paranoia. Robert Dudley, Elizabeth's favored married gentleman, clings like the vines along the castle walls. Elizabeth voices no kinship to these cousins and her malice is felt to the bone. Spies carry tales back to the throne room and Elizabeth doles out enough punishment to make even Queen Cersei Lannister blush. Katherine and Mary will become quite familiar with the decor in the Tower of London. This was an exceptionally good read by Philippa Gregory. We come to know the more elusive historical characters of Katherine and Mary Grey and the family preparations made to take one's place in that eerie line of succession to the throne. My only wish is that there would have been a bit more indepth coverage of Lady Jane herself. Perhaps Gregory felt that Jane was already a much covered topic. Her short, ill-fated life left but a faint shadow in the spectrum of time. Furthermore, Elizabeth, though bathed in vanity, never-to-be betrothals, and a will of iron, sits rigidly as the most well-known in her own Game of Thrones. I received a copy of The Last Tudor through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Simon & Schuster (Touchstone) and to Philippa Gregory for the opportunity.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Caidyn (he/him/his)

    I don't want to touch this book with a 100-meter pole because of the description. (All below quotes are taken from it.) "Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days, dying on the scaffold for her faith. But few people know about her two sisters, cousins to Elizabeth I who also faced imprisonment and death sentences for treason." Jane died because of Parliament. She did not want to be Queen. She was forced by her parents and in-laws. She immediately surrendered her forces to Mary I (Elizabeth I's I don't want to touch this book with a 100-meter pole because of the description. (All below quotes are taken from it.) "Jane Grey was queen of England for nine days, dying on the scaffold for her faith. But few people know about her two sisters, cousins to Elizabeth I who also faced imprisonment and death sentences for treason." Jane died because of Parliament. She did not want to be Queen. She was forced by her parents and in-laws. She immediately surrendered her forces to Mary I (Elizabeth I's half-sister) and went to the tower. Mary did not want Jane to die. She tried to save her life, but the influential councils denied it and she was executed. Much like what happened between Elizabeth and Mary, Queen of Scots. Actually, most of the books I've read about the Grey sisters focus on Katherine and Mary. Not Jane. She usually only gets a few chapters. Same with non-fiction books. I think I read a book by Alison Weir that was about Katherine. Jane doesn't have too much written about her since she's not sexy. "Katherine Grey was the beauty of the family who earned the lifelong hatred of her cousin Elizabeth I when she married for love." Uhmmmm, no??? There was a literal act in Parliament that forbade anyone who had royal blood in them -- and Katherine Grey did because of her heritage* -- from marrying without the consent of the monarch. Katherine broke that law by marrying Edward Seymour (yes, one Jane Seymour's nephews**). So, she wasn't hated. She just literally broke the law and got thrown in jail since Elizabeth was rightfully upset about her trust being broken. "Mary Grey was an extraordinary little person known as a dwarf in Tudor times, who defied convention to marry the tallest man at court in her own secret love match." Mary was not a dwarf. She had a hunchback. At least, all of the books I've read about her have said she had a hunchback. Also, Mary did the same exact thing that her sister did. Married without permission. So, yeah, she got in trouble for it. "The fascinating story of three idiosyncratic Tudor girls and their challenges to the most powerful Tudor woman of all is the subject of the next novel from the author who defines what it means to be a writer of historical fiction." I'm sorry, but what fucking place gave Philippa Gregory her damn degree in history? Who did this? I mean, she can't even get simple history correct. These times were interesting enough. Stop pitting women against each other!! Elizabeth I didn't marry for many reasons. Fear of what a husband could do to her, fear of childbirth, wanting to maintain all her power, etc. However, she had love in her life. She had Robert Dudley. They loved each other until the end. Practically a married couple. Also, "defines what it means to be a writer of historical fiction". I call fucking bullshit. I smell it wafting in the air. No. No. NO. NO. This is a woman who can't get simple history correct. This is a woman who makes up homosexual plots. This is a woman who malaigns other women for the hell of it and buys into false charges of incest. I've read ten times better historical fiction by historians -- specifically Alison Weir -- who uses history heavily in her work and keeps it accurate. *Katherine Grey was the child of Frances Grey. Frances Grey was the child of Charles Brandon and Mary, Dowager Queen of France. Mary, the Dowager Queen, was sister to Henry VIII. And Elizabeth I was Henry's daughter with Anne Boleyn. So, they were cousins. **Edward Seymour was the son of Edward Seymour (Sr) and Anne Somerset. Edward Sr was the brother of Jane Seymour.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ophelia Sings

    Once upon a time, a was a big fan of Philippa Gregory. Her novels piqued an interest in medieval history for me, and therein lies the problem; once you begin to delve into the history books, Gregory's novels are rendered frustrating and often infuriating, so often is she lax when it comes to the minor issue of accuracy. Of course, some artistic licence is to be expected, and an author will always interpret figures from the past, and the events in their lives, in their own way. So, Philippa Grego Once upon a time, a was a big fan of Philippa Gregory. Her novels piqued an interest in medieval history for me, and therein lies the problem; once you begin to delve into the history books, Gregory's novels are rendered frustrating and often infuriating, so often is she lax when it comes to the minor issue of accuracy. Of course, some artistic licence is to be expected, and an author will always interpret figures from the past, and the events in their lives, in their own way. So, Philippa Gregory became something of a guilty pleasure for me; as long as I took what she wrote with a pinch of salt, and schooled myself in the history she interpreted as she saw fit, all would be well. Given that, since childhood, I've found the tragic life and death of Lady Jane Grey especially intriguing, I was well prepared to put my sniffishness aside and hunker down (happily guilty) with The Last Tudor. Oh dear. The most glaring thing about this book is how it's just like any other Gregory book; the formula of pitting women against each other, curiously anachronistic language and just enough bodice-ripping romance to titillate without being too risque are all present and correct. And yes, surprise, a great big wodge of Gregory's own personal slant on history (which is, let's face it, in this case a prime example of the truth being far stranger - and more compelling - than any fiction). Perhaps it's because I've always felt quite protective of Jane that I felt slightly affronted by Gregory's dour, joyless, unimaginative representation of her; perhaps I was simply annoyed that in a tale purporting to spotlight Jane and her sisters, so much focus was placed on Elizabeth I - always fascinating, of course, but it would have been nice to have given the Grey sisters the absolute starring role, given Elizabeth's is a voice with which we're all so familiar already. The sisters are each in turn rendered as the two-dimensional stereotypes we expect, but (this reader anyway) fervently hoped they wouldn't be - there are no surprises, or character development, here. Elizabeth fares little better, portrayed as the venal, self-absorbed and selfish woman she is popularly - and somewhat unfairly, I think - perceived as. It's as if Gregory cannot write women, especially strong ones in what was very much a man's world, without denigrating them; see also the liberal use of the word 'whore' to describe Anne Boleyn. How jolly. I think my detente with Philippa Gregory is now finally at an end. Not even I can find much pleasure - even of the guilty variety - in her constant rehashing of themes and her interchangeable characters. No doubt she will continue to 'dial in' her own brand of historical fiction (with the emphasis heavily on the fiction), and it will continue to delight and captivate her audience. Perhaps some will discover a love of the periods she writes about via her work, and do their own research; that's the hope, if yet more disservice is not to be done to these wraiths from the past whom Gregory so ineffectually attempts to flesh out. My thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Misfit

    Ugh. Jane was annoying enough, but I yield at 20% with Katherine's story. She's even whinier and self-centered than Jane was. Back to the library you go.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Trish at Between My Lines

    The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory has thrown me down a Tudor rabbit hole, but I’m not looking to escape anytime soon. The treachery, the gore, along with all the political wheeling and dealing captivate me, and I can’t get enough. MY THOUGHTS ON THE LAST TUDOR BY PHILIPPA GREGORY The initial thought that hits me over the head is why, OH WHY, did I wait so long to read a Philippa Gregory book? She has been on my book radar for years but somehow I just never dived into one. When watching Reign on N The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory has thrown me down a Tudor rabbit hole, but I’m not looking to escape anytime soon. The treachery, the gore, along with all the political wheeling and dealing captivate me, and I can’t get enough. MY THOUGHTS ON THE LAST TUDOR BY PHILIPPA GREGORY The initial thought that hits me over the head is why, OH WHY, did I wait so long to read a Philippa Gregory book? She has been on my book radar for years but somehow I just never dived into one. When watching Reign on NetFlix lately, I decided it would be fun to visit the same period but via the English setting. Now I’m addicted to all the Philippa Gregory books, and reading my way furiously through them. And I’m loving Reign more than ever. Now don’t get me wrong they are not comparable in terms of historical accuracy. Reign is VERY loosely based on fact, and has a soap-opera feel to it. But I love it. And then seeing the same figures appear in the Philippa Gregory books is great fun. Especially knowing that the books are a lot more authentic. Now I’m not telling you that these are meticulously researched as a fact. To me they feel that way, and I have been intrigued enough at times to check certain facts out, and they measured up. That’s good enough for me. But what I truly love about these books is that they tell women’s stories. In an exciting way that makes history come to life. A TRAGIC TALE OF THREE SISTERS The Last Tudor features the three Gray sisters. Jane who comes across as innocent and pious, Katherine who is silly but charming, and Mary who is small in stature but has a heart full of fight. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that all died tragically young (after all that’s history), but the loss of life is so striking when you get to know each one personally. All died for no reason, no reason at all, but to prevent them from taking the throne. And the story of just how and why each ended up such dire plights will stay with me for a long time. I love when a book series excites me, and I think it has been a while since I’ve felt so satisfied and fired up as a reader. I’m in the exact opposite of a reading slump, not sure what to call it. Maybe a reading fervour? All I know is I’m loving it. WHO SHOULD READ THE LAST TUDOR BY PHILIPPA GREGORY? Most people who love historical fiction have probably already tried this author out. But it you are late to the party like I am, then I can’t recommend these books enough. Fans of Outlander might also enjoy.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Carole P. Roman

    Three sisters and three very different voices from the past all coming from one family. Philippa Gregory's The last Tudor is the final story in her successful series that began with Anne Boleyn. Starting with Jane Grey, the doomed nine day queen, Gregory draws a portrait of a teen devoted to both her religion , as well as the duty she owes her name. Born the granddaughter of King Henry's younger sister, Mary, she knows she is royal and though she is unsure of the legality of the circumstances br Three sisters and three very different voices from the past all coming from one family. Philippa Gregory's The last Tudor is the final story in her successful series that began with Anne Boleyn. Starting with Jane Grey, the doomed nine day queen, Gregory draws a portrait of a teen devoted to both her religion , as well as the duty she owes her name. Born the granddaughter of King Henry's younger sister, Mary, she knows she is royal and though she is unsure of the legality of the circumstances bringing her onto the throne, she accepts her role with fatal responsibility, willing to die for both her name and her devotion to her religion. She is one extreme, and with Gregory's deft descriptions, each of the players take real shape, from her jealous and negligent mother to the boy she ends up marrying. Gregory is able to recreate the rushed coup de tat, giving each of the players credibility that made the circumstances understandable and relatable. When she is sacrificed for the Spanish marriage Mary so desires, her sister, Catherine takes over the narrative. Fun-loving and superficial, Katharine's story really shines. She grows from a sullen teen to a warm and devoted wife and mother. Where Jane sacrifices all for religion, Katherine does it for love. Falling in love with Edward Seymour creates an alliance that threatens Elizabeth. Young, fertile, attractive, the Seymour-Grey union provides the possibility of a viable succession. Petty and mean, Elizabeth destroys Katherine's life by separating her from her husband, declaring the marriage invalid and any offspring illegitimate. I have read about Katherine's plight many times, Gregory paints a vivid picture of a young life slowly smothered by the political machinations and vanity of a selfish queen. Lastly, Mary Grey emerges from the shadows as a survivor. Born a little person, she is relegated as unimportant in the dynasty, but with her quiet dignity and strength she is able to survive the hostile palace. Able to eavesdrop, she navigates the treacherous shoals of Elizabeth's narrow world until she meets Thomas Keyes. She falls in love with the castle guard and then, throws caution to the wind to marry him. Elizabeth vindictively ruins their lives as well. All the key players are caught in Elizabeth's narcissism, her vile pettiness and heartless revenge. It's a sad story of being a victim of impossible circumstances, and while each girl may see their sister's weaknesses, they are blind to their own. It was my favorite of the later books in the series and a read that once I started, I couldn't put down.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rosemary

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I won The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory in a Goodreads giveaway last month and I just finished it last night. TUDOR ERA SPOILERS BELOW! I enjoyed some of Philippa Gregory's other work; I liked The Other Boleyn Girl because, while I knew the story of Anne Boleyn, I knew jack about her sister. I liked The Queen's Fool, because it was about a servant who had her own crazy shit going on and whose life was not spent waiting around. I LOVED the Tradescant series, because it was not a period I knew very I won The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory in a Goodreads giveaway last month and I just finished it last night. TUDOR ERA SPOILERS BELOW! I enjoyed some of Philippa Gregory's other work; I liked The Other Boleyn Girl because, while I knew the story of Anne Boleyn, I knew jack about her sister. I liked The Queen's Fool, because it was about a servant who had her own crazy shit going on and whose life was not spent waiting around. I LOVED the Tradescant series, because it was not a period I knew very well, or a story I knew at all, plus things got a little gay. But I feel like the last few books of hers that I've read suffer from one, or both, of the following problems. 1) While we may not know the intricacies of some of these Tudor era stories, we probably already know the outcome. And if the outcome is failure, then I don't really need to read about it. So, like, in The Other Queen, I already know that Mary, Queen of Scots, is not successful in her plans and in fact, ends up imprisoned for years and then beheaded. So...I don't need to read that. But, of course, I did read it, because I thought maybe there was something else interesting about the story that I didn't know! There wasn't. 2) I think it's super awesome to write these stories from the perspective of the women. But women barely got to do anything back then unless they were a nobody, or the Queen, so if the book is not about a nobody or the Queen, the whole book is just the nobility waiting for things to happen. And talking about waiting for things to happen. Which is just boring as fuck. The Red Queen suffered from this problem. I had high hopes for The Last Tudor, because I don't know a ton about Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days Queen. And I still don't, because she is married, crowned, and killed within a few chapters. So the rest of the book is about her two sisters, Katherine and Mary, who, due to family ties, should have been Elizabeth I's heirs. "Cool," I thought, "I have never heard of them! What happens to them?" Well, it turns out that they both marry without Elizabeth's permission and are punished for it by being imprisoned for fucking years and never seeing their husbands again and then dying. Most of the book is spent with the two of them waiting for Elizabeth to release them and their husbands. That's it. You're welcome. In related news, I have noticed a theme running through all of Philippa Gregory's books, and that theme is "I hate Elizabeth I." Philippa Gregory hates Elizabeth. She HATES her. She hates her like a certain intractable segment of the American population hates Hillary Clinton. It's weird and kind of distracting. Like, ANY Philippa Gregory book in which Elizabeth is mentioned talks about what a evil, conniving slutbag she is, even when she's, like 3. Philippa, we get it. You don't like Liz. MOVE ON.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    This is the 15th book by this author that I have read. I have enjoyed this particular series so much. I love this kind of historical fiction. When reading her books, I inevitably have to google these historical characters, to see how the book is going to end. This one was no different. The author manages to create anticipation. But I always know how they are going to end before I reach the last page. This book is one of the saddest books, I almost didn't want to finish it. I will say this book wa This is the 15th book by this author that I have read. I have enjoyed this particular series so much. I love this kind of historical fiction. When reading her books, I inevitably have to google these historical characters, to see how the book is going to end. This one was no different. The author manages to create anticipation. But I always know how they are going to end before I reach the last page. This book is one of the saddest books, I almost didn't want to finish it. I will say this book was not my favorite of all Philippa Gregory's books in this series. But I may have rounded up, because I adore the narrator of the audio, Bianca Amato. She is one of my faves and she does this series justice. This book contains three different POVs of the three Grey sisters during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. The queen is not portrayed in a benevolent manner. She is petty and cruel ....and the Grey sisters are often the recipients of this. They are deeply affected by her. I enjoyed Jane Grey's story and wish it had been longer. But I guess when you are beheaded at the age of 16, your story is a short one. I also enjoyed Katherine's story. Both of their POVs came across as personal and still had historical facts mixed in. Mary's POV seemed a little less personal, and more historical events. I wish it had more about her, but still the historical part was fascinating.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tania

    4.5 stars. I love Philippa Gregory, she has the ability to take historical people and make them incredibly real. The reason this loses half a star is because I struggled a bit with Lady Jane Grey (I had the same problem with another book about her earlier this year, Innocent Traitor.) I absolutely adored Katherine and Mary's stories. I think this was the first of her books that had me crying in the end - never a good thing when you're on your way to work. I am very, very sad to hear that this wi 4.5 stars. I love Philippa Gregory, she has the ability to take historical people and make them incredibly real. The reason this loses half a star is because I struggled a bit with Lady Jane Grey (I had the same problem with another book about her earlier this year, Innocent Traitor.) I absolutely adored Katherine and Mary's stories. I think this was the first of her books that had me crying in the end - never a good thing when you're on your way to work. I am very, very sad to hear that this will be her last book about this era. The audible was great - Bianca Amato did a brilliant job.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Naty

    I wanted very much to read this book, so when I saw this gorgeous edition, it was impossible not to get it immediately. The Last Tudor is not the story of Queen Elizabeth I, but of three of her cousins: Jane, Katherine and Mary Grey. Jane Grey is to inherit the throne when her cousin King Edward VI dies and famously becomes the Nine Days Queen, a martyr for the protestant faith. Katherine was a carefree beauty that sparked jealousy in Elizabeth and her fury when Katherine secretly marries for lov I wanted very much to read this book, so when I saw this gorgeous edition, it was impossible not to get it immediately. The Last Tudor is not the story of Queen Elizabeth I, but of three of her cousins: Jane, Katherine and Mary Grey. Jane Grey is to inherit the throne when her cousin King Edward VI dies and famously becomes the Nine Days Queen, a martyr for the protestant faith. Katherine was a carefree beauty that sparked jealousy in Elizabeth and her fury when Katherine secretly marries for love. Mary was a little person, no taller than four feet, who possessed extraordinary ability to survive the unpredictable wrath and jealousy of Elizabeth. The story starts with Jane, whose voice was whiny and petulant, a young girl of strong convictions who ends up used as a pawn in her parents’ greed for ascension in power. I wished her part, which to me was the most interesting one, had been longer and had a different voice. I hoped the voice of a Queen unjustly executed and then turned saint would be less childish and quite warmer. It was still interesting, and I think Gregory tried to portray her differently from the stereotypical image of sainthood, and instead a rather unlikable girl. Katherine had a naïve voice, although much easier to like. Of all three, I thought Mary had the most interesting personality and a practical sense, and I liked her voice best. As per The Other Boleyn Girl, this book is loose on historical accuracy at some points, and it is quite biased towards portraying Elizabeth as a jealous and spiteful queen. The pacing is also rather slow at times, and the novel was not as fluent as I had hoped for. I enjoyed the other novel more than this one. It was nonetheless very interesting and I will definitely read more Philippa Gregory books! This was quite an entertaining read, and I did enjoy getting to know more about the three sisters, about whom I had no knowledge before. I was on the mood for some Tudor drama and Philippa Gregory delivered for sure! Verdict: If you like historical fiction, this is a rather unique book, centered in the lives of three cousins of Queen Elizabeth I. It’s got all the Tudor fiction drama and is quite entertaining, although with its over 500 pages it can get a bit slow. I recommend it if you aren’t too picky with historical accuracy.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I find Philippa Gregory's Tudor novels very hit and miss. A couple I adore but others I don't and sometimes find them hard to finish. Unfortunately, this is one of the latter - largely, I think, because the characters are allowed no freedom to develop. All is rigid. All is black and white.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    The fourteenth (chronologically speaking) in Philippa Gregory’s historical fiction novels of Plantagenet Tudor England, this one features the era of Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots. But its focus is on the last three Tudor Princesses and likely heirs, Lady Jane Grey, (Queen for nine days), Katharine Grey, and little Mary Grey. The book is written in three parts from each of the sister’s points of view. I love Philippa Gregory and I love this series. I loved watching the White Queen and The fourteenth (chronologically speaking) in Philippa Gregory’s historical fiction novels of Plantagenet Tudor England, this one features the era of Queen Elizabeth and Mary Queen of Scots. But its focus is on the last three Tudor Princesses and likely heirs, Lady Jane Grey, (Queen for nine days), Katharine Grey, and little Mary Grey. The book is written in three parts from each of the sister’s points of view. I love Philippa Gregory and I love this series. I loved watching the White Queen and the White Princess on Starz, and eventually over the last five or more years, I actually re-read all of the novels from top to bottom chronologically starting with the very first, The Lady of the Rivers. More were being published even as I was reading them, and at just the right time in my journey through Plantagenet and Tudor England. That was such a meaningful trip. I read the Other Queen (book fifteen) about a month ago, just slightly out of order, but it still worked. So I know a few things about Tudor England through the eyes of Philippa and other writers. For one, its not easy to be in these royal courts. Amidst political tensions, religious differences, no one holds onto the throne for long, and the question of succession causes paranoia, murder, imprisonment, false accusation, war, constant loss of life. These women and men try to be merry, perform masques and go hunting, while trouble looms all around. Financial trouble, war, political and religious winds, heresy, magic, plagues and sickness, and the characters struggle for patriotism, for love, for honor, and for the crown. This book is no different and no less wonderful. Truly the end of an era. Even Philippa herself says she’s done with Tudor England, and is moving onto some other project. For her and for us, it really is the last Tudor and the end of an era. So glad to have finished out the legacy after years of enjoyment. So this book fulfills for me numerous challenges, and I wanted to briefly discuss how it fits, as reading this book during strong women month, raised a lot of questions that I wanted to try to think about in the review and in the context of this book. Namely; What does it mean to be a strong woman, and how do we look at these characters and their contexts? But first, a listing of where I am at, and why this book fit squarely in my sights. As I have said, it is the final book in my Philippa Gregory journey through history. It is also listopia book #4, for my PBT group. This year I am reading about Remarkable Women in Historical Fiction. It was on my shortlist, and my list of books I had wanted to read in 2017. This is actually the second time its been out from the library, and I hadn’t gotten to it. I actually wanted to read this one before taking on the Summer Queen, the Winter Queen, (Eleanor of Aquitaine) and the House of Shadows. You all can expect those later in the year. So – what does it mean to be a strong woman? That may be a similar or different question than what it means to be a strong woman in Tudor England, amidst the danger and complexities. Sometimes it means a fierce belief in God. Or one’s regency and succession. Sometimes it means riding out with your troops. Sometimes it means being willing to imprison and murder those who have done nothing but be born on the wrong side, or on the right side and willing to inherit. Often it means not being able to marry for love, and being cruelly separated from one’s children. Particularly the boys. It sometimes means beheading and it sometimes means dying alone, with no title, no money, and no love. So the question I ask, then and now, is this: When loss, or trauma or political oppression or marginalization, physical disability, or intellectual, obviously we are shaped by these factors. we find ourselves thrust into a resilience that we didn’t ask for. We are strong after trauma and loss and misfortune because we have to be. We are just living our lives in the face of the context into which we have been thrown. Race class, religion, ethnicity, our genes, and our events and experiences. As a psychologist, I work with all kinds of people who have suffered greatly because of the events or relationships on their lives, some including more severe mental illness. They are all strong to me. And strong both because of and despite what they have had to endure. And let me be clear, this is the human condition. I am talking about the men too, and men in general. Our resilience is in our ability to make meaning, to reflect and have those reflections and meanings guide us, and guide our sense of self, identity, and life trajectory. So do I consider these women (and men) in the book strong, despite that they have little power, have to endure the whims of a lonely rageful and paranoid queen? Yes I do. Because strength is our birthright of endurance, and is about how we narrate our lives. And live them as fully as possible. To me, there is a strength in choosing to marry and live for love. (Or for God). Even if it means you lose everything. Your lover, your children, your life, your freedom. Because our lives are narrated by what matters most, and being true to ourselves. That to me is strength of character, and strength of one’s purpose and trajectory during our lives. To point our arrows forth. Rather than hiding in the shadows refusing to live our truths. So, were these women successful, powerful? Did they achieve their aims? Often not. But did they live their lives with truth, and sometimes faith? Yes they did. If you haven’t figured it out, I am making a modern day allusion outside of the royal court. Today we have to live with parents losing children to school shootings, to illness, to mental illness and accident. We have a plethora of illnesses, and intellectual and physical disabilities to choose from. Misfortune is everywhere. Loss of jobs and finances, marriages and fidelity, spats amongst friends and family, addiction, and political oppression. But our reaction has been interesting and powerful. We have incredible loss of life and limb at the marathon a couple of years ago, and we rename ourselves Boston Strong. This phenomena happened after 911 too where we rename ourselves with strength, compassion, and heroism. Our political times calls for a show of strength and passionate belief, no matter which side of the divide one falls. I find this also relates to the personal stories of friends and patients. For instance, folks want to be strong. No one wants or chooses to be a disempowered weeper. Everyone wishes to be vital. And live meaningful soulful lives. We all want to be our resilient dynamic highest selves. But sometimes grieving and process is the way to get there. Sometimes one has to be vulnerable, to be able to tell the story. We are all the writers of our lives and stories, and we need to be able to narrate them with all of the context, grieving and reflection, and shades, and subtext and vulnerability, and therein lies our strength. Our ability to tell and share our stories and emerge stronger. This is an anthem to me, and not just for women. For humankind. For those oppressed and marginalized, and for all of us who didn’t choose our fates, and are trying to best live our truths. It’s a call to do as Jane and Katherine and Mary did. To figure out what’s most important and makes your life most vital and to live by that with every breath and decision. Great book, and the theme of the month allows me to make an important point and impact with it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    I am fascinated by historical fiction especially the Tudor period. This is the story of three sisters each with a different journey in life. I was not very familiar with the Grey family prior to reading this book, but found it very interesting. Philippa Gregory portrayed an interesting view of the Elizabethan court and the politics of the time. The young girls are granddaughters of Henry VII, younger sister Mary. Henry VIII was catholic, his only male heir Edward VI was Protestant. Edward dies witho I am fascinated by historical fiction especially the Tudor period. This is the story of three sisters each with a different journey in life. I was not very familiar with the Grey family prior to reading this book, but found it very interesting. Philippa Gregory portrayed an interesting view of the Elizabethan court and the politics of the time. The young girls are granddaughters of Henry VII, younger sister Mary. Henry VIII was catholic, his only male heir Edward VI was Protestant. Edward dies without leaving an heir. Who should take the crown? Lady Jane Grey was called the 9 day nine queen, who was sent to her death because she refused to denounce her religion. Katherine married for love without the Queens permission. Off to the tower she went. Mary followed in her sisters footsteps. She never wanted to challenge the Queen, but displeased her. These are three distinct stories that very well written and researched. It was a very interesting read for me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alayne Emmett

    I have read a couple of Philippa Gregory books before so when I was lent this one I thought I’d give it a try. It was interesting and I found out a lot about this era in history that I didn’t know as history wasn’t my strong subject at school. I enjoyed this story very much and although it’s the 14th in the series it can be read as a stand alone book. I will read her others eventually after a break to read other book’s as sometimes I did struggle with it which is why I’m giving it 4 stars.

  16. 5 out of 5

    - ̗̀ whoreofbookboyfriends ̖́-

    I absolutely adore the fact that Philippa Gregory writes about lesser known women. We barely know anything about Jane Grey’s sisters (especially Mary) so, even though it’s fiction, some of it is true (as the author points out), I really loved reading and learning more about their lives under the reign of Elizabeth I

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lilibet

    I had decided to overcome my distaste for Philippa Gregory and give this book a shot, since Lady Jane Grey has always been a historical figure of great interest to me. Simply reading the synopsis made me change my mind. "..who earned the lifelong hatred of her cousin Elizabeth I when she married for love." Really? When is Miss Gregory going to stop shading strong and exemplary women of our History just to write a spicy romance that's going to sell? Isn't she content that she destroyed Anne Boleyn I had decided to overcome my distaste for Philippa Gregory and give this book a shot, since Lady Jane Grey has always been a historical figure of great interest to me. Simply reading the synopsis made me change my mind. "..who earned the lifelong hatred of her cousin Elizabeth I when she married for love." Really? When is Miss Gregory going to stop shading strong and exemplary women of our History just to write a spicy romance that's going to sell? Isn't she content that she destroyed Anne Boleyn's legacy?

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joy D

    This is my first historical fiction by Philippa Gregory. You may ask why I would start with book #14 in a series. In attending our weekly trivia game, one of the questions had to do with the name of the Queen of England who lasted but nine days. We knew the answer was Lady Jane Grey, but did not know much about her life, so decided to investigate further, and this book came up in an online search. This book is basically a character study of the three Grey sisters, with approximately a third of t This is my first historical fiction by Philippa Gregory. You may ask why I would start with book #14 in a series. In attending our weekly trivia game, one of the questions had to do with the name of the Queen of England who lasted but nine days. We knew the answer was Lady Jane Grey, but did not know much about her life, so decided to investigate further, and this book came up in an online search. This book is basically a character study of the three Grey sisters, with approximately a third of the book devoted to each. This storyline is filled with political intrigue, imagined and real conspiracies, religious differences between “Papists” and “Reformers,” and rationale for various claimants’ rights of succession to the throne. I enjoyed the historical part of this novel, learning more about Jane, Katherine, and Mary Grey than I had known previously, along with prominent families such as the Stewarts, Dudleys and Seymours. I particularly enjoyed the way the author handles Lady Katherine’s pets. She gives them each a personality and I found it endearing when the sisters interacted with them. Unfortunately, there’s only so much action to be found when one is confined to the Tower of London or placed under house arrest. Visitors and letters were used as vehicles to relate what was happening off stage. Elizabeth is portrayed as a one-sided villain, a capricious ruler who locks up her cousins due to jealousy. I found it repetitive and the ending felt rushed. It contained references to items and knowledge that didn’t exist in the 1500’s and communications would have taken much longer back then. Even so, it held my interest through fifteen audio discs, and it spurred me to look up more about these historic people. The narrator of the audio book, Bianca Amato, did an excellent job of portraying many characters with distinct voices. I plan to seek out non-fiction about the lives of the Grey sisters and Queen Elizabeth I to see how much of The Last Tudor is based on fact and learn more about this period in English history.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    Be ever grateful that you were not a royal living under the reign of Elizabeth I or Mary Tudor, Henry's half sister. According to this book, Elizabeth not only ruled with an iron hand but also a jealous one as well. Ms Gregory alludes to the idea that Elizabeth never wanted anyone at court to be happier than she and to marry and or fall in love with someone who might take away the shine from the love her subjects were to have for Elizabeth as their queen and royal sovereign, In this book we meet Be ever grateful that you were not a royal living under the reign of Elizabeth I or Mary Tudor, Henry's half sister. According to this book, Elizabeth not only ruled with an iron hand but also a jealous one as well. Ms Gregory alludes to the idea that Elizabeth never wanted anyone at court to be happier than she and to marry and or fall in love with someone who might take away the shine from the love her subjects were to have for Elizabeth as their queen and royal sovereign, In this book we meet the three cousins of Queen Mary, cousins to Elizabeth and the last of the Tudor princesses. Jane, the eldest Lady Jane Grey propped up on the throne for nine days and eventually is beheaded even though she was a young pawn in her father's scheme in a bid to push aside Mary. Later after Queen Mary dies childless, Elizabeth assumes the throne and it is she who the other two sisters must contend with. Elizabeth fears that they will marry and produce a male heir to the throne since Elizabeth is also childless. She makes both Katherine, the middle sister, and Mary the younger one's lives miserable imprisoning them, separating them from those they love including husbands and children all in her intense desire to secure her throne permanently. Elizabeth's fear and hatred propel her and she is presented in this story as a wanton woman, always seeking the limelight, never really being forgiving and kind. The sisters suffer terribly living their lives confined in various places and hoping for the day they will be freed. "My Lords, do whatever you wish. As for me, I shall do no otherwise than pleases me." It did please Elizabeth to lock these sisters away but at the end with no heir for Elizabeth what exactly did she do but secure the end of the Tudor reign. Some might be inclined to say that this was a fitting end.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sonja Arlow

    3 1/2 stars This has to be hands down the saddest Phillipa Gregory I have ever listened to. Jane Grey – queen for 9 days, more pious than the Pope, eldest of the Grey sisters and to be honest not the most riveting character to read about (sorry Jane) Catherine Grey – married in secret for love and paid a price so so much higher than she ever expected. This character will stay with me for a long time. Mary Grey – dwarf-like little doll, more outspoken than her sisters but ultimately also fated to be 3 1/2 stars This has to be hands down the saddest Phillipa Gregory I have ever listened to. Jane Grey – queen for 9 days, more pious than the Pope, eldest of the Grey sisters and to be honest not the most riveting character to read about (sorry Jane) Catherine Grey – married in secret for love and paid a price so so much higher than she ever expected. This character will stay with me for a long time. Mary Grey – dwarf-like little doll, more outspoken than her sisters but ultimately also fated to be crushed under the thumb of a jealous, paranoid queen. I don’t read a lot of Phillipa Gregory and had not been for the amazing Bianca Amato doing the audio narration I may not have considered this book at all. I know very little of Elizabeth 1 but this book gave me a glimpse that made me a little sick. It’s one thing to read about a mad king because let’s face it, there is a level of macabre fascination that surrounded Henry 8, but Elizabeth was something different. A woman that relished in her cruelty and vindictiveness in an era where women were mere property. You would expect that she would not focus her hatred so intensely onto her female counterparts, that she would understand how difficult it is to survive in such a male dominated world. I know Elizabeth had to basically scratch and claw her way onto the throne and she just kept on scratching and clawing once she got there. I have to admit that this was not my all-time favourite Tudor book but it was worth the experience of learning about these lesser known cousins to Elizabeth I. Audio version recommended!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Karen’s Library

    This was another fascinating Tudor historical fiction, this one about the Grey sisters. The Grey sisters are the granddaughters of King Henry VIII's younger sister, Mary. Upon King Edward's death, and per his will, the Protestant reformers put Jane Grey on the throne instead of Edward's sister, Mary Tudor. Queen Jane Grey ruled for only 9 days when Mary's followers managed to remove Jane and put Mary on the throne. I knew the story of Jane Grey, sort of. Not the entire story, and nothing of her This was another fascinating Tudor historical fiction, this one about the Grey sisters. The Grey sisters are the granddaughters of King Henry VIII's younger sister, Mary. Upon King Edward's death, and per his will, the Protestant reformers put Jane Grey on the throne instead of Edward's sister, Mary Tudor. Queen Jane Grey ruled for only 9 days when Mary's followers managed to remove Jane and put Mary on the throne. I knew the story of Jane Grey, sort of. Not the entire story, and nothing of her two sisters, Katherine and Mary. Philippa Gregory gives us an account of the three sisters. I had no idea that both Katherine and Mary Grey were also eventually imprisoned. I found the story fascinating and would read this book any chance I had. Yes, most of the book is fiction, but the major events are true. Philippa explains that this book will be the last of the Tudor books, which saddens me. Because of her, I've become a bit Tudor obsessed.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This is Philippa Gregory’s final book about the Tudor line and my final read in the series, and boy was it a great way to end. It is the story of three sisters, Lady Jane Grey, Lady Katherine Grey, and Lady Mary Grey, cousins to Queens Mary and Elizabeth Tudor. Of course, the brief reign of Lady Jane is a well-known story, but I had no knowledge whatsoever of either of her sisters or their tragedies and victimization at the hands of Queen Elizabeth. Told in a first person narrative, the novel ha This is Philippa Gregory’s final book about the Tudor line and my final read in the series, and boy was it a great way to end. It is the story of three sisters, Lady Jane Grey, Lady Katherine Grey, and Lady Mary Grey, cousins to Queens Mary and Elizabeth Tudor. Of course, the brief reign of Lady Jane is a well-known story, but I had no knowledge whatsoever of either of her sisters or their tragedies and victimization at the hands of Queen Elizabeth. Told in a first person narrative, the novel has a very personal feeling, the girls seem quite real and to see them so obviously used by others because of their royal connection is difficult. I try to imagine going through such experiences at such a young age. Lady Jane was a mere seventeen years of age when she was beheaded. Her story was tragic, but I found her sister Katherine’s story almost worse. I found myself deeply involved in the injustice of her confinement and the cruelty of her separation from her husband and children. It seems that I will live and die in prison for the crime of marrying my lover, because Elizabeth Tudor could not marry hers. This is jealousy taken to an extraordinary degree. This is fatal malice...and I fear only death will release me. Like all Tudors she invokes death. He sister killed my sister. She will kill me. This can only end in death: mine or hers.” It does certainly seem that history proves the Tudors to have been a blood-thirsty lot. They were eternally insecure, but of course for good reason, and I wonder how much a crown and power can mean to some people. In fact, their lives were all miserable. Couldn’t they have been happier men and women if they had not had royal blood, if they had lived in simpler houses and with no jewels? I cannot imagine a life in which someone could order you to the Tower on a whim or hold you for endless years without a trial or even a charge. The irony, of course, is that being in the royal line might mean you ended up being the Queen, have unbridled power and wealth, or it might mean you have your head lopped off before you reach your eighteenth birthday. Mary Grey, who is a dwarf, is a fascinating character as well. She is small of stature and large of spirit and heart. Her continued love for her sisters makes her both brave and admirable. Gregory paints a brilliant picture of this small woman who is treated, because of her stature, as a child, but refuses to be anything other than a woman and a lady. She learns from her older sisters, and she has a marvelous will to survive. I am damned if I am going to oblige Elizabeth by the silent exit of yet another rival. I am Jane Grey’s sister--they are calling her the first Protestant martyr--I am not going to slip away in silence; she did not. “Learn you to die!” does not mean lie down like Jo the pug, with your paw over your nose, and give up. “Learn you to die!” means consider how your death is meaningful, as your life is meaningful. I started this journey with The Other Boleyn Girl, where I met Mary Boleyn for the first time; I have ended it with The Last Tudor, where I met Katherine and Mary Grey. I was struck by the way Gregory handles the stories of sisters, how she understands the complex relationship that exists between girls who both love and compete with one another, as sisters so often do. I found both of these books to be extraordinary reads. I would happily start again and re-read the series, had I time, but I do not so I will just be grateful to have had the opportunity to read them once.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Marina

    Imagine a teenage sex scene being narrated by the current 92-year-old British queen. Sexy huh? Because that it what the narrator of this audiobook sounds like. The way she says ‘orf’ ( for off) particularly makes me cringe. I’m a Philippa Gregory fan and this is the first time I’ve listened, rather than read her books. She has the ability to make you feel transported to the Tudor period and see, smell, feel a time long ago. In The Last Tudor, she tells the story (in three first-person parts) of Imagine a teenage sex scene being narrated by the current 92-year-old British queen. Sexy huh? Because that it what the narrator of this audiobook sounds like. The way she says ‘orf’ ( for off) particularly makes me cringe. I’m a Philippa Gregory fan and this is the first time I’ve listened, rather than read her books. She has the ability to make you feel transported to the Tudor period and see, smell, feel a time long ago. In The Last Tudor, she tells the story (in three first-person parts) of the Grey sisters, the eldest of which was Jane – and anyone with any knowledge of 16th century England knows what happened to her. It’s clear that the sisters – as it seems, all women in those times – were merely pawns in the power struggles of men. Even the most powerful women– the sister queens Mary and Elizabeth – had been victimised at some point in their lives. The story of the teenage Jane Grey was difficult to listen to, simply because I knew her ending. Despite Jane’s confidence and piety, the narrator’s voice sounds far too old for a sixteen-year-old who, as she nears the inevitable seems more childlike, more stubborn, trusting , deluded, afraid. It was quite upsetting. I’d never heard of Jane’s sisters and so didn’t know how their stories would pan out – at least, I didn’t know what had really happened to them, only what didn’t happen. (eg they never took the throne). Katherine, who kept a monkey as a pet, was silly, vain and gullible. The youngest sister, Mary, was so short that the court ‘dwarf’ saw her as a kindred spirit. She seems the most level-headed of the sisters and yet was stupid enough to repeat the same errors. What could she have imagined the outcome would be? If, like me, you’ve read many of Gregory’s Tudor books, there is much repetition of court events. In particular, The Other Queen seemed to cover much of the same ground. I got a little bored by the frequent and extended musing on Queen Elizabeth’s motivation for imprisoning her courtiers. But overall, Gregory once again delivers a believable fictional reconstruction of history. I just wish it hadn’t been narrated by Her Majesty.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    I rather enjoyed some of this, though I'm not usually a fan of Gregory's novels and even though she has a really annoying tendency to (as other reviewers have pointed out) write some of the most absurd 'As You Know, Bob' dialogue I've ever read. I did, for the most part, enjoy Mary Grey's narrative and her relationship with Thomas Keyes, and the section narrated by Katherine Grey interested me enough to google her and her husband Lord Hertford's real story. But myyyyy goodness, Philippa Gregory I rather enjoyed some of this, though I'm not usually a fan of Gregory's novels and even though she has a really annoying tendency to (as other reviewers have pointed out) write some of the most absurd 'As You Know, Bob' dialogue I've ever read. I did, for the most part, enjoy Mary Grey's narrative and her relationship with Thomas Keyes, and the section narrated by Katherine Grey interested me enough to google her and her husband Lord Hertford's real story. But myyyyy goodness, Philippa Gregory really does not like Queen Elizabeth I, does she? I've noticed this in some of her other novels, and it's incredibly obvious in The Last Tudor. I don't think Elizabeth did a single thing in the entire novel that wasn't spiteful, vindictive, nasty, unkind, self-absorbed and intended to hurt everyone in sight. The Katherine and Mary sections especially spew vitriol at her on every page. I was quite taken aback by how vituperative it all is. Even things entirely out of Elizabeth's control, such as her elder half-sister Mary being placed in her household when she (Elizabeth) was a tiny infant, are described as Elizabeth 'queening it over' Mary. Elizabeth, apparently, is 'swarthy and ginger' in contrast to the gorgeous blonde fairness of the Grey sisters, and is said to be 'old' in 1564/65, again in contrast to Mary Grey who is so amazingly wonderfully young. Elizabeth was at the beginning of her thirties then! It all left a nasty taste in my mouth, as did the endless comments by various characters about what a 'whore' Elizabeth is and what a 'whore' her mother Anne Boleyn was. Feminist novel, my foot.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cher

    4.5 stars - Incredible. I really loved it. I have read enough about Tudor history to know that Queen Elizabeth was not actually the golden angel pop culture often portrays her as today, nor do I believe that "virgin queen" is an appropriate moniker though that does give me a great chuckle. This novel however really highlighted how malicious and manipulative she was through the factual choices she made in dealing with her cousins. While I applaud her progressive feminist mindset that was centuries 4.5 stars - Incredible. I really loved it. I have read enough about Tudor history to know that Queen Elizabeth was not actually the golden angel pop culture often portrays her as today, nor do I believe that "virgin queen" is an appropriate moniker though that does give me a great chuckle. This novel however really highlighted how malicious and manipulative she was through the factual choices she made in dealing with her cousins. While I applaud her progressive feminist mindset that was centuries ahead of her time, I feel she must have been a horribly cruel monarch to serve. It seems she inherited both her mother’s guile and her father’s paranoia and viciousness - a rather menacing combination. ------------------------------------------- Favorite Quote: Red is the color of defiance, red is the color of life, red is the color of love, and so it is my color. First Sentence: I love my father because I know that he will never die.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa - (Aussie Girl)

    After reading many books on the Tudors it was a nice change to see lesser known members of the extended family (The Grey Sisters, cousins to Elizabeth 1) taking centre stage .

  27. 5 out of 5

    Diana Long

    I've read a number of this author's Historical works of fiction and I am always captivated by her writing and the voice she brings to these women. It's no doubt she spends hours researching her subjects and with the knowledge she obtains creates a plausible history for them. In this novel she gives a personal story for each of the three Grey Sisters, Ladies Jane, Katharine and Mary so the work is divided into three sections, where one sister leaves off the next continues from that point. As the I've read a number of this author's Historical works of fiction and I am always captivated by her writing and the voice she brings to these women. It's no doubt she spends hours researching her subjects and with the knowledge she obtains creates a plausible history for them. In this novel she gives a personal story for each of the three Grey Sisters, Ladies Jane, Katharine and Mary so the work is divided into three sections, where one sister leaves off the next continues from that point. As the reader follows through time each one's thoughts, hopes and how they view their precarious situations it reflects how it is not a benefit to be one of royal blood in the line of succession. Is it a wonder than that Queen Elizabeth I refused to wed or name an heir until her final hour? If you enjoy an exceptionally well written work of historical fiction you are sure to become immersed into the highly controversial lives of these three women and the decisions that motivated them to make the choices they did. Fast past and entertaining.

  28. 5 out of 5

    M.M. Strawberry Library & Reviews

    Part of me wanted to give this book a lower rating, because plenty of liberties are taken with historical fact, but if you're not too hung up on that, this can be a fun read if you enjoy drama. I will say one thing, that this book led me to do historical research on the Grey sisters IRL, and it was truly fascinating. It certainly left me liking Elizabeth ! a little less. Her reign might have been known as the Golden Age, but Elizabeth was apparently still backwards in some ways.

  29. 4 out of 5

    *TUDOR^QUEEN*

    When I saw the two names attached to this book, Tudor and Philippa Gregory, that was all I needed to tap the "Request book" button within a second. My fascination with The Tudors has spanned decades, and no one makes it more palatable than Philippa Gregory. My only misgivings were that I would not find the central figures in this tome that interesting: the "Nine Days Queen", Lady Jane Grey, and her two younger sisters, Lady Katherine and Lady Mary. Queen Elizabeth I was England's Monarch at this When I saw the two names attached to this book, Tudor and Philippa Gregory, that was all I needed to tap the "Request book" button within a second. My fascination with The Tudors has spanned decades, and no one makes it more palatable than Philippa Gregory. My only misgivings were that I would not find the central figures in this tome that interesting: the "Nine Days Queen", Lady Jane Grey, and her two younger sisters, Lady Katherine and Lady Mary. Queen Elizabeth I was England's Monarch at this time, and hers is a story I am not that charmed by as well. However, the special writing gift author Philippa Gregory has is to so humanize the characters through her first person narration that the reader can easily connect with them. She takes history, marries it with a bit of poetic license and serves you up "edible" history...while the reader eats out of her hand. This book is divided into three "narrations" as I call them. The first Part begins with Lady Jane Grey (who at sixteen was Queen of England for just nine days), followed in succession by her younger sisters Katherine, and then Mary. Each "Part" is narrated by each of the sisters. Philippa Gregory weaves the tapestry of history with twists of irony, great love, shattering heartbreak, and anger ...which is acutely felt by the reader through the method of each sister's first person narration. You will surely shed a tear while reading this book. Across the decades, I have read an abundance of books on the Tudors and specifically on Queen Elizabeth I. However, I hadn't quite realized just how paranoid, ruthless, jealous and heartless Queen Elizabeth I was until I read this particular book. In addition, I thought I wouldn't be that interested in reading about the Tudor line of the Grey sisters, but author Gregory handily lured me in with her enchanting writing magic. I feel very fortunate to have read this tome as I learned much about another branch of the Tudor Dynasty I had given short shrift . My previous knowledge was limited to the movie starring British actress Helena Bonham Carter as Lady Jane Grey. Now I know a much richer story which is truly sad and makes me wonder what might have been had the Tudor line extended on an alternative pathway, as it most likely should have. This was brilliant, and I shall approach unread present and future offerings from Philippa Gregory with the knowledge that I will both learn and feel much...and forever be touched by history. Many thanks to NetGalley for the privilege of receiving an advance reader copy in return for my honest review.

  30. 4 out of 5

    ✨ kathryn ✨

    Wowowowow. The Tudor period was always my favourite at school (I loved learning about it in history and I researched the music until about 18 months ago), so this book was right up my alley. So fantastically written. Accessible for my brain which has been out of formal education for 18 months or so. An absolutely fascinating read!

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