Genres: Historical Fiction
Add it to your TBR: Goodreads
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.