The Sixth Wife by Suzannah Dunn

February 26, 2008
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The Sixth Wife
Suzannah Dunn

Harper Collins
2/26/08
Trade Paperback/318 pages
ISBN: 0-061431567
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". . . a stunning revelation of what happens when history, vision and talent come together."

The Sixth Wife: Romance and betrayal against the backdrop of Tudor England.

 

Katharine Parr survives marriage to King Henry VIII. As Dowager Queen, she has wealth and position, but she is still young at heart. Less than a year after Henry’s death, Katharine (Kate to her friends) secretly marries Thomas Seymour. She shocks her friends with this departure from her usual level-headed calm, but she is in love.

Kate is serenely happy as she moves away from the limelight as Dowager Queen and into a quiet life in the country as a cherished, and soon pregnant, wife of the ambitious and secretive Thomas. Catherine, widowed Duchess of Suffolk and Kate’s best friend, claims England as her homeland, but she burns with the Latin passions of her Spanish birth. Knowing of Thomas’s appetite for power, Catherine dislikes him but finds herself drawn to him in a way she never expects, thus setting the stage for political intrigue and betrayal.

The stormy political climate of Tudor England provides a sharp contrast for Suzannah Dunn’s love story—and more than a few surprises—in The Sixth Wife. Like pearls on the brocade of this rich historical period, Dunn stitches facts about manor life and the responsibilities of the nobility into this tale of romance, passion and betrayal, all the while showing how love makes fools of us all.

Dunn displays her encyclopedic historic knowledge to best advantage, writing with wonderful clarity and power. Her characters are delightfully complex and the descriptions stunningly clear without weighing down the story’s pace. Even Elizabeth, future queen of England as a supporting character in this quietly tempestuous love triangle, will interest the reader.

The central relationship between Kate, Thomas Seymour, and Catherine is intimate and completely believable. The Sixth Wife is a stunning revelation of what happens when history, vision and talent come together.

Reviewer: J. M. Cornwell

 

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