Review: The Last Tudor

The Last Tudor (The Plantagenet and Tudor Novels #14)
Written by Philippa Gregory
Published by Touchstone on August 8, 2017
528 pages
Historical Fiction

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, 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. Katherine Grey was the beauty of the family who earned the lifelong hatred of her cousin Elizabeth I when she married for love. 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.
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 (RT Book Reviews).”

My Review:

The Last Tudor is a fantastic story of long forgotten women during Elizabeth I’s reign. Ms. Gregory’s ability to historical fiction is unmatched. She is able to take two relatively unknown women (Katherine and Mary) and write a compelling and intriguing novel depicting their sacrifice for love.

Of course, like most fans of historical fiction, Jane Grey is well-known and much has been written about her. However, I had no knowledge of her sisters and their stories. The intrigue they had to face in Elizabeth’s court makes your head spin. There was so much secrecy and betrayal in Elizabeth’s court. As potential heirs to the throne, Katherine and Mary were treated with contempt but at the same time kept under the careful watch of Elizabeth and her spies.

I don’t think I have ever read such a scathing depiction of Elizabeth I. She is a self-absorbed, vindictive Queen who will do anything to keep her crown. She seemed so insecure with her status as queen. She imprisoned anyone who appeared to scheme against her. She turned her back on the two women who could have been legitimate and successful heirs to the throne. However, she completely turned her back on them because they got married without her approval. Mary kept saying because Elizabeth couldn’t marry her lover, then none of her ladies could marry. Elizabeth was mean, selfish and vindictive. She ruled according to her passion and not for the good of the realm.

My only criticism would be the length of the book. At the end, I felt there was some repetition that didn’t further the story. However, with the two women being imprisoned for such a length of time; repetition would be their life. Katherine and Mary were tragic, forgotten figures in Elizabeth’s court. Their lives were cut short only for marrying for love and having Tudor blood. If you love Tudor England and court intrigue, please pick this one up. It is well worth it!




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