By all accounts, Katherine Parr was an intelligent, learned and sensible woman. But Philippa Gregory has developed a singular talent for making smart women sound like idiots. You all know what I thought of her Margaret Beaufort (The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory). It really irritates me when she puts words like these into her Kateryn’s mouth:
“Nan, this is madness. They may disagree with me but they wouldn’t try to drag me down in the eyes of the king. They won’t falsely accuse me of God-knows-what because we don’t agree about the serving of the Mass. We differ; but they are not my enemies. Stephen Gardiner is an ordained bishop, called by God, a holy man. He is not going to seek my destruction because I differ from him on a point of theology.”
Could she sound like any more of an imbecile? Oh, yes she can. Every Court plot and machination has to explained to her in cold, simple, logical (for Henry) terms. She keeps passionately insisting that the king loves her, that he trusts her and would never get rid of her and take another wife. Her sister warns her, Thomas Seymour warns her, hell, even the departing Spanish ambassador (the indomitable Chapuys) warns her, but it’s always “But he loves me.” Until, that is, she’s on her knees, thoroughly degraded and humiliated, before her personal Bluebeard.
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars