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Publisher's Summary

From the luxuries of court to the last gory years of the outsize King Henry, when heads rolled and England trembled, Catherine bestrode her destiny and survived to marry her true love. She was the least known of Henry VIII's six wives, but the cleverest of them all.

Alluring, witty, and resourceful, she attracted the king's lust and, though in love with the handsome Thomas Seymour, was thrown into the snake pit of the royal court. While victims of the king's wrath suffered torture and execution, Catherine withstood the onslaught, even when Henry sought to replace her with a seventh wife. She survived her royal husband, and found happiness with Seymour, but it was shadowed by rivalry with the young Princess Elizabeth, whose affection Seymour coveted. Catherine won the contest, but at great cost.

©2006 Carolly Erickson; (P)2006 Audio Renaissance, a division of Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC

Critic Reviews

"Erickson, known best for her lively and popular histories...engages with this fictionalized, first-person life of Catherine Parr." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Heidi
  • Dana Point, CA, USA
  • 01-11-07

Fun historical fiction

I found this book because I was looking for works similar to the Philippa Gregory books (i.e. "The other Boleyn Girl) and I wasn't disappointed. This is similar in subject matter, but unique in style, and I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and narration, and was caught up in the story from beginning to end. I loved learning more about Catherine Parr, a lesser known wife of Henry XIII, and found myself consulting my historical reference book frequently to get some additional facts as it made me curious about the era..I just love historical fiction and this one didn't let me down!

28 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


This is good, I know that it is long, but you never realize it. It kept my interest every minute. I found myself sitting in my driveway not wanting to get out of the car to here what would happen next. It isn't solely based on Cat's time with the king, it is her life story. From when she was seven years old all the way to her death. Her loves, loses and fears are all portrayed wonderfully in this book. The narrater is also wonderful. I could go on forever, if you enjoy these types of books this is a must have.

21 of 22 people found this review helpful

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Poor Henry

Well written. Well narrated.
However, I am now convinced that the Tudor Court was a nest of vipers obsessed with religion, sex & violence - and not a scrap of common sense between them!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Meghan
  • De Beque, CO, United States
  • 10-21-11

Historical Soap Opera

After listening to other stories about Henry VIII's court I was curious about his other wives. Although the story and narration weren't stellar, I still found it interesting book and had no problems finishing it. If you are interested in this period of English history I recommend this book. It felt like peeking into the lives of the courtiers and political drama of that time period. It recounts all of the king's wives through the eyes of his last wife from the time she is a girl. It also describes Henry's rise and fall from a young handsome man to a bitter and fat old one. Every author adds their own twist to some of the controversial theories surrounding Henry's wives and his justification for killing or divorcing them. I thought this was an interesting take on them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Moving Audiobook

Overdramatic at times but overall a great audiobook. No matter how many books you read and or audiobooks you listen to, you can`t help but think what a pig Henry was. This audiobook lays that out pretty clearly and it sounds reasonable -so many lives were at least inconvenienced and at most terminated b/c of a self-centered, arrogant, indulgent and royal pain of an excuse. Catherine really had to have her wits about her and this audiobook has it all - as she gets near the end of her life it gets very moving. Definitely recommend to all.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Loved the book - didn't love to listen

Loved the book - the detail, the story. A bit slow in the beginning - but worth the listen - BUT I found that I had to work really hard to NOT focus on the narrator's irritating way of speaking. I will go out of my way to avoid any audiobooks done by her again. Almost ruined it for me.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Interesting view of the society of the time

I felt this story was a glimpse into life in the court of Henry VIII possibly not 100% accurate but entertaining, thought provoking and well read 😀

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Is there anything you would change about this book?

The conversations were a bit "soap opera"ish". a much too modern vernacular.

If you’ve listened to books by Carolly Erickson before, how does this one compare?

Not her best

What aspect of Terry Donnelly’s performance would you have changed?

Her imitation of the male voice. Brutal!

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Joan Cusak

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Great read!

What made the experience of listening to The Last Wife of Henry VIII the most enjoyable?

The "behind the scenes" details and story-line. This book followed what I have known in history about these relationships very closely...some speculation of course, because it's fiction, but very closely ties to the history lessons...

Which scene was your favorite?

The revealing of the "Saint Fraud"...I won't say more so as not to ruin it for you....

If you could rename The Last Wife of Henry VIII, what would you call it?

Catherine Parr, The Nurturing Queen

  • Overall
  • Nancy
  • Northbrook, IL, USA
  • 12-04-07

Much too long!

I listened to Philippa Gregory's book The Boleyn Inheritance and loved it. So I tried The Last Wife of Henry VIII. It didn't even come close to Philippa Gregory's book. It was too long and the first part was boring. The second part was better, but I still feel that it was a waste of my time.

4 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Janice
  • 04-16-07

Beware this book is fiction!

This book was in the English History category but should be with historical fiction. It is a story.
Only purchase if you are looking for light reading, very light reading!

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Elaine Wood
  • 09-15-09

So interesting to hear about the last Queen

In History lessons, and most documents covering the wives of Henry VIII, Catherine Parr is just an add on at the end, with no character of her own. She is often described as a nurse, or a middle aged nobody. It is interesting to read this book, which has lead me to read on further, to find she was quite the political animal.

My only quibble with this book is the narrator, who I find a bit insipid, but the story still held my attention despite that.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • sjw
  • 09-09-14

story good, awful narration

Is there anything you would change about this book?


What did you like best about this story?

actual story woven around history was pretty good

What didn’t you like about Terry Donnelly’s performance?

very hard to listen too for any length of time, emphasis on wrong words, almost whingy in tone. Persevered the first time as wanted to hear the story but can't do it a second time.

Was The Last Wife of Henry VIII worth the listening time?


Any additional comments?

would have preferred to read the book version.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • H. Daniels
  • 04-14-13

The Last Wife Of Henry VIII

As usual Carolly Erikson is on top form with the usual excellence in audiobooks.

I have most of her historical series now on my Ipod and will continue until I have the whole series through Audible. They are excellent value for money and high quality recordings. The stories are gripping and informative and take you into the world existing in that time period with authenticity and imagination.

I have never been disappointed with any of her works

0 of 1 people found this review helpful