The author of more than 20 historical works, Erickson brings the life of Catherine Parr, Henry VIII's last wife, to
us in her own words. Erickson knows her history and lures readers into the psyches of flesh-and-blood people, not textbook personages. This is a mark of
a gifted biographer and storyteller rolled into one.

Catherine catches Henry's eye as a young married woman and yet he must wait until they are both unattached to pursue her. Catherine is flattered and yet repelled by the gout-ridden, overweight Henry, who has just beheaded his fifth wife. However, what Henry wants, Henry gets and despite her love for Thomas Seymour she weds Henry and cares for him. Catherine wonders about Mary and Elizabeth's rivalry and potential political plots and gets caught in one herself, as she walks a fine line between being Henry's beloved wife and an enemy to the Crown. Still, in the end she is the only one of his wives to get what she wants: to survive the court intrigues and Henry's fickleness to marry the man she loves. Now that's a true heroine! (St. Martin's, Oct., 336 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin