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Elizabeth Fremantle’s fiction explores the stories of prominent women whose lives have been neglected or misrepresented by history. She studied for a BA in English and an MA in Creative Writing at Birkbeck College London and has contributed to many publications including The Sunday Times, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal and also reviews fiction for the Sunday Express. She lives in London.


The court of henry VIII is rife with intrigue, rivalries and romance – and none are better placed to understand this than the women at its heart.

Katherine Parr, Widowed for the second time aged thirty-one, is obliged to return to court, but, suspicious of the aging king and those who surround him, she does so with reluctance. Nevertheless, when she finds herself caught up in a passionate affair with the dashing and seductive Thomas Seymour, she believes she might finally be able to marry for love. But her presence at court has attracted the attentions of another.

Captivated by her honesty and intelligence, Henry Tudor has his own plans for Katherine and no one is in the position to refuse a proposal from the king. So with her charismatic lover dispatched to the continent, Katherine must accept the hand of the ailing egotistical monarch and become Henry’s sixth wife – and yet she has still not quite given up on love.


Two young girls tread dangerously close to the throne after their sister, the deposed queen, Lady Jane Grey, is executed.

Lady Catherine and Lady Mary are reeling after their elder sister, the seventeen-year-old Lady Jane Grey, is brutally executed. Their Tudor blood is now more a curse than a blessing. Queen Mary’s succession is by no means stable; many covet the crown, and some say the Grey sisters have a better claim to the throne than the queen.

Neither sister is well suited to a dangerous life at court.  Flirtatious Lady Catherine, thought to be the true heir, cannot control her compulsion to love and be loved, and clever Lady Mary has a crooked spine and a tiny stature when physical attributes are thought to reflect moral character.  For either girl to marry without royal permission would be a potentially fatal political act, perceived as a treasonous grab for the throne.

It is the royal portrait painter, Levina Teerlinc, who helps the girls survive these troubled times. She becomes their mentor and confidante; with her painter’s observation she is able to see more at court than the sisters, who are watched closely.  But when the hot-headed Elizabeth inherits the crown, life at court becomes increasingly treacherous for the Grey sisters.  Ultimately each young woman must decide how far she dares to go to defy her Queen and risk her life for love.

Excellent. The course was very helpful.