Book Review: The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

February 4, 2018 Book review 8 ★★★★★

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory has thrown me down a Tudor rabbit hole, but I’m not looking to escape anytime soon.  The treachery, the gore, along with all the political wheeling and dealing captivate me, and I can’t get enough.

Book Review: The Last Tudor by Philippa GregoryThe Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory
Genres: Historical, Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library

Jane Grey was Queen of England for nine days. Using her position as cousin to the deceased king, her father and his conspirators put her on the throne ahead of the king’s half-sister Mary, who quickly mustered an army, claimed her crown and locked Jane in the Tower. When Jane refused to betray her Protestant faith, Mary sent her to the executioner’s block. There Jane turned her father’s greedy, failed grab for power into her own brave and tragic martyrdom.

‘Learn you to die’ is the advice that Jane gives in a letter to her younger sister Katherine, who has no intention of dying. She intends to enjoy her beauty and her youth and find love. But her lineage makes her a threat to the insecure and infertile Queen Mary and, when Mary dies, to her sister Queen Elizabeth, who will never allow Katherine to marry and produce a potential royal heir before she does. So when Katherine’s secret marriage is revealed by her pregnancy, she too must go to the Tower.

‘Farewell, my sister,’ writes Katherine to the youngest Grey sister, Mary. A beautiful dwarf, disregarded by the court, Mary finds it easy to keep secrets, especially her own, while avoiding Elizabeth’s suspicious glare. After watching her sisters defy the queen, Mary is aware of her own perilous position as a possible heir to the throne. But she is determined to command her own destiny and be the last Tudor to risk her life in matching wits with her ruthless and unforgiving cousin Elizabeth.

addictive BOOKLOVE Historical Page-Turner

My Thoughts on The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory

The initial thought that hits me over the head is why, OH WHY, did I wait so long to read a Philippa Gregory book?  She has been on my book radar for years but somehow I just never dived into one.  When watching Reign on NetFlix lately, I decided it would be fun to visit the same period but via the English setting.  Now I’m addicted to all the Philippa Gregory books, and reading my way furiously through them.  And I’m loving Reign more than ever.

Now don’t get me wrong they are not comparable in terms of historical accuracy.  Reign is VERY loosely based on fact, and has a soap-opera feel to it.  But I love it.  And then seeing the same figures appear in the Philippa Gregory books is great fun.  Especially knowing that the books are a lot more authentic.

Now I’m not telling you that these are meticulously researched as a fact.  To me they feel that way, and I have been intrigued enough at times to check certain facts out, and they measured up.  That’s good enough for me.  But what I truly love about these books is that they tell women’s stories.  And in an exciting way that makes history come to life.

A tragic tale of three sisters

The Last Tudor features the three Gray sisters.  Jane who comes across as innocent and pious, Katherine who is silly but charming, and Mary who is small in stature but has a heart full of fight.  I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that all died tragically young (after all that’s history), but the loss of life is so striking when you get to know each one personally.

All died for no reason, no reason at all, but to prevent them from taking the throne.  And the story of just how and why each ended up such dire plights will stay with me for a long time.  I love when a book series excites me, and I think it has been a while since I’ve felt so satisfied and fired up as a reader.

The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory has spiralled me into a reading fervour. And I can't read fast enough. Check out the full #bookreview if you love #historicalfiction Click To Tweet


I’m in the exact opposite of a reading slump, not sure what to call it.  Maybe a reading fervour?  All I know is I’m loving it.


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: five-stars

Who should read The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory?

Most people who love historical fiction have probably already tried this author out.  But it you are late to the party like I am, then I can’t recommend these books enough.  Fans of Outlander might also enjoy.





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8 Responses to “Book Review: The Last Tudor by Philippa Gregory”

  1. Jo

    Philippa Gregory is one of my favourite authors! Her books are definitely addictive, I loved this one too!

  2. Kari @ Kari Reads and Writes

    I’ve only read one Philippa Gregory a long time ago, but some historical fictions are so much fun, and this review reads like a soap opera, except set in the past, lol.

    I know about the history, but of course not all the minor details so I’m willing to read this. I’ve heard the author does her homework and tries to remain factual while writing an intriguing tale. Thanks for reminding me that I should pick up a book by her sometime soon!

    • trish

      Such a fun read Kari, and I love how authentic they seem. Hope you get to them sometime and enjoy the series as much as me!

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