Erickson, known best for her lively and popular histories (nearly 20 of them, including The Girl from Botany Bay and Bonnie Prince Charlie) engages with this fictionalized, first-person life of Catherine Parr, who actually survived marriage to the dangerous and mercurial Henry Tudor (famously, of the six wives), and who is arguably his most interesting bride (not least because she had four husbands). Cultured, well-educated and beautiful, "Cat" catches Henry"s eye as a young girl and variously benefits and suffers from his favor all her life. Often married to others when Henry is single, she is both attracted to and repelled by him, but understands him, she feels, better than most. The factional court tightrope Catherine walks is familiar, as is the religious one; her observations cast Princess Elizabeth (soon to be Elizabeth I) and Baron Thomas Seymour (a husband of Catherine"s who wanted to marry Elizabeth) in a less-than-positive light, and the Church of England priests come off as corrupt as the Catholics they replaced. Catherine surprises and delights as her own woman, one who, in the end, gets everything she wants.