The Constant Princess October 3 2012

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Summary: "I am Catalina, Princess of Spain, daughter of the two greatest monarchs the world has ever known…and I will be Queen of England."

Thus, bestselling author Philippa Gregory introduces one of her most unforgettable heroines: Katherine of Aragon. Known to history as the Queen who was pushed off her throne by Anne Boleyn, here is a Katherine the world has forgotten: the enchanting princess that all England loved. First married to Henry VIII”s older brother, Arthur, Katherine”s passion turns their arranged marriage into a love match; but when Arthur dies, the merciless English court and her ambitious parents — the crusading King and Queen of Spain — have to find a new role for the widow. Ultimately, it is Katherine herself who takes control of her own life by telling the most audacious lie in English history, leading her to the very pinnacle of power in England.

Set in the rich beauty of Moorish Spain and the glamour of the Tudor court, "The Constant Princess" presents a woman whose constancy helps her endure betrayal, poverty, and despair, until the inevitable moment when she steps into the role she has prepared for all her life: Henry VIII”s Queen, Regent, and commander of the English army in their greatest victory against Scotland.

Review: I have to start off by saying that I’m a little obsessed with the Tudors. I loved The Tudors TV series with Jonathan Rhys Myers and Henry Cavill. It was amazing and I highly recommend it.

It was interesting to see how the book started with Katherine as a child, though it made sense as the book went on – it helped the explain the decisions that Katherine made and where her motivation came from. I thought it also gave a fuller picture of what was going on in Europe at the time.

Getting to see Henry as a young prince who was never really meant to be king was something that I really enjoyed. I never really thought much about where he came from before, but his decisions later in life definitely made more sense with his childhood as context.

It was interesting to get Katherine’s point of view as well. I liked hearing about a strong woman who knew what she wanted and was willing to do the hard work to get what she wanted.

While I know there’s a lot in this book that isn’t true, I think that’s the fun of historical fiction.

I’ve read The Other Boleyn Girl a few years ago, and after reading The Constant Princess, I’m really looking forward to reading The Other Boleyn Girl again, this time with the foundation of knowing more about Katherine.

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