Saturday, March 17, 2012

Book Review: The Constant Princess

Author:Philippa Gregory
Title: The Constant Princess
Publisher: Touchstone
Publish Date: Aug 28, 2006
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: 
"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 love the Tudor period in English history. I'm slowly working my way through Gregory's books about the wives of Henry VIII. The Constant Princess is about Henry's first wife, Catherine of Aragon.

Having read several of Gregory's books, I think I'm catching on to a pattern. She likes history, but she obviously doesn't like the historical people she's writing about. In this book, it is very hard to like Catherine, she comes across as really arrogant, and the lie she tells so that she can rightfully become Queen of England.

I know this is historical fiction but she did play fast and loose with history when it came to Arthur's death by the "sweating sickness." I've read many places that Catherine had the same disease. This isn't even touched on in this book. Instead Gregory gives us a flowery romantic deathbed request from Prince Arthur. I found this a little hard to take.

I also found her treatment of Henry to be a little nasty...ok a lot nasty. Most accounts show they had a good marriage, even if Henry wasn't faithful. (That is until those Boleyns entered the picture)

Gregory's writing seemed a bit erratic, as well. She skipped over years of Catherine's life, and ended the book rather abruptly. I'm not sure if that was because Catherine was part of "The Other Boleyn Girl" or because she just didn't want to go on with her story.

There was so much of Queen Catherine's life that was left out. Heck, she didn't even write about the birth of Princess Mary.

I have to say, I was a little disappointed in this book, mostly because of her portrayal of Catherine and her tampering with history. If you can get past that, it is a good read, but sadly it bugged me to much.

Rating: 3 flowers


Amber at The Musings of ALMYBNENR said...

Great review. I read this a long time ago, definitely before I started book blogging and I did enjoy it, but I agree, you really have to brush aside what you know to get the entertainment value.

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