Philippa Gregory does a fantastic job with historical novels. I gained a newfound respect for a Queen who is typically portrayed as a simpering, jealous older woman. Gregory shows us the strength in Catherine...I thoroughly enjoyed this new insight into this historic character.
I have always had sympathy for Katherine of Aragon, and now I have even more. What a lovely story of courage, fortitude, and love. Once again, Philippa Gregory has written a well-researched fictional account of historical events. While no one knows exactly why Katherine did things as she did them, Gregory's book provides a plausible and compelling reason. I hope you will enjoy this book as thoroughly as I did.
The story of Henry VIII's first queen, Katherine (or Catalina, if you will) of Aragon. Despite his later infidelity, Henry would always regard Katherine as superior to his other queens in terms of dignity and regal bearing. This novel describes Katherine's upbringing and reign as queen of Henry's heart up to the entrance and rise of Anne Boleyn. It reveals much of the source of her sense of her own destiny as a born princess and queen. It's heartbreaking to read of the trials this woman went through, first as the abandoned widow of Henry's elder brother Arthur, then as the Queen rejected by her husband. However, because of her nature as a "constant princess", this novel is not quite as dishy and enjoyable as Boleyn Girl or Virgin's Lover. Still, a great read.
Katherine of Aragon is mostly ignored in books about this time in history, other than that she was pushed off the English throne by Anne Boleyn and was the mother of Queen Mary. This is a fascinating account of Katherine as a person in her own right and relates how she helped shape the early years of Henry VIII's reign -- another Gregory triumph.
This is a wonderful story of Katherine of Aragon and her life. It is a fantastic retelling of many events from her time with her parents on the battlefield and continuing through her marriage to Arthur and Henry the Eighth.
Although this book was quite enjoyable, it got very repetitive at times. Really, if I had to read "I am ready to make my destiny, to take my place in history," etc. or something with similar wording, one more time, I would have throw the book across the room. However, I did enjoy the subject matter. Katherine of Aragon is often regulated to the margins of history...she's Henry VIII's first wife, cast aside for Anne Boleyn. It was nice to see her as a more 3-dimensional person. I liked how Philippa Gregory built on what Katherine's relationship with her first husband, Arthur, may have been like (since do we really know what happens behind closed doors), and that Katherine may have had her own motives for wanting to marry Henry. Gregory also did a nice job showing how Katherine's childhood with militant monarch parents may have shaped her outlook on life (and I got a totally different perspective of Ferdinand and Isabella as rulers...very different than the king and queen who sent Christopher Columbus on his voyage that you learned about in school). It was also refreshing to see the Moors of Spain in a positive light as a well-educated civilization and to see the English and Spanish as being the ones that were less civilized, since usually this is portrayed the other way around.
Very enjoyable Historical Fiction about the first wife of Henry VIII. P. Gregory did a great job weaving this tale. She gave life to many of the historical characters one learns very little about in our traditional education system.
Historical-fiction, well written story of Katherine of Aragon, Queen of England and her life. Begins when she leaves her home in Spain to marry into the Tudor family. Very enjoyable, easy to read, keeps your interest.
This book is well written and a good read, but it wasn't a book I couldn't easily put down. It inspired some research into the Tudor family thereby growing my store of knowledge. Overall, I am glad I read this book.
The woman that we have all come to know as Queen Katherine of Aragon began as the Infanta Catalina of Spain. As is expected of any princess, a marriage is arranged for her; she is to marry Prince Arthur Englands King Henry VIIs eldest son. Upon reaching England, Catalina finds that this marriage is not what she expects it to be, and neither is the boy she married. As fate would have it, Arthurs life is extinguished during The Sweat that swept England soon after their marriage. King Henry, not wanting to lose the valuable asset he just brought to England, soon marries her to his other son, who would later become Henry VIII
This was my first Philippa Gregory book that I read and I was NOT disappointed. There is an amazing love story that really pulled on my heart strings. I instantly connected with Catalina (I continued to think of her as that throughout the whole book) and very strongly felt what she felt. Gregorys writing style instantly pulls you in and never lets go until the end. I enjoyed getting to know Catalina from her early days, something that is not really focused on in other novels.
Gregory DOES change many events in the book from what is known to have really happened. The good thing about this though, is that this is Historical Fiction and that is what I expect. If you are looking for true facts, check out a non-fiction book, but for a good story, try this on for size.
A good read for lovers of history and romance. It is about Katherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII, daughter of Isabella ( the Queen who commissioned Christopher Columbus) and Ferdinand, rulers of Spain. It is set in England in the 1400-1500 era. In order to become Queen of England Katherine must tell one huge whopper of a lie. She does and it works for some time. Full of intrigue and believable characters. I liked it a lot.
I found The Constant Princess to be a very, very enjoyable read. It took me a little while to get used to format- Gregory uses italics and present tense for Catalina's own point of view- but once I understood where the character was coming from, the format made perfect sense. The love story runs very deeply, and it made for a very nice tale.
This book is, in my opinion, Gregorys best novel. Some historical fiction can be a little too tawdry for my taste. (But dont get me wrong, tawdry is awesome as long as its accompanied by some substance I can sink my teeth into). Gregorys novels can lose this balance every now and then and she is sometimes guilty of repetitive phrases that can force your mind to wander. I did not notice these pitfalls in this particular novel.
There are, of course, passionate love scenes (because what hf would be complete without them?!?!?) But she does it with enough nuance that I found that not only did I not mind it, but it truly enriched the story.
It was a little hard to get into at first, as military history was my downfall in college and it begins describing Catherine of Aragons life as the youngest daughter of the Catholic warmongers Ferdinand and Isabella. Tudorphiles often forget that Catherine of Aragon was the infanta. She was quite beautiful when she was young and she was the daughter of Spains most glorious monarchs. Needless to say, I found myself drawn into the story.
I was extremely emotionally affected by many episodes in the book and by Gregory's interpretation of Catherines oh-so-debated virginity after her first husbands (Arthur) death. In fact, had to put the book down for a week because I couldn't think about anything else and it was really getting to me. It reads like an alternative history and it breaks your heart to think that this woman, who is so often portrayed as the dowdy, helpless first wife of the infamous Henry VIII, could have lived such a painfully sweet existence.
The ending is abrupt but necessary for your sanity after the heartbreak that you will feel throughout the book's duration. I recommend this novel for amateur and professional historians everywhere but beware: you must have not let your historical prowess get the best of you. Just enjoy the story for what it is.
I really liked the background story here of Katherine of Aragon, but I have to say, I liked it not loved it like I loved The Other Boleyn Girl and Boleyn Inheritance.... this one seemed a little repetitive in places, and it annoyed me how the Moors were described as "the good guys" and the catholics "the bad guys".. again a repetitive theme throughout the book. It is also jarring towards the end where it skips forward 13 (or was it 16?) years... you must ready The Other Boleyn Girl before this one to make that quirk make sense, I think... even though chronologically this one is before TOBG. All in all, though, a fine read and another view into the crazy world of those wacky Tudors!!
I really enjoyed this book. It really shows the struggle that Katherine of Aragon had to go through to get to be the Queen. I had so much sympathy for her and the way she had to live when she was younger, but admired her determination.
I had been a lover of this genre for years and then (somehow) gotten off track and gone through a 'dark' paranormal romance phase. I was intrigued to this arc of novels by the movie, "The Other Boleyn Girl". I decided to begin at the beginning so to speak. Historically speaking this is the 'first' story, and it really is compelling and intimate. I was so intrigued by her devotion to her mother and her mother's ~version~ of God's Will. It is an exciting tale, and Gregory's use of the third person and then first person narrative weaves a story with more depth and nuance than I was expecting. I am now happily reading the next book in this arc, The Other Boleyn Girl, and it does not disappoint either! ~Susanne
I've read almost all the Tudor period books in this series - The Other Boleyn Girl, The Virgin's Lover, The Queen's Fool (The Other Queen is still on my Wish List!) - and this was definitely one of the most interesting of the series. It didn't drag like The Virgin's Lover, and learning about Katherine of Aragon's background as the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella was fascinating. Highly recommend.
I've read 8 PG books and this was not my favorite. If I had to rank them in order it would be (favored to least) - The Boleyn Inheritance, The Other Boleyn Girl, The Queen's Fool, Meridon, Wideacre, The Favored Child, The Virgin's Lover, and Constant Princess.
The book was really great. You get inside the head of Queen Katherine. The writing style alternated between her private thoughts in the first person and second person narrating and it worked very well. This book has larger type than the mass market type of paperback.
I enjoy historical fiction and thought I would give this book a try. I found it extremely flat and not very entertaining. Catalina comes across as shallow and one-dimensional. Her character is never truly, deeply developed. Even the writing is flat and so repetitive. If Catalina would have said that she will be Queen of England one more time, I would have burst into tears. I also found the italicized personal thoughts that are sprinkled randomly throughout the story very distracting and they did not move the story forward. I didn't finish the book...too many other books waiting on my shelf...so maybe it gets better towards the end. I might try another Philippa Gregory book but this one was not for me.
Excellent writing. great attention to detail. Liked the way the author wove the thinking of Katherine of Aragon with the actual events that were happening around her. You get a feeling for the time as well as the characters perspectives. It was an amazing time.
A beautiful portrait of Catherine of Aragon in her younger, fighting years. I found myself most fascinated with her childhood and her parents, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, more than I cared what happened to her after she married Henry VIII to become his first wife. The book gives you a new respect for the woman tossed aside for Anne Boleyn. How foolish of King Henry to get rid of such a woman! Catherine of Aragon is absolutely a strong, fascinating, charming, and (unlike her successor), a good woman. Wonderful story.
Oh... this was good! It's a nice change to read from the "woman's" perspective. How awesome it would be to read the real diaries of history's famous women. I can hardly wait to get onto the next couple of books within this series!
I have been reading much about English history and this gives more insight to Katherine and her life, hard to put down, made her actions so much more understandable and her early life in Spain provided understanding of the woman she became, even in the worst times. This book also gives us understanding of what shaped Henry the VIII into the selfish despot he became
Although I liked this book in general, I was a little disappointed in the ending. The book was very detailed about Katherine's life up until Anne Boleyn, then it was rushed. I didn't like this book nearly as much as The Other Boleyn Girl or The Queen's Fool.
I am still reading this book, and so far am loving it. This is my 3rd book by Philippa Gregory. I have always been interested in the royal families and her books make it interesting to incorporate some historical events with some fiction.
This was my first Philippa Gregory book, and I really did enjoy it. I liked to think about what could have happened, how the situations and personal times of these historical figures, in this case Catherine of Aragon, played out. Its a different and mostly intestine take on history. If your a fan of the Tudor Dynasty or historical fiction I reccomend this book.
Well written, like most of Philippa Gregory's works; however, very much an apologist for Queen Katherine of Aragon. This book falls under the genre of 'Saint Katherine' and ignores some of the baser and more self serving aspects of Katherine's personality. However, very readable and believable.
This is the story of Katherine of Aragon. A young women raised to be Queen who went to great lengths to fulfill a deathbed promise. In order to keep her promise she must tell a crucial lie that changed the course of history. This is another great book by Philippa Gregory. I now want read more about Katherine's life. There is more to her story than just being the old, devout, dull queen that Henry VIII divorces for the young ambitious Anne Boleyn.
I bought all of Philippa Gregory's books and this was the first I read. I really hope this book is not like her others. I felt the story was kind of monotone while I was reading it (if that makes sense?) and I got bored in most parts. I liked how it went back in forth between the narrator and Katherine's point of view but that was about it. Kahterine was really the only character I grew to enjoy.
The Constant Princess indulges us with the long forgotten stories of the upbringing and the trials endured by the beautiful and beloved Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife.
She was his first love, and beloved by all England. Gregory takes us back before Anne Boleyn wreaked her havoc on the Tudor court, to Katherine's youth in Moorish Spain, through her childhood fancies and her knowledge that one day she would be a Queen of England. We taste her romance with her first husband, and feel her despair when tragedy strikes. Through sorrow and poverty, cruelty and finally the triumph of taking on the role she was brought up for, Gregory keeps the reader constantly enchanted with one of history's most unshakable characters.
I had trouble putting this book down! The writing really is amazing, and the reader is pulled right along with Katherine, Catalina of Spain, Queen of England, an ever constant, ever beautiful character. It is a beautiful portrayal and a must read!
Not Gregory's best work, but still worth the read. The story is interesting in that it shows Queen Katherine in a different light. I do wish that the story contained a little more about Katherine's relationship with Henry, but found the romance between her and Arthur very compelling. All in all it was an enjoyable read, but I would recommend reading other Philippa Gregory books first.
Loved this book - kept me hooked all the way through. Part of the way through I had to look up the life of Katherine of Aragon, just to find out what happened, because the suspense was killing me. Amazing woman!
I loved reading this as a prequel to The other Boleyn Girl. I have never liked romance novels and this is kind of in that genre, but for some reason, those snappy Boleyn's kept me riveted. I am now a P Gregory fan, and boy is that a surprise! Good escapist reading.
I enjoyed this book. Katherine is someone that we don't hear much about until she is being dethroned by Anne Boleyn. It was very interesting to be reminded that she had history before this happened. It was also good to remember that Henry came from somewhere too. The book was a good read and if you enjoy historical novels, this is a good one of balancing history and character.
Very interesting love story. Katherine fights for her for her mother, her love and her crown. She over comes many obstacles to become what she was always meant to be. It does drag a bit for my tastes but the story itself is very moving. I absolutely love Philippa Gregory. Can't wait to start on another of her titles. This book will stay on my bookshelf to be read again.
I loved the book up until the ending. I was disappointed that it focused only on the wars instead of the Katherine/Henry/Anne triangle; what happened at the trial and afterward?? Weren't there interactions between Katherine and Anne throughout the affair??
I thoroughly enjoyed this book about the Spanish Queen of England. The character development of Catalina (Katherine) expertly took you from her childhood in Moorish palaces to the Queen who controlled and manipulated a young King Henry in order to rule England her own way. I now think of Katherine of Aragon as more than just Henry VIIIs first wife and victim.
Catalina, was born the last daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. Her childhood had many contrasts constant war with the Moors and other neighbors in an effort by her parents to unify Spain into one country; but also a childhood of luxury and beauty in the Moorish palaces conquered by her famous parents. Catalina was betrothed to Prince Arthur in England at her birth and her parents raised her to know she was destined to be Princess of Wales and Queen of England. This marriage was planned to form a political alliance between Spain and England so the 2 countries could become an invincible war machine against their enemies.
As a young girl of 16, she was sent to England to marry Prince Arthur who dies months after their marriage. After his death, Catalina is left alone and destitute by her Spanish family and the English Tudor family, but she maintains her dignity and assertion that she was born to be Queen of England she is the Constant Princess. She grows into a strong and determined woman and endures loneliness, rejection and poverty in a foreign land away from her family and friends to get what she wants. I highly recommend this fictional account of Katherines life.
I thought this was much better than The Queen's Fool but not as good as The Other Boleyn Girl. I've gotten used to Gregory's repetitious writing style. The minor historical changes she made didn't bother me. It is fiction after all. A minor nitpick: I wish her thoughts about Bessie Blount and Henry Fitzroy had been included.
An amazing view of the life and experiences of Katherine, Queen of England. The Spanish princess who endured much to fulfil her destiny. As always, Philippa Gregory has researched the time and the woman, but then she creates a living, breathing person as she tells her story. She uses interior monologue to reveal the private life and thoughts, pulling us deep into the emotional depths of Catalina's struggle to become Queen.
I thoroughly enjoyed "The Other Boelyn Girl" and "The Queen's Fool" so I was very excited to recieve The Constant Princess. Unfortunately, this book was not on par with Gregory's other books. It started off great, I loved the descriptions of the Alhambra and Spain. But towards the end, I actually found myself counting pages to see how much longer I had until I was finished. I am very glad I got through it b/c it was incredibly interesting to read about the Henry VIII/Anne Boelyn affair from Katherine's supposed perspective, but it took some dedication on my part.
I really enjoyed this book. The author does a great job describe the time so we understand why the characters do the things they do. This story historically takes place before her previous published books but that doesn't take away any enjoyment into the story. This book centers on Catherine of Aragon.
Although some of this book is based on speculation it is interesting to have history interpreted at such a personal level. I feel for the wives of Henry VIII who was a monster and murderer. The Spanish Princess, later Queen of England, Katherine was wonderful.
This is the story of Katherine of Aragon and her struggle to overcome in her rise to become a beloved Queen of England. Best known for being displaced in favor of Anne Boleyn, this is the story before Anne's reign. Of Katherine's betrothal since birth to the English prince and of her childhood with her mother Queen Isabella. A smart, loyal, and wise young woman, Katherine marries her husband's brother after his death in order to secure her place as queen and does the work of both monarchs.
"The Constant Princess" was a decently good read. It was not as engaging or page turning as "The Other Boleyn Girl," but it had its merits. I enjoyed reading about a historical figure that I had only known as a minor character in other historical novels. It was interesting to see someone whom I thought of as fairly insignificant in a spotlight role. I learned a lot about the reign of Katherine of Aragon and about her as a person. At first I will admit, I didn't like her very much. In the beginning Gregory has the character go on and on about how she thinks she is the grace of God himself and chosen to be the Queen from birth. It made me feel as if the character was deluded and fanciful.
As the plot went on however, the young Princess was no stranger to hardship and I liked her more and more. I feel that this is the mark of a very good author when he/she can make me feel so attached to the character as a person, not just a character.
However, after Katherine's initial struggles to become Queen (a little more than halfway through the book), the excitement and mystery of the book was no longer as enthralling. Mostly it talked about her struggle with miscarriages, the death of her child, and her struggle to keep her younger husband away from women who try to seduce him.
I actually put the book down about 10 - 20 pages from the very end. I just kind of stopped caring and was looking to go on to something else. So overall, "The Constant Princess" was a good, if not a great, read.
A good, quick read but the entire book is based on the conviction that Catherine or Aragon's first marriage was never consummated. The author even asserts that she does actually believe such to be the case.
In my own opinion, as pious & sincerely religious as Catherine was, I do not think she would have stated, let alone held on to such a falsehood without at least confessing on her deathbed. In most source studies Arthur's ill health noted & believed to be the reason why it was not consummated, as could very well have been the case.
Prior to reading this book, all I really knew of Katherine of Aragon was that she was Henry VIIIs first wife, previously married to his brother Arthur. And that I always want to call her Katherine of Aragorn because of LOTR.
I decided I wanted to read a bit about Katherineultimately I want to read a bunch about each of Henrys wives. But because I didnt know much about her, I started this book not necessarily liking it much. I had a difficult time getting used to the format, switching between an outside narative and Katherines personal view of different situations.
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" Raised on the battlefield and in the most beautiful Moorish palace in the world, sent to England alone at the age of sixteen to take her place in a court where she couldn't speak the language, and abandoned and forced to endure poverty after the death of her husband, Katherine remained a woman of indomitable spirit, unwavering faith, and extraordinary strength. Phillipa Gregory bring to life one of history's most inspiring women and creates one of the most compelling characters in historical fiction."
Interesting history of Katherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife & how she attained her esteemed position to become Queen. I got lost with the overwhelming details of the battles, the political jockeying going on in the last quarter of the book. It was confusing & bored me. Over all a good book but not a favorite. Liked The other Boleyn girl MUCH better.