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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Book Review: The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory


The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
Paperback, 393 pages
Touchstone
August 28, 2006
★★★★½☆

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Personal Collection

"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.”

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 – England’s King Henry VII’s 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, Arthur’s 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. Gregory’s 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.

Author Philippa Gregory also has written many other books – those among the Tudor Court series include: The Other Boleyn Girl, The Boleyn Inheritance, The Queen’s Fool, The Virgin’s Lover, and The Other Queen.  You can visit Philippa’s website for additional information about the book.

My reviews of other books by this author:

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

 
Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).
 




Copyright © 2009 by The Maiden’s Court

5 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed The Constant Princess. I'm glad you made that statement about this being historical fiction. I can never understand why people complain about the facts in historical fiction. I always go to the back of the book and read the authors note before I start reading the book, I just find this enhances my enjoyment if I know about the facts that have been changed or why the author told the story a certain way. But I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. Can't wait to hear what you think of The Time Traveller's Wife.

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  2. I'm totally with you and Alaine on this..we have to remember that it IS historical FICTION not fact. So it's great to see how an author can be creative and ingeniously create her craft to entertain us perfectly. I don't have this one, but sounds like I should add it to my reading list. Thanks for the great review Heather:)

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  3. I read this book a while ago and really liked it, too! :) Such a great love story between Arthur and Catalina. I'm reading The Last Queen by CW Gortner now so I am being taken back to The Alhambra and I remembered how much I loved Philippa's description of that magical palace. I agree with the girls that the fiction aspect of historical fiction is part of the fun... the only time I think this is untrue is when the story is altered in a way that is actually LESS entertaining than what actually happened in history. aka The Other Boleyn Girl movie. If you like it when the author gets really creative with the story, you will LOVE Signora da Vinci. Glad you liked this one, I think it is one of PG's best!

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  4. This is one of my favorite Gregory novels. She's really good at taking background characters and making them into something more than any other author has allowed - Arthur in this case. I love the writing style as well... this book seemed like a turning point in her writing. I have loved every book published since.

    And, yes, I agree with you all about fiction. There's a lot of ruffled feathers lately because of the creative license that some authors take, but in Gregory's case, she does so subtly and with class.

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  5. I haven't read this PG book because I read some blah reviews. But you gals all love it so I'll add it to my tbr. I know PG isn't always historically accurate, but I'm okay with that. It makes me interested in history and I reseaerch what really happened.

    BTW Heather, like the new design and the buttons on the side are awesome. How did you do that?

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