Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
The Constant Princess is the story of Katherine of Aragon, who was the first of Henry VIII's wives. She was a princess of Spain, the daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. She was the mother of Henry's daughter Mary (Bloody Mary).
The story began with Catalina, Infante of Spain, Princess of Wales, and future Queen of England, as a little girl living in Spain. She was beloved by her parents and brought up as a princess of both Spain and England, having been betrothed to Prince Arthur at a young age. Catalina traveled to England at the age of fifteen and married Arthur. After a trying few months, Catalina found herself in love with her husband. Not long after, he died of illness. She struggled to maintain her dignity while being tossed back and forth between her parents and King Henry VII. She fought for her place in England and eventually married Arthur's brother, King Henry VIII.
I really struggled with this book. It was well written and interesting, much like Ms. Gregory's other books on the Tudors, but I had a hard time getting into it. I suppose it was because I knew what was going to happen. There wasn't much mystery really. I enjoyed The Queen's Fool and The Other Boleyn girl more because they were about characters that I didn't know anything about. While I knew about Anne Boleyn, I knew nothing of Mary Boleyn.
I have a confession. . . I skimmed the last hundred pages or so. It was all about battles and war planning. That didn't interest me, I would have rather Katherine have some joy at the birth of Mary, but that was barely touched on. It was a bit of a disappointment over all but I still plan to continue reading her books.