Summary: This historical fiction follows Katherine of Aragon during her less known years. First as a the daughter of Isabella of Spain, then as wife to Arthure, and during her years as the dowager princess. The last part of the book does have her marriage to Henry but it is given less attention.
My Rating :4/5
I want to start by saying that this book is well written and well researched. Philippa Gregory was recommended to me by a scholarly friend and if you are just looking for a thought provoking historical fiction then this book will be a good fit.
I liked the book but it was a bit too heavy for a simple pleasure read at least for me. I am also reading the Fablehaven series and it is such a long distance between fairy dragons and the tragedies that happened to Katherine of Aragon.
I also felt that if you are familiar with history this book was rather tragic which added to the heaviness of the book.
Katherine and Arthur are a sweet couple and they keep talking about their future. Those familiar with history know that they will never get the happy ending that the reader wants for the young couple. Similarly, as they talk of their heirs on the throne my mind went to Katherine’s daughter bloody Mary who had a horrific reign followed by a lack of heirs. Arthur and Katherine were also devoutly Catholic and so much of what motivates them is their religion. Again, anyone familiar with history knows that it is because of Katherine and also the horrors of her daughter on England that ultimately England becomes Protestant.
I feel like it is most appropriate to say that this book is interesting but not exactly a pleasure read. I would recommend it as a good read but it is not a happy one. The book felt sad and tragic to me while also giving me some more insight into history and Katherine’s early years. Her life prior to Henry is not something I have seen explored and it was indeed fascinating.
Overall, a good and thought provoking book if you are in the mood for a heavier read.