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Katharine of Aragon: The Wives of Henry VIII

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Author: Jean Plaidy

Published: February 22nd 2005 by Broadway Books (first published 1962)

Format: Paperback , 661 pages

Isbn: 9780609810255

Language: English


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For the first time in paperback--all three of Jean Plaidy's Katharine of Aragon novels in one volume. Legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy begins her tales of Henry VIII's queens with the story of his first wife, the Spanish princess Katharine of Aragon. As a teenager, Katharine leaves her beloved Spain, land of olive groves and soaring cathedrals, for the drab, rainy i For the first time in paperback--all three of Jean Plaidy's Katharine of Aragon novels in one volume. Legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy begins her tales of Henry VIII's queens with the story of his first wife, the Spanish princess Katharine of Aragon. As a teenager, Katharine leaves her beloved Spain, land of olive groves and soaring cathedrals, for the drab, rainy island of England. There she is married to the king's eldest son, Arthur, a sickly boy who dies six months after the wedding. Katharine is left a widow who was never truly a wife, lonely in a strange land, with a very bleak future. Her only hope of escape is to marry the king's second son, Prince Henry, now heir to the throne. Tall, athletic, handsome, a lover of poetry and music, Henry is all that Katharine could want in a husband. But their first son dies and, after many more pregnancies, only one child survives, a daughter. Disappointed by his lack of an heir, Henry's eye wanders, and he becomes enamored of another woman--a country nobleman's daughter named Anne Boleyn. When Henry begins searching for ways to put aside his loyal first wife, Katharine must fight to remain Queen of England and to keep the husband she once loved so dearly.

30 review for Katharine of Aragon: The Wives of Henry VIII

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tania

    This title actually encompasses a trilogy originally published as 3 separate works: “Katharine the Virgin Widow,” “The Shadow of the Pomegranate,” and “The King’s Secret Matter.” Katharine was the first (and longest) wife of Henry VIII, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella (rulers of Spain). Without dwelling on the fascinating story of Queen Katharine who was undoubtedly the purest and most deserving of Henry’s wives, I’d rather speak of the author, Jean Plaidy. With the discovery of this author I’ This title actually encompasses a trilogy originally published as 3 separate works: “Katharine the Virgin Widow,” “The Shadow of the Pomegranate,” and “The King’s Secret Matter.” Katharine was the first (and longest) wife of Henry VIII, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella (rulers of Spain). Without dwelling on the fascinating story of Queen Katharine who was undoubtedly the purest and most deserving of Henry’s wives, I’d rather speak of the author, Jean Plaidy. With the discovery of this author I’ve uncovered a treasure trove of reading – she had 183 published works under 5 names at the time of her death. Many of them on the middle ages of Royalty in Europe, an astounding number dealing with the Tudors. She writes with an authority that can be felt, a feeling of historical accuracy and intimacy with the characters. Her detailed descriptions of characters, place and historical events, as well as the sense of individual perspectives, is entertaining and though the book was long it was not in the least bit dry; rather it was totally engrossing.

  2. 5 out of 5

    The Book Queen

    2.5 stars I've heard a lot of good stuff about Jean Plaidy's books, and to be honest I was disappointed. I think historical fiction is a very hard genre to write about; you've got to keep the story interesting, but also stay true to the facts. I think Plaidy did a lot more of the latter than the former. I'm not one of those people who are obsessed with everything in a historical novel being totally accurate; I like it to be more or less true, with more emphasis on the story than the history. That' 2.5 stars I've heard a lot of good stuff about Jean Plaidy's books, and to be honest I was disappointed. I think historical fiction is a very hard genre to write about; you've got to keep the story interesting, but also stay true to the facts. I think Plaidy did a lot more of the latter than the former. I'm not one of those people who are obsessed with everything in a historical novel being totally accurate; I like it to be more or less true, with more emphasis on the story than the history. That's why I wasn't very keen on this trilogy. The characters were bland and insipid, the speech was awkward and stilted, and there were way too many info-dumps. I won't be reading any of this author's work in the future.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sara Giacalone

    Whew! This is a big, long book (it's really three books in one). I enjoyed it overall, even if it seemed a bit familiar. The characters are well developed (if a bit familiar in their portrayal) and the plot moves along nicely throughout. I will continue reading the series...

  4. 4 out of 5

    Penni

    It was a long investment in time and it would have ranked much higher if it had only been a bit shorter. But it wasn't until after the reading that I learned it is actually 3 books in one. But that is what happens when you read on the Kindle. As I was reading the scale in which I planned to score this went anywhere from a 2 -5. So if you like a lot of history in your Historical Fiction then you will enjoy.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Very good book about the life of Henry VIII's first wife. This book is really 3 books in 1, with the first book beginning with Katherine's coming to England to marry Arthur, who will one day be king when his father, Henry VII, dies. The book continues with Katherine marry Henry when Arthur dies, though it is several years later. Katherine is kept waiting for years in England until Henry finally decides he wants to marry her, basically because all of his advisors warn him not to do so. The marria Very good book about the life of Henry VIII's first wife. This book is really 3 books in 1, with the first book beginning with Katherine's coming to England to marry Arthur, who will one day be king when his father, Henry VII, dies. The book continues with Katherine marry Henry when Arthur dies, though it is several years later. Katherine is kept waiting for years in England until Henry finally decides he wants to marry her, basically because all of his advisors warn him not to do so. The marriage is, at first, very loving, with Henry and Katherine constantly being together. They try, unsuccessfully, again and again to conceive an heir. Henry's eye soon wanders to another, Lady Bessie Blount, who proceeds to give Henry a son. Katherine finally gives birth to a daughter, but Henry and Katherine continue to grow further apart. The Roman Catholic Church and the Pope both dislike Henry, and will not grant his request for a divorce. Finally, Henry gets the divorce he wants because he basically makes himself the Supreme Ruler of the Church of England. Katherine is sent away so that Henry can marry Ann Boleyn, who despises Katherine and her daughter, Mary. At the end of the book, Katherine dies with her best friend and former lady-in-waiting. It can be seen that Katherine of Aragon was a proud lady who alwyas tried to do what was best for her country of Spain,and later for both Henry and England, even though it was not always to her benefit. Much sympathy could be felt for Katherine in all of the trials she had to endure, especially with the King's treatment of her once he grew tired of her. This book was a little long, but well-worth the read!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mandy Moody

    Katherine of Aragon is actually a trilogy of books that were originally published separately, but have now been combined into one volume, with each book representing a separate part. As I read it, I thanked God that it had been combined like it was. At times I really loved this book, at times I really hated it. The first part was incredibly slow for me. The period between Katherine arriving in England and marrying Arthur, the period between Arthurs death and Katherine marrying Henry - both dragge Katherine of Aragon is actually a trilogy of books that were originally published separately, but have now been combined into one volume, with each book representing a separate part. As I read it, I thanked God that it had been combined like it was. At times I really loved this book, at times I really hated it. The first part was incredibly slow for me. The period between Katherine arriving in England and marrying Arthur, the period between Arthurs death and Katherine marrying Henry - both dragged on for ages. When it finally wrapped up and I realized that the slow begining of this book had been an entire stand-alone novel at one point I wondered how anyone had ever read it as that! The second part was my favorite - maybe because it was about the portion of Katherine's life when she was actually happy. I thought Plaidy's knowledge of the time period and Katherine's relationship with Henry was outstanding. The third book started off very well, but ended up even slower than the first book. Katherine and Henry's estrangement (the time between when he attempted to divorce her and the time that he actually married Anne Boleyn) in real life lasted about 8 years. Reading about it felt like three times that. Jean Plaidy seemed to be very sympathetic towards Katherine, so much so that I'd be interested to see how she portrays Anne Boleyn. Overall, I think it was a good, solid portrayal of Katherine's life. I would have rated it 3.5 stars were half stars allowed :)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Irka

    I'm not sure if it was the translation issue or something else, but this is seriously boring. I did gave it a try, quite a few times and it was really annoying, so I honestly give up on reading it further.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christine Cazeneuve

    By far my favorite book on Katharine of Aragon. This is actually three books combined into one and was a page turner. I have read many books on Queen Katharine but I feel I came to know her the best through Jean Plaidy's wonderful novel.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Leeanna

    Katharine of Aragon, by Jean Plaidy "Katharine of Aragon," by Jean Plaidy, is actually an omnibus of the author's three previous novels about Henry VIII's first queen. The books are: "Katharine, the Virgin Widow," "The Shadow of the Pomegranate," and "The King's Secret Matter." So this volume is a great deal, as you're really getting three books for the price of one. Plaidy is an excellent historical fiction writer. I'd seen her recommended several times, and was eager to read something of hers. K Katharine of Aragon, by Jean Plaidy "Katharine of Aragon," by Jean Plaidy, is actually an omnibus of the author's three previous novels about Henry VIII's first queen. The books are: "Katharine, the Virgin Widow," "The Shadow of the Pomegranate," and "The King's Secret Matter." So this volume is a great deal, as you're really getting three books for the price of one. Plaidy is an excellent historical fiction writer. I'd seen her recommended several times, and was eager to read something of hers. Katharine happens to be a favorite figure of mine, but Plaidy has written novels on just about anyone you could want to read about in English history. "Katharine, the Virgin Widow" focuses on the young princess and her first marriage to Henry's brother, Arthur. The book starts with Katharine's journey from Spain to England; I would have liked to see Plaidy write some scenes from the princess's life before England - references are made to her "previous" life quite a bit, and it would have been nice to read some of them, rather than just get a line or two of memories. But otherwise, a great book, that introduces readers the different players in the English monarchy and politics. "The Shadow of the Pomegranate" continues Katharine's story after her marriage to Henry VIII, and focuses on her difficulty to conceive an heir. "The King's Secret Matter" finishes Katharine's sad tale, recounting Henry's efforts to divorce his wife and marry Anne Boleyn. Plaidy captures Katharine's dignity and fight to remain a queen through all of Henry's machinations to set her aside. Plaidy pens an engrossing story of Katharine of Argaon, one that fans of historical Tudor fiction will surely enjoy. I'll definitely be picking up more of her novels, because I think they are great introductions for periods or people I'm unfamiliar with. 4/5.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Robinson

    What I really enjoy about Plaidy's work is her respect for the known or documented history of the time that she writes about she faithfully depicts the era in this novel. I enjoyed reading about events that have been documented in nonfiction sources. I found Katherine to be an interesting and sympathetic subject. I felt sorry for what she was made to suffer but I also was able to see her as an admirable woman who would not easily be victimized. She stood up for herself, as much as she could, aga What I really enjoy about Plaidy's work is her respect for the known or documented history of the time that she writes about she faithfully depicts the era in this novel. I enjoyed reading about events that have been documented in nonfiction sources. I found Katherine to be an interesting and sympathetic subject. I felt sorry for what she was made to suffer but I also was able to see her as an admirable woman who would not easily be victimized. She stood up for herself, as much as she could, against the tyranny of Henry and the maliciousness of Anne Boelyne. This book is a compilation of several of Plaidy's earlier novels, so, if you have read any of them, as I had already read Katherine of Aragon parts of this novel will just be a review for you. Again I will say Plaidy is well worth the read and is far superior, in content, to some what is currently being offered in this genre.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura Pre

    God knows I hate to give Plaidy a bad review. She's my role model. At the same time, I have to point out what I big disappointment this book was for me. The main reason is that it focuses very little on Catherine herself. Far too much of it is about her sister, Joan. Joan is a fascinating woman, and C. W. Gornter covered her in a masterful book. But if you title a book about Catherine, give the poor woman her due. Henry VIII passed over her and Plaidy committed the same sin by relegating her to God knows I hate to give Plaidy a bad review. She's my role model. At the same time, I have to point out what I big disappointment this book was for me. The main reason is that it focuses very little on Catherine herself. Far too much of it is about her sister, Joan. Joan is a fascinating woman, and C. W. Gornter covered her in a masterful book. But if you title a book about Catherine, give the poor woman her due. Henry VIII passed over her and Plaidy committed the same sin by relegating her to supporting character in her own novel.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    I have to admit I didn't finish this one. The first section, which would have been book 2 of the series had I gotten them separately, basically just retold the last half of book 1 from a different point of view, and had I known this I would've skipped it altogether. So far my impression of this author is that she tells a good story, but takes a lot longer than necessary to tell it. I just couldn't get through this one.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Wen

    I really enjoyed this book. It is actually 3 novels in one. They are all about Katherine of Aragon and are about her life from a young girl to her death. It paints Katherine of Aragon as a very strong if not stubborn woman. Filled with historical facts as well as speculations as to how these people really were when alive makes this book well worth reading.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Since I'm a big fan of historical novels and especially when writer/author brings in genuine true historical figures like King Henry VIII & his first wife Katharine of Aragon this is a winner. Jean Plaidy brought Katharine to life for me and also evoked much sympathy for her position and her difficult struggles with her husband King. Since I'm a big fan of historical novels and especially when writer/author brings in genuine true historical figures like King Henry VIII & his first wife Katharine of Aragon this is a winner. Jean Plaidy brought Katharine to life for me and also evoked much sympathy for her position and her difficult struggles with her husband King.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    I love all of Jean Plaidy's books I have read up to this point. I feel she brings historical characters to life and makes you feel as though these could be anyone or that any person could go through the same pitfalls and triumphs as the historical figures featured in each book. Worth reading.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Quinn

    this is dragging on...

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jeralyn lovell

    Loved this fictional account based on her true story. Wow! She's quite the queen.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Helen Robare

    I am rereading all Jean Plaidy's books and she does not disappoint me at the age of 62 any more than when I was 14! (that is to say she continues to enthrall me as much as she did in my youth with her stories of British history. The story of Catherine of Aragon is a rag to riches to rags story that tears at the heartstrings. Catherine was the beloved youngest daughter of Queen Isabella of Spain (yes, the Queen that financed Columbus). Catherine was sent off to England at an early age to marry th I am rereading all Jean Plaidy's books and she does not disappoint me at the age of 62 any more than when I was 14! (that is to say she continues to enthrall me as much as she did in my youth with her stories of British history. The story of Catherine of Aragon is a rag to riches to rags story that tears at the heartstrings. Catherine was the beloved youngest daughter of Queen Isabella of Spain (yes, the Queen that financed Columbus). Catherine was sent off to England at an early age to marry the heir to the throne, Prince Arthur. Arthur dies shortly after the marriage and Catherine's father in law (Henry VII) won't send her back to Spain because her dowry hasn't been paid in full. He keeps Catherine short on cash and living meanly. After the old man dies, the 2nd son (Henry VIII) sees Catherine as his shining princess and marries her! For 24 years she lives as Henry's wife and then his eyes land on another woman... and there I will leave it. Suffice it to say that even decades after learning about Catherine of Aragon, my heart still goes out to her. Anyone with an interest in British history should look into this author. Her books are perfect for the younger reader who is new to British history and yet interesting and well written so as to appeal to the older more mature reader. Jean Plaidy is a timeless writer of history.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Simon

    Though written more than fifty years ago this trilogy of novels about Katharine of Aragon is still a highly enjoyable read. I found Jean Plaidy’s telling of the related stories of Katharine’s father, sister and nephew added an interesting European political dimension to this tragic tale, popularised in recent television historical dramas such as “The Tudors” and ”Wolf Hall”. I am very tempted to go on and read the prequels and sequels to this story in Jean Plaidy’s prolific output, but as I have Though written more than fifty years ago this trilogy of novels about Katharine of Aragon is still a highly enjoyable read. I found Jean Plaidy’s telling of the related stories of Katharine’s father, sister and nephew added an interesting European political dimension to this tragic tale, popularised in recent television historical dramas such as “The Tudors” and ”Wolf Hall”. I am very tempted to go on and read the prequels and sequels to this story in Jean Plaidy’s prolific output, but as I have so many other novels queuing up in my reading list I really must resist the temptation!

  20. 5 out of 5

    betty russell

    Queen Katherine That poor poor woman. I feel bad for any woman or man for that matter, that ever got tangled up with that spoiled brat of king, Henry. He was horrible to anyone that didn't agree with him. But he was mostly unfair to the one who stilled wanted to be married to the monster. Such a sad story for kind Queen.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    Quite a long book to get through! But it did provide a detailed look into Katharine of Aragon's rise and fall as Henry VIII's first Queen. I felt this did a good job portraying the main characters in this drama- Henry came across as a petulant, self-centered man while Katharine seemed to be stubbornly loyal and virtuous. A good overview of the King's first marriage while providing some insight into the Hapsburg, French and Spanish courts as well. I found it odd that Thomas More did not have a la Quite a long book to get through! But it did provide a detailed look into Katharine of Aragon's rise and fall as Henry VIII's first Queen. I felt this did a good job portraying the main characters in this drama- Henry came across as a petulant, self-centered man while Katharine seemed to be stubbornly loyal and virtuous. A good overview of the King's first marriage while providing some insight into the Hapsburg, French and Spanish courts as well. I found it odd that Thomas More did not have a larger role in the story; he seemed to be even less than a minor character.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia T Cannon

    I enjoyed this historical. Novel I have read other biographies of Katherine and this is one of the best for bringing historical facts to life.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Teresa

    excellent

  24. 4 out of 5

    Karla

    I'm often lukewarm about Plaidy's books, even though I'd choose her stuff above most of today's HF. Sometimes the prose is too simplistic or there is too much repetition as the same points are brought up over and over again within the span of a few pages. This book was no different on the latter point, but there seemed to be a depth in the character of Katharine that was lacking in her books on Catherine of Valois (The Queen's Secret) and Margaret Tudor (The Thistle and the Rose). Katharine's fo I'm often lukewarm about Plaidy's books, even though I'd choose her stuff above most of today's HF. Sometimes the prose is too simplistic or there is too much repetition as the same points are brought up over and over again within the span of a few pages. This book was no different on the latter point, but there seemed to be a depth in the character of Katharine that was lacking in her books on Catherine of Valois (The Queen's Secret) and Margaret Tudor (The Thistle and the Rose). Katharine's forebearance and piety, coupled with a proud spirit, was very consistent and compelling. It kept me turning the pages and thankfully balanced out the frustration of being reminded repeatedly within the space of a dozen pages that Katharine's duenna Elvira was intriguing with her brother at the Flanders court against King Ferdinand (among many other past details that were regurgitated periodically for the Very Very Very Short-Attention Spanned). Katharine and Henry are given the majority of attention, naturally, although Henry's characterization suffers by being limited to swoops between prim & martyred to angry & boorish. I'm looking forward to Margaret George's "Autobiography of Henry VIII" for a reputedly engaging and deep portrayal of the monarch. Anne Boleyn is a distant figure here, no doubt because Plaidy had 2 or 3 other books planned for her. Here she is little more than a manipulative, vindictive harpy, seen completely by others which naturally puts her in a very poor light. There are no scenes that take place from her perspective, unlike the character of Wolsey, who also works against the Queen but is given some sympathy for his predicament of trying to please his King while not antagonizing Rome and losing the chance of becoming Pope. "The Lady in the Tower" is for Anne what this book was for Katharine, only with the negative of rehashing some of the same events portrayed here. Sometimes I wish Plaidy had been more concerned about sticking to a few situations and really developing all the players and details of said events, rather than be obsessed with dramatizing trivial scenes. For long stretches of pages, minutiae of Katharine's life are expanded on to no visible point. The subplot of her malcontent lady-in-waiting Francesca de Carceres takes up a sizable amount of time, and yet she vanishes without a trace halfway through the book. From the amount of animosity that is dwelt upon, I was expecting her to show up in court and testify against Katharine that she and Arthur had indeed consummated their marriage. When she didn't appear again, I wondered why so much time had been spent on her character. And how many times must Henry's infantile need to be the center of attention be illustrated by describing the game of a masque? I think there were 3 or 4 masques described in detail, all with the same buildup and pay-off. Nothing much of importance was proven by such scenes and after the third one, I was itching at the repetitiveness. Plaidy did have other moments where Henry's "Me Me Me!" fixation was illustrated, which meant that at least 2 of the masque scenes could have been axed and not missed. This is no doubt the consequence of having 3 separately published books squished together in one volume. However, they were meant to be a trilogy, which doesn't excuse Plaidy from taking the reader down paths that lead nowhere or driving the reader around in circles over familiar territory. The first book in this trilogy was more interesting than the last two because I had previously known little about Katharine's early life in England pre-marriage to Henry VIII. For me, Plaidy's always been a bit stiff in the emotion department, but Katharine's devotion to her mother Isabella was a nice way to tightly tie it to the third book, with Mary's more clinging and needy love for her own mother amidst the threats of separation due to constant marriage bartering and her parents' divorce. It's been years since I read Plaidy's book on Mary, "In the Shadow of the Crown." I can't recall if this portrayal of Mary remained consistent in that book. For all my gripes about Plaidy's style, this was still a cut above her usual, although the story could have easily been told in two books, rather than three.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Excellent historical fiction!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lolly's Library

    2.5 stars If I'd read this compilation (or the individual novels) about twenty years ago, before I'd studied and read so much concerning Tudor history, I probably would've enjoyed it more. As it is, I just know too much and have too many suppositions and theories of my own; whenever I came upon points of contention, I would say to myself, "Ah, so she went with this version of that event. Okay, so she used this birth date rather than the later one." And so on. So while I can appreciate that Plaidy 2.5 stars If I'd read this compilation (or the individual novels) about twenty years ago, before I'd studied and read so much concerning Tudor history, I probably would've enjoyed it more. As it is, I just know too much and have too many suppositions and theories of my own; whenever I came upon points of contention, I would say to myself, "Ah, so she went with this version of that event. Okay, so she used this birth date rather than the later one." And so on. So while I can appreciate that Plaidy was an excellent author insofar as creating believable characters and a compelling narrative, her biases ruined the overall experience as they made for rather one-sided characters, especially when it came to Henry VIII. Yes, he was a bastard, there's no doubt about that, but Plaidy's version was almost a caricature--his behavior and personality was just so over-the-top, it was cartoonish. And of course Plaidy went with the standard (at the time) portrayal of "mad" Juana, Katharine's sister, a woman whose image was thoroughly tarnished and maligned by those who purported to love her, who is now becoming somewhat rehabilitated. Not to mention Plaidy had a habit of repeating either information (in what is probably one of the earliest examples of the "As you know, Bob" exposition, I'm guessing), dialogue, or, the most egregious, descriptions. I stopped counting after about the tenth use of "piggy" to describe Henry's eyes. In a way, I believe Jean Plaidy was the Philippa Gregory of her time: she was able to introduce many exciting historical eras and personages to readers using what reference materials were available to her, for which she deserves the lauds she receives, but it's quite obvious she infused her novels with biases and suppositions, possibly her own, possibly those of the sources on which she relied. Either way, while it makes for an entertaining read for those not in the know, for those in the know, reading her books can be disappointing and frustrating, which overwhelms their entertainment value.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kilian Metcalf

    I used to wonder about Katherine of Aragon. Why couldn't she be sensible like Anne of Cleves? Why not just give the king an annulment like he wanted and live in comfort as his not-wife? Part of it was, I think, due to her pride as a Spanish princess. She felt she would be betraying the legacy of her mother, Queen Isabella, and part due to her fears for the future of her daughter Mary. If she allowed an annulment, where did that leave her daughter? In limbo, neither legitimate nor a bastard but s I used to wonder about Katherine of Aragon. Why couldn't she be sensible like Anne of Cleves? Why not just give the king an annulment like he wanted and live in comfort as his not-wife? Part of it was, I think, due to her pride as a Spanish princess. She felt she would be betraying the legacy of her mother, Queen Isabella, and part due to her fears for the future of her daughter Mary. If she allowed an annulment, where did that leave her daughter? In limbo, neither legitimate nor a bastard but something else. There also is element of pride being the only thing Katherine had that couldn't be taken away from her. Left stranded in England after the death of Arthur, Prince of Wales, and the death of her mother, Queen Isabella of Castile, two years later, she was left in a life of penury and uncertainty. Her father wasn't interested in taking her back to Spain. She had only her pride to protect her until Henry VIII married her and raised her to the highest position in the land. She never shirked her duty and did her best to give him a son, undergoing several miscarriages and deaths of boy babies. She was pregnant six times and gave birth to one healthy child, a girl, the future Queen Mary I of England. She had always done her duty, attempted to fulfill her responsibilities as a queen for nearly 20 years and didn't take to the idea of being tossed aside for a new wife. She fought back as best she could, and scored points against Henry when she looked him in the eye and dared him to say she didn't come to him a virgin. She knew her cause was hopeless, but she fought to the end anyway. I used to get impatient with Queen Katherine, but after reading this book I am filled with nothing but respect. She behaved with honor and dignity under impossible conditions, all for the sake of her own self-respect and the benefit of the only person left who loved her—her daughter.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    There are few things I enjoy as much as being immersed in a Tudor historical fiction book, show or movie. This saga, which this three books in one edition doorstopper truly is, fully delivers. Plaidy tells the story of Katherine of Aragon's childhood, arrival in England, and all the travails that ensued as a pawn in royalty game of Tudor era England, until her fall from favor and end of her life. Plaidy weaves in varied alternative points of view to enrich the goings on at the court and around t There are few things I enjoy as much as being immersed in a Tudor historical fiction book, show or movie. This saga, which this three books in one edition doorstopper truly is, fully delivers. Plaidy tells the story of Katherine of Aragon's childhood, arrival in England, and all the travails that ensued as a pawn in royalty game of Tudor era England, until her fall from favor and end of her life. Plaidy weaves in varied alternative points of view to enrich the goings on at the court and around the world, which influenced Katherine's life. One downfall to shoving what once was three separate books into one edition was that certain portions of each book wound up feeling repetitive. Several times within what would have been the first and second books I wound up highlighting portions as extreme examples of this, where things such as Wolsey's hatred for his enemies were described in almost exactly the same way within several pages of each other. Over and over. Putting those issues aside, these were exactly what I look for in Tudor historical fiction romps. The historical accuracy felt real and the fictionalized portions were consistent with the period and believable. The biggest recommendation I can give is that after finishing this I immediately wanted to pick up the next volume in this series.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elisa

    This is the story of Katherine of Aragon, Spanish princess (daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella) and first wife of Henry VIII. She is first sent off to England to marry Arthur (Henry VIII’s older brother); Arthur dies, she is stuck in England, living off the meager allowance Henry VII provides her. She is ultimately married to Henry VIII. They have several children, all of whom, except for Mary, are miscarried or die in infancy/early childhood. Henry VIII needs a male heir and thinks he’d have a This is the story of Katherine of Aragon, Spanish princess (daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella) and first wife of Henry VIII. She is first sent off to England to marry Arthur (Henry VIII’s older brother); Arthur dies, she is stuck in England, living off the meager allowance Henry VII provides her. She is ultimately married to Henry VIII. They have several children, all of whom, except for Mary, are miscarried or die in infancy/early childhood. Henry VIII needs a male heir and thinks he’d have a better shot with a younger woman. He seeks to have his marriage to Katherine invalidated, on the ground that the marriage is incestuous, because she was previously married to his brother. Katherine insists that the marriage with Arthur was never consummated. The Pope refuses to annul the marriage, so Henry VIII ultimately breaks off and starts his own church and marries Anne Boleyn. What struck me most was Katherine’s attitude - she remained dignified despite Henry’s treatment of her. She didn’t let him disrespect her and she fought for herself, but she didn’t sink down to his level.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura Finger

    I was so thoroughly disappointed with this one. I've always had a soft spot for Katherine, who received one of the worst hands in history. Jean Plaidy is one of my all time favorite historical fiction writers. They're long, meaty, and if I can get my hands on one that's available as an eBook I'm thrilled. The problem I have with this book is the structure. Plaidy turns from Katherin's narrative to so many other POVs that it's basically anybody's novel. For example, she leaves Katherine to focus I was so thoroughly disappointed with this one. I've always had a soft spot for Katherine, who received one of the worst hands in history. Jean Plaidy is one of my all time favorite historical fiction writers. They're long, meaty, and if I can get my hands on one that's available as an eBook I'm thrilled. The problem I have with this book is the structure. Plaidy turns from Katherin's narrative to so many other POVs that it's basically anybody's novel. For example, she leaves Katherine to focus on her equally tragic sister Joan, Queen of Castile and their mother Isabella's successor. While I like the idea of reading Joan's story, this was not the place to do so. Katherine's life was more than enough to fill a novel, and I think that jumping around with the POV was incredibly ineffective and annoying. For that reason, this remains my least favorite of Plaidy's novels. I was deeply disappointed with it. When compared with The Constant Princess, also about Katherine of Aragon, this book shortchanges a princess who was shortchanged her entire life.

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