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The Constant Princess [Hardcover]

Philippa Gregory
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)

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Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
THERE WAS A SCREAM, and then the loud roar of fire enveloping silken hangings, then a mounting crescendo of shouts of panic that spread and spread from one tent to another as the flames ran too, leaping from one silk standard to another, running up guy ropes and bursting through muslin doors. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Great Historical Fiction from a Great! April 28 2007
By Teddy
Format:Audio CD
I read “The Other Boleyn Girl last month last month. (See My Review). It was my first Phillippa Gregory book and I loved it. Since I was hungry for more Gregory I decided on The Constant Princess next. I actually listened to the Audio CD version. The narrator, Kate Burton brought Gregoy’s characters to life. I loved learning more about Catherine of Aragon and her fight to become Queen of England. Gregory captures the plight of women from the 15th and 16th century well. My only criticism is that Gregory ended the book too abruptly. She wrote about Catherine’s triumph in Scotland and then jumps to her death. I would have like to have read about what happen in between! Non the less, I’m still hungry for more Phillippa Gregory.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Enough Nov. 19 2009
By Toni Osborne TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In this historically based fiction, Ms Gregory introduces us to one of her most unforgettable heroines and vividly reconstructs for our enjoyment the life of Katherine of Aragon, daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain.

The story is told from Katherine's point of view, relating her feelings at each milestone in her life, from her childhood in Spain, her marriage to Prince Arthur of England up to the time of her disgrace from court. She recalls when the young couple who were betrothed, finally meet and married, a politically arrange marriage that soon developed into a hidden passion and devotion for each other. Sadly, at age fifteen Arthur falls ill and on his death bed he has Katherine promise to marry his brother Henry and further the hope of becoming Queen and fulfilling their dreams for the country.

It is easy to forget that Katherine's life is the author's version of events. The story details Katherine's insistence that her first marriage was never consummated; this facilitated her marriage to Henry but always remained a point of contestation.

The author portrays Katherine as a very courageous and strong woman who faced many struggles, some joyous some sad. We are left with Henry V111 depicted as a spoiled and selfish man who would put aside wife after wife at a whim.

For those fascinated by historical fiction, this will transport you into the tumultuous life at the Tudor Court, at a time when no one was safe. It was a time when battles to conquer territories were forcefully fought and ones religious beliefs ruled the world.

The story is quite captivating although I did find it meander and dragged a bit and it ended rather abruptly.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bah! (2.5 stars) May 7 2011
By Misfit TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Those of you familiar with all things Tudor already know the basics of the long-suffering Katherine of Aragon and the husband who dumped her when she couldn't produce a male heir. Those who aren't might consider this review rather spoilerish so consider yourself warned. That said, since the author skims through a big chunk of the latter part of Katherine's life and "The King's great matter", I wouldn't recommend this for newbies as you'll be scratching your head at the end wondering what in the heck you missed. Just be warned, this is Tudor history PG style so expect historical accuracy at your own peril...

In this book, Gregory purports that the marriage between Catalina (Katherine) of Spain and Arthur Tudor was a love match and their union was most definitely consummated - a secret they kept from everyone. When Arthur realizes he'll not survive the sweating sickness, he commands Catalina to marry his younger brother Henry, so that she can still become Queen of England as they'd always dreamed. Catalina is determined to stay *constant* to her beloved's commands, but there's a lot of political turmoil ahead of her, especially over the fact of whether the marriage was consummated,

"I shall keep my promise. I shall be constant to my husband and to my destiny. And I shall plan and plot and consider how I shall conquer this misfortune and be what I was born to be. How I shall be the pretender who becomes queen."

"At Arthur's request I told the greatest lie a woman has ever told, and I will tell it to the very grave...He asked me to say that we had never been lovers and he commanded me to marry his brother and be queen...I was constant to my promise.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Breathless in Tudor England... Aug. 27 2010
Format:Paperback
Points to Gregory for choosing as her heroine the oft-neglected Katherine, Henry VIII's first wife. Obviously comfortable in this time period, Gregory's story is reasonably well-written & readable, though I found myself very aware throughout that this was historical FICTION - sometimes Gregory allows her modern-day sensibilities and point-of-view to creep in - could not fully enter the world of the main character because she felt like a 20th century liberated woman dressed in the picturesque costume of an idealized former age.

Gregory's breathless style & frequent gushing over the lovely silks and jewels she arrays her character in, at least in the early part of the story, reminds me of the "historical romance" bodice-rippers I sometimes read in high school back in the late 1970s. The narrative could have been tightened up, a lot of the gushing description edited out, and a stronger, more period-authentic voice given to the main characters.

Not a horrible book by any stretch, but not as good as I hoped it would be.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
5 stars as far as I am concerned!
Published 2 months ago by Denise Letourneau
4.0 out of 5 stars Love
I'm a Phillipa Gregory fan. I did find some of the
writing in italics tiresome and whiney but overall it's an easy read and entertaining.
Published 6 months ago by Jennica Privitera
4.0 out of 5 stars Another great novel
As always, Philippa Gregory has taken me in to history in the most captivating way. I didn't know anything of Katherine of Aragon, she seemed to disappear behind the Boleyn girls... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Tammy Rossetti
5.0 out of 5 stars booklover
Having read 'The Other Boleyn Girl' and really liking it, I now wish I'd read this beforehand, as it is a detailed story of Katharine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn's predecessor. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Booklover
5.0 out of 5 stars love the idea of Catherine and Arther in Love
I greatly enjoyed this exploration of the possible relationship between Catherine of Aragon and Arthor Tudor. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2011 by Kristen
4.0 out of 5 stars A look into the Aragon heart.
Love this story. Even though of course it has some author imagined filler it defintely brought Catherine to life for me. Read more
Published on May 16 2011 by sunsetshimmer
5.0 out of 5 stars Triumphant!
This is one of the best books I have ever read. Phillipa Gregory is one of my favourite novelists due to how this book was so beautifully written. Read more
Published on Nov. 25 2010 by shum_gum
4.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely Story, Though Not Strictly Historical
I can't reveal the 'not strictly historical' part that hurt my enjoyment of this novel because it's central to the plot. Read more
Published on Feb. 24 2008 by microfiche
5.0 out of 5 stars the queen of historic fiction
this, like previous p gregory, is an inspiring & stimulating tale from the coffers of that colourful chap, king henry viii,
all these stories, like previous phillipa... Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2006
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