The Constant Princess Hardcover – 2005
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Top Customer Reviews
The character of Katherine is beautifully done, giving readers a real sense of who she is. I'm not sure I buy the lifelong devotion to a man she was married to for only a few months; surely, the historical Katherine of Aragon must have had greater personal ambitions in wanting to maintain her own power as queen.
Every novel is a balancing act between "show" and "tell". Ideally, "show" should predominate. Unfortunately, "The Constant Princess" too often falls far on the "tell" end of the spectrum. This is largely due to the shifting points of view. Most of the time, I enjoy a story told from multiple points of view, but in this case Katherine's first person narrative is generally her telling the reader instead of showing.
That being said, the reader is thoroughly immersed in the Tudor era. The sensuous details are stunning and provide a lovely escape for lovers of history.
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.Read more ›
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.
Most recent customer reviews
I have read several of her books and I get so mesmerized by the rhythm her story telling.
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.
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 morePublished on Sept. 19 2013 by Tammy Rossetti
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 morePublished on Nov. 24 2012 by Booklover
I greatly enjoyed this exploration of the possible relationship between Catherine of Aragon and Arthor Tudor. Read morePublished on Oct. 11 2011 by Kristen
Love this story. Even though of course it has some author imagined filler it defintely brought Catherine to life for me. Read morePublished on May 16 2011 by sunsetshimmer
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 morePublished on Nov. 25 2010 by shum_gum