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Monday, October 5, 2009

Katherine of Aragon by Jean Plaidy

Genre: Historical Fiction

Copyright: 2009 (First published: 1968)

Pages: 672


The godmother of Historical Fiction brings Katherine of Aragon to life in this compelling novel detailing the life of Henry VIII's first wife.

Born to one of the fiercest couple monarchs in history, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Katherine grew up with a deep sense of family pride, charity, morality and strength of character befitting an Infanta of Spain. Betrothed to the heir of England, Arthur Tudor, from an early age they finally married when Katherine was 16. Unfortunately, Arthur would die a mere five months after their wedding and Katherine, now a widow, has her fate held in limbo by Arthur’s father, Henry VII. Reluctant to lose Katherine’s dowry, Henry VII has her sent off to Durham Castle with the prospect that she is to marry the new heir, the future Henry VIII. However, it would be a full seven years before the marriage takes place and that is only after the King dies.

Henry and Katherine’s marriage was pleasant, but after years of miscarriages and stillborns, Henry begins to fear that Katherine will never produce an heir. Katherine’s physical appearance has suffered from the years of pregnancies and Henry begins looking elsewhere for lovin’. Enter Anne Boleyn. Well, the poor woman had no chance against her! The picture of youth, gaiety and wit Anne Boleyn quickly wraps Henry around her little finger and Henry tries every possible trick to get out of his marriage with Katherine. Thus “The Great Matter” is born.

No appeal or declaration of love from Katherine can persuade Henry to back down off of his current path. In fact, it only served to incense him further and when the Church declared their marriage was indeed valid, well Henry just broke the Church of England from Rome itself, giving him the ultimate power. Her cause lost, Katherine was separated from her daughter, Mary (whom herself was declared a bastard) and would be shuffled off to castle after castle until her death in 1536 at Kimbolton Castle.

After The Loves of Charles II, this has to be my second favorite novel of Plaidy’s – she seems to paint the most accurate portrayal of Katherine that I’ve read to date. Katherine’s story is one that needs to be told. Through everything that was thrown at her she stayed strong and never wavered in her conviction…going to her death bed with nary a bad word to say about Henry – the man that had treated her so cruelly, a man that had taken away her daughter and cast her off for a younger woman after years of faithful devotion. She was truly an inspiring and courageous woman.

Visit Amy @ Passages to the Past


dolleygurl said...

This sounds like such a good book- I hadn't known much about Katherine when I first read Philippa Gregory's story about her, but I quickly fell in love and always am on the lookout for new (to me anyway!) Katherine books!

Annie - Princess of the Past said...

Fantastic review Amy! I really want to read this one...I do love Katherine of Aragon.

Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

dolleygurl...you will love her even more in Plaidy's version!

annie...thanks! you won't be sorry, trust me!!

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi Amy!

Haven't read this one, but Henry was such as ornery toad, wasn't he?

Great review!! Another to take a peek at!

Dottie :)

A Bookshelf Monstrosity said...

Thanks for the review! I just added this book to my wishlist :)

Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

Dottie...Hey!! Henry could've used SuperNanny for sure =)

Bookshelf...you are more than welcome! Plaidy will not disappoint!

Laura's Reviews said...

This sounds fantastic. I love Jean Plaidy - but have never read this novel. I'm adding it to my TBR list now . . .

Thanks for the great review!

Teddyree said...

Thanks Amy, I've only read two Plaidy novels but this is going on my tbr list for sure!

Just Mom said...

This one sounds really good - Katherine is one of my favorites to read about.

The Book Resort said...

Amy, thanks for the gr8 review. I am interested in learning more about Katherine.

Jennifer said...

Another excellent sounding novel. My Historical fiction list is growing. :)