June Louise's Reviews > Katharine, the Virgin Widow

Katharine, the Virgin Widow by Jean Plaidy
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"There are times.....when I believe that kings and ambassadors do not think that it is necessary for a princess and her household to eat. She is merely a figure to be used when the state needs her. She can marry. She can bear children. But eat! That is not considered at all necessary."

This sequel to Uneasy Lies The Head traces the melancholy life of Katharine of Aragon following the death of her first husband Prince Arthur, right up until her marriage to Henry VIII. Plaidy describes the years of poverty and neglect that Katharine and her women servants had to endure, whilst Henry VII was deciding on his son's future wife based on which country was "hot property" at the time. Despite being betrothed to Henry VIII several years before, there were twists and turns along the way for Katharine before she got to the glittering marriage ceremony - and her betrothal looked rather shaky several times; especially after the outspoken and brusque Fuensalida became involved.

There are tensions between family members; there is the plotting of Dona Elvira; there is Katharine's mad sister, Juana, and her strange antics; there is an elopement; and there are Kings using the women as pawns in order to gain lands and favour. A lot goes on in this book!

If you have read Uneasy Lies The Head, you may want to skim the first 4 chapters, as they re-hash much of the storyline. However, get past the re-cap and Plaidy is at her best - writing a fantastic account of Tudor England, which, despite enjoying a period of peace, shows that the country was far from at ease.

I've yet to read a bad Jean Plaidy book - and have now ordered the next instalment!
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