Miranda's Reviews > The Constant Princess

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
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Dec 21, 2010

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bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read in February, 2006

"I have to say that this book was a disappointment. The story is good, but the facts surrounding the Tudor royal family and how it came to be is a fascinating story so even a poor writer could pull something readable from the facts.[return][return]I think that I would still read another of Philippa Gregory's books, but may lower my expectations of them. Once an author gains success with a particular line of books they may be put under a lot of pressure to continue to produce at outlandish rates so hopefully her next book will allow her the luxury of time to produce another winning piece of work![return][return]From the Publisher:[return]Splendid and sumptuous historical novel from this internationally bestselling author, telling of the early life of Katherine of Aragon. We think of her as the barren wife of a notorious king; but behind this legacy lies a fascinating story.Katherine of Aragon is born Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, to parents who are both rulers and warriors. Aged four, she is betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, and is raised to be Queen of England. She is never in doubt that it is her destiny to rule that far-off, wet, cold land.Her faith is tested when her prospective father-in-law greets her arrival in her new country with a great insult; Arthur seems little better than a boy; the food is strange and the customs coarse. Slowly she adapts to the first Tudor court, and life as Arthur's wife grows ever more bearable. But when the studious young man dies, she is left to make her own future: how can she now be queen, and found a dynasty? Only by marrying Arthur's young brother, the sunny but spoilt Henry. His father and grandmother are against it; her powerful parents prove little use. Yet Katherine is her mother's daughter and her fighting spirit is strong. She will do anything to achieve her aim; even if it means telling the greatest lie, and holding to it.Philippa Gregory proves yet again that behind the apparently familiar face of history lies an astonishing story: of women warriors influencing the future of Europe, of revered heroes making deep mistakes, and of an untold love story which changes the fate of a nation.[return][return]Why I Liked/Didn't Like this Book:[return]Philippa Gregory seemed to be rushed in this book - the actual writing was muddled and repetitive and it seemed that some charactors appeared out of nowhere simply to move the story along. For me, it certainly didn't live up to expectations, as I had enjoyed her other books (The Other Boleyn Girl being my favorite). The ending was a little bizarre, as it ends with the trial of Katherine of Aragon - it seems to rush to that conclusion where the book might have been better served to end earlier and more fully flesh out the story at the end, rather than rush headlong to make sure that we got to the trial."
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