“A princess of Spain, Catalina is only sixteen years old when she sets foot on the shores of England. The youngest daughter of the powerful monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalina is a coveted prize for a royal marriage – and Arthur, Prince of Wales, and heir to the English throne, has won her hand. But tragedy strikes and Catalina, now Princess Katherine, is betrothed to the future Henry VIII. She must wait for his coming-of-age, an ordeal that tests her resolve, casts doubt on her trusted confidantes, and turns her into a virtual prisoner.”
Katherine’s patience is rewarded when she becomes Queen of England. The affection between Katherine and Henry is genuine, but forces beyond her control threaten to rend her marriage, and indeed the nation, apart. Henry has fallen under the spell of Katherine’s maid of honor, Anne Boleyn. Now Katherine must be prepared to fight, to the end if God wills it, for her faith, her legitimacy, and her heart.
Where do I even begin! This book was amazing. I did not know a whole lot about Katherine. Only what I knew from watching The Tudors on HBO. They did not do a very good job. I know the show centers around King Henry VIII but we were able to see and learn about his wives, minus Katherine. We come into the show late in his 24 year marriage to Katherine. They show her dark-haired, dark eyes, evil-looking women. Well she isn’t. She was red-haired, light eyes and a very loving and devout wife. I hated her from what I saw in the show. But now that I know her full story, I love her. She had every reason to be so hateful there at the end. All the hell she went through. GAH!
Alison did such an amazing job with this book. She made you feel like you were right there with Katherine, yet you could understand the story. She modernized the language so make it enjoyable.
We are able to see Katherine’s journey from the moment she steps on English land. From her first meeting with King Henry VII and Prince Arthur (Henry VIII’s older brother), to the moment she first laid eyes on Henry VIII. She was treated like royalty and then treated like a servant to becoming the true Queen of England. Not many people could have dealt with what she had to deal with. I sure would have run back home to Spain.
You can totally see the amazing love between Katherine and Henry from the beginning. I honestly think Henry VIII loved Katherine until his last breath of life. I think all that happened in this book was due to outside influences and the need for a son.
Anne! Oh little miss Anne. I actually like her, a little, in the show. I actually liked her more than Katherine. But that has now been changed. (We will be reading the Anne story for a buddy read this year also). I do feel like Anne should not had ended the way she did (won’t go into details in case you don’t know what happened to her) but she was a ruthless bitch in this book. As she was in the show. She despised Katherine and her daughter Mary. She was a HUGE influence with the actions Henry VIII took. I do think her father and brother were also a big influence not only on the King but also on Anne. I almost wonder if her brother and father were not around would she have been the way she was?
Also Wolsey and Cromwell. Oh man I can’t stand them either. Never have and never will. GAH! Such assholes! Wosley was totally doing everything just to gain for himself. Cromwell is the same.
I highly recommend this book if you love history. It is an amazing depiction. I can’t wait to read the rest of this series (there is one book for each wife) and read all of Alison Weir’s books in general.
I am so happy I finally got to read this book. It has been sitting on my shelf for a while now, begging me to pick it up. Thank goodness, I waited so I can read it with Tera for our history blog.
Alison Weir is an amazing author, the way she captures you into the story, not being able to or wanting to leave. It’s also easy to read, but also not making you feel like you aren’t in that time period. Hopefully that all made sense, I’m unfortunately not as good as describing things as Alison Weir.
Since this is spoiler free, I’m going to try and not give too much away. If you don’t know anything about Katherine of Aragon, or Henry VIII, then I’ll give you a brief summary. Katherine is Henry’s first wife. She was first married to his brother, Arthur… That should be enough backstory I think.
I didn’t know much about Katherine’s early life, most TV shows or movies (even books), have shown the last few years of her life. It was so refreshing to read about Katherine and see her in a new light. Also, everyone has it wrong, even the cover of my edition. She has red hair!!
Since knowing the “ending”, I was shocked to find out how much at the beginning Henry VIII actually loved Katherine. Of course, there must’ve been something at the beginning, I just didn’t know how much of their marriage was from his choosing, or for political reasons.
Since arriving in England at an early age, I don’t believe she was treated kindly. There were times where she was treated with respect, as a princess then queen, but it must’ve been frustrating to be a woman in this time period and not really have a say. I’m not talking just about her marriage, it was basically everyday life. She was to produce an heir, a male heir, in a time period where medical knowledge isn’t that great (putting that mildly). The second part of the book broke my heart for her. Being a mother myself, it must’ve been so painful and hard. I’m not going to say anymore, read the book for yourself.
Saying all that, this next part is going to shock you, and I’m hoping it’s not a spoiler, even though I don’t feel it is.
I actually got really frustrated with Katherine at the end. Henry wants a divorce, maybe because he actually wants sons and Katherine can’t get pregnant anymore. Or he fell in love with someone else, whatever the reason is, does she really think by refusing a divorce from him, things are going to go back to the way it was. I think the more she refused, the more he started to hate her.
I’m sorry, if it was me and a guy didn’t love me anymore, I’ll just leave. I don’t want to stay with someone who doesn’t want me. Of course, in that time period she had the chance to graciously go into a convent, or live the high life she was still living, but no, she would not get a divorce. Maybe because she was headstrong, and good on her for that, but it did get annoying for me.
I’m also not going to call Anne names like Katherine and her ladies did, going on about a woman with a married man, yet they don’t go on about all the other affairs he had. Okay, I’m getting worked up, but I’m starting to think maybe I should’ve stopped at part two, so now I don’t find Katherine frustrating. I just don’t understand, did she really think by not getting a divorce, Henry is going to be like, “Okay, after all these years trying to get a divorce, you refusing, everything is going to go back to the way it was”. No, it isn’t!! If it’s not Anne, guess what, it would just be someone else. Anne was just smart enough not to sleep with him like other women. She didn’t want to be another of his whores.
Okay, enough of that, because it starting to sound like I don’t love the book, and I absolutely love it. So well written and told, and I am happy I finally got to read a book in Katherine’s point of view. I was just frustrated with the characters, not the book, at the end.
I cannot wait to read Anne’s book later on this year. What does Alison have to say about Anne.
This can also be found on our blog we do together: Discover & Conquer Blog