"I am Catalina, Princess of Spain, daughter of the two greatest monarchs the world has ever known...and I will be Queen of England."
Thus, best-selling author Philippa Gregory introduces one of her most unforgettable heroines: Katherine of Aragon. Daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand of Spain, Katherine has been fated her whole life to marry Prince Arthur of England. When they meet and are married, the match becomes as passionate as it is politically expedient. But tragically, Arthur falls ill and extracts from his young bride a deathbed promise to marry his brother Henry, become Queen, and fulfill their dreams and her destiny.
Widowed and alone in the avaricious world of the Tudor court, Katherine has to sidestep her father-in-law's desire for her and convince him, and an incredulous Europe, that her marriage to Arthur was never consummated, that there is no obstacle to marriage with Henry. For seven years, she endures the treachery of spies, the humiliation of poverty, and intense loneliness and despair while she waits for the inevitable moment when she will step into the role she has prepared for all her life.
In The Constant Princess, Philippa Gregory brings to life one of history's most inspiring women and creates one of the most compelling characters in historical fiction.
©2006 Philippa Gregory (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
"Philippa Gregory is a mesmerizing storyteller." (The Sunday Telegraph, UK)
"When it comes to writers of historical fiction, Philippa Gregory is in the very top league." (Daily Mail, UK)
This has been my least favorite of her novels. It seemed to be very repetitious. The narrator did a good job but there was nothing in the novel that made me eager to get to it.
Mom, historical fiction junkie, scientist, commuter who missed the escape of reading & was saved by Audible
Engaging, informative, feminist
The strength & determination of Catherine
The narrator makes you feel as if you are listening to Catherine herself & you understand more about her intentions & why she was so determined.
There were 2 moments that most moved me- when her baby dies & the very end (last paragraphs) of the book when we see her defiance in its full glory.
I loved this book! I went against the voice put in the back of my mind by some of the other reviewers & bought this book anyway. I ended up loving it & I couldn't get enough & i must say that I'm a very discriminating reader (listener). If something doesn't capture me from the beginning, there's very little hope of me finishing. This book never lost my interest despite some of the other reviewers saying there were parts that they felt dragged on. I also read a lot of reviews that seemed to suggest they disliked the parts of the book where Catherine spoke in the 1st person, but I rather enjoyed those parts. Maybe this book isn't perfectly historically accurate (was she a virgin or not?), but does anyone read historical fiction & expect it to be as *perfectly* accurate as a history book? That's where the
Love never dies, just changes form~Nikita
Undecided. If she/he was a history buff and EXTREMELY patient, then yes.
The last chapter.
Add a male narrator.
I could re-read Philippa Gregory's books over & over & over again. And each time I re-read one of them, I always seems to focus on a different aspect of the story which leads me to research deeper into that piece. I have read this book 2-3 times already, but this time around felt different after having read Gregory's newest book "Three Queens, Three Sisters". Because each of her Plantagenet & Tudor books are intertwined, you almost need to read & re-read the books so that you can have a new view going into the book each time.
"The Constant Princess" kicks off the Tudor era series with Catherine of Aragon, 1st wife of King Henry VIII. It begins with her childhood, continues with her trip to England to wed Arthur, Prince of Whales. After Arthur's death 1 1/2 years later, she is held in England for political reasons, & eventually marries Arthur's younger brother, Henry, fulfilling her life's purpose (as she sees it) to be queen of England.
Age recommendation: 14 & over
On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it a 9.
I like long books. I like historical books. I liked this book. We all know how Katherine's story ends but her life story - if even a bit fictionalized - made for a great book.
The narrator was spot on. She did a great job.
The telling of Catalina's early life was interesting. The daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, she was brought up as the Infanta of Spain and, from an early age, the Princess of Wales and future Queen of England. She had to go through a lot to achieve both of those later titles. It's interesting that just the other day I saw an article about whether Prince Arthur could have been impotent. I'm glad Philippa Gregory gave us a different look at their relationship.
As the book neared the end I felt a bit anxious because I didn't want to read about the pain Katherine was about to undergo. So, unlike many who have commented here, I liked the way the book ended.
This story was so repetitive, it made me feel like a lady-waiting-for-things-to-get-interesting. There was so much potential to tell a fascinating story covering the arch of Katherine's life, but the author only really covers up to the first four happy years of her marriage to Henry. The shortened life story seemingly defeats any of the resiliency established over the rest of the novel, rather than demonstrating how it could lead a person through the trials of her life after her marriage to Henry was annulled by the new Church of England. I've enjoyed other Phillipa Gregory novels, but this was so tedious that it will be a long time before I try one again.
While I realize it is fiction, it was interesting to learn about this part of history. I love time period pieces. I started digging into this time from a historical perspective just to learn more.
The Constant Princess. This is her story.
Consistency and grace
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