Thursday, November 2, 2006

The Constant Princess

By Philippa Gregory

I am Catalina, Princess of Spain, daughter of the two greatest monarchs the world has ever known...and I will be Queen of England.
-Philippa Gregory The Constant Princess

Many books are published on the famous Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry IIIX, mother of Queen Elizabeth I.
But not many are written (in historical fiction format) about the first wife of King Henry, Katherine of Aragon, whose daughter Mary (or bloody Mary) would also be queen of England.
Katherine, or Catalina, learns from her mother, Queen Isabella of Spain, that she must always be a princess-that she must always be strong and do God's will.
A devout Catholic, Catalina intends to do just that when she marries Prince Arthur of Wales, a marriage that had been planned for her since birth. But she is shocked when Prince Arthur, a boy she has grown to love in a very short time, dies tragically, leaving her in a foreign country, alone, and impoverished. And Queen Isabella has told her that she must stay in England, she cannot come home. She must find a way to become queen of England. But that can only be achieved by a lie, something that Catalina knows is wrong.
I really loved this book for several reasons: first, because it's a great love story between Catalina and Arthur, and second because Catalina seems just so real, and thrid because it has to do with the Tudor family (which is of a lot of interest to me).
Philippa Gregory is a very good author and it was interesting to me to see how she percieved, as an adult, being a teenager in the fourteen hundreds.
And having Queen Isabella of Spain as your mother (just imagine!).
The only things about it that irked me were some inapropriate passages (Philippa takes the cake for these). But they are very easily skipped.
Also, at the end there seems to be a lot of confusion about Christianity, Judaism, and Muslims.
Though the author makes it clear that by this she was trying to interject her views on the support of world peace. I'd recommend this book to any mature person who enjoys historical fiction.


Sparky the Happy Giraffe said...

I love it when people post their opinions on books - it helps me pick books. I need an at least 200 page non-fiction to report on. Any ideas?

Sookie said...

There are a few great non-fiction books (on a similar topic to The Constant Princess) One that I haven't read is Queen Isabella by Alison Weir. It looks interesting, but it's a very thick book. Another idea is a book I have read.
It's Good Queen Bess-it's about Queen Elizabeth the first-I read it when I was like ten, so it's a relatively easy, but interesting, read.
Also-I don't know if this is considered non-fiction, but one of the greatest books on Anne Boleyn that I've read is called Doomed Queen Anne. It's sort of like a historical fiction novel, but it sticks closely with the facts (by Carolyn Meyer).

Sherry said...

I took the liberty of adding a link to your review at my blog Semicolon. I host a Saturday Review of Books round-up of book reviews every Saturday, and you're welcome to add your review(s) for the week to the linky any Saturday.

Sookie said...

Oh that's so cool!
Thank you very much!

Polka Dotted Pickles said...

I'll just keep adding to my list of to reads. :) I can't wait to catch up on some reading over the summer. At least that is what I keep telling myself.

Jennifer said...

Great review--thanks.

Sookie said...

no problemo!