Weir, Alison "Six Tudor Queens. Katherine of Aragon. The True Queen" - 2015
I always found the Tudor period captivating, I have read about Elizabeth I in Margaret George's great Novel "Elizabeth I" and other works about the Virgin Queen, I have read Hilary Mantel's novels "Wolf Hall" and "Bring up the Bodies" where I learned about the Boleyns, Thomas Cromwell, I have read about Shakespeare in the time of Elizabeth I. but I have never read a whole book about Katherine of Aragon, I have always seen her through the eyes of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, the "old" wife who didn't want to get divorced and therefore forced her husband to break with the church.
Now here is a chance to see it all through Katherine's eyes, learning her side of the story, how she came to England to become the wife of Henry's brother Arthur first but then was taken by Henry after his brother died. Only to be cast aside when she couldn't provide a male heir.
This novel certainly makes us more acquainted with Katherine, her life, her love, her desires, her problems. She was a strong woman, courageous, someone who tried to make the best of what life threw into her way but in the end, her husband was more powerful. Not better, not stronger, he just had more power behind himself.
Alison Weir manages to write about all this and more, how life in Tudor times was, especially in the court, of course, but she introduces so many characters that you can well imagine life anywhere, you even think it was better to be poor and have nothing to do with aristocracy at all.
So many occurrences during Katherine's life determine history and the way we live today.
Katherine of Aragon had died on her way to England?
Prince Arthur had not died?
Prince Arthur had died before marrying Katherine?
Prince Arthur had died after having had a son?
Katherine had not married Henry after Arthur died?
One of Katherine's sons had survived?
Ann Boleyn had married at the French court?
Henry and Ann Boleyn had never met?
Ann Boleyn had died of "the sweat"?
Queen Mary had not died?
If either of these incidents had or had not occurred, there would be no Anglican church today. At least not the way Henry created it.
It's interesting to follow Katherine's life and ask yourself those questions. A phenomenal book.
I can't wait for part II of this "Anne Boleyn. A King's Obsession" and have already ordered the non-fiction book that introduces all of the ladies to us: "The Six Wives of Henry VIII"
From the back cover:
"A Spanish princess. Raised to be modest, obedient and devout. Destined to be an English Queen.
Six weeks from home across treacherous seas, everything is different: the language, the food, the weather. And for her there is no comfort in any of it. At sixteen years-old, Catalina is alone among strangers.
She misses her mother. She mourns her lost brother.
She cannot trust even those assigned to her protection.
KATHERINE OF ARAGON. The first of Henry’s Queens. Her story.
Acclaimed, bestselling historian Alison Weir has based her enthralling account of Henry VIII’s first wife on extensive research and new theories. She reveals a strong, spirited woman determined to fight for her rights and the rightful place of her daughter. A woman who believed that to be the wife of a King was her destiny.
History tells us how she died. This captivating novel shows us how she lived."
Find my reviews of Alison Weir's other books here.