Title: The Constant Princess
Author: Philippa Gregory
Length: 393 pages
Very enjoyable read!
Despite being an avid fan of Anne Boleyn, I have a soft spot for Katharine of Aragon. How could you not? Despite being a princess, she lived a pretty difficult and upsetting life, though – as I choose to believe (which I state because I have yet to read a 100% non-fiction account of her life) – managed to maintain dignity and courage throughout everything.
Before I realized that there could be an actually appropriate order to reading Philippa Gregor’s Tudor novels, I read The Other Boleyn Girl – mostly to feed my ever-growing fascination with Anne Boleyn. Despite becoming somewhat annoyed with how Gregory portrayed Boleyn, I very much enjoyed her storytelling and set myself a goal of reading them all – except going back one book first, in order to read them in order (which you can reference in my previously posted author spotlight on Gregory).
A few weeks ago, I finally put The Constant Princess on order at the library, received my notification that it was in, and then devoured the novel in a week – despite the somewhat chaotic, consuming (yet good!) stuff going on right now. Once again, there were some elements of the story that I didn’t feel too enthusiastic about, I continue to enjoy Gregory’s storytelling and will hold to my goal of reading the remainder Tudor novels she has written.
One part that I didn’t fully enjoy is the portrayal of Katharine’s relationship with Arthur. Possibly because her story is so tragic, I prefer to believe that they didn’t have the opportunity to fall in love, consummate the marriage, and share their hopes and dreams for England with each other. With that said, and totally ignoring what I’d like to personally believe was the reality, I thoroughly enjoyed their actual love story in the novel. It is incredibly sweet and makes the remaining trials and tribulations of her life all the more sad.
The novel also paints more of a picture of King Henry VII and his mother than I’ve seen (so far), which was enjoyable to read. We get to see Henry VIII as young Harry, completely spoilt, coddled, and somewhat jealous of his older brother. The reader witnesses the ups and downs of the start of his marriage to Katharine and the ending bleeds a little into the events from the time of Anne Boleyn, but only enough to give you a taste for the drama to come in future novels.
So, once again, this is a book that I would recommend to anyone who is interested in the Tudors (though don’t expect this to be a bona fide history lesson) or just enjoys historical fiction, no matter the era.