This one is for my Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. Another book in the Henry VIII era.
Katherine of Aragon is born Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, to parents who are both kings and crusaders. At the age of three, she is betrothed to Prince Arthur, the son and heir of Henry VII of England, and is raised to be Princess of Wales. She knows that it is her destiny to rule that far-off wet, cold land.
Her faith is tested when her prospective father-in-law greets her arrival in her new country with a great insult; Arthur seems little better than a boy; the food is strange and the customs coarse. Slowly she adapts to the first Tudor court, and life as Arthur’s wife grows ever more bearable. Unexpectedly in this arranged marriage, a tender and passionate love develops.
But when the studious young man dies, she is left to make her own future; how can she now be queen, and found a dynasty? Only by marrying Arthur’s young brother, the sunny but spoilt Henry. His father and grandmother are against it; her powerful parent prove little use. Yet Katherine is her mother’s daughter and her fighting spirit is indomitable. She will do anything to achieve her aim; even if it means telling the greatest lie, and holding to it.
I am getting to the stage that I now have read enough about Henry VIII. I think once you have read a few of the books about his various wives they tend to become a bit repetitive. Having said that I still enjoyed this book, as the emphasis here is on her marriage to Arthur before her marriage to Henry, and I would say that it is one that is worth the read. I appreciated the fact that the author gave you an insight into the background of Katarina rather than immediately throwing you into her life within the court scene in England.
One thing I didn’t particularly like was the constant shifting of the story telling from 1st person (Katarina) to 3rd person. There were too many monologues.
I think I have finished with Henry’s wives now. 🙂