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Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen by…
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Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen (2016)

by Alison Weir

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We follow the life and death of Katherine of Aragon, Queen of England in the 16th century and the first wife of King Henry VIII.

I've been a long time fan of Tudor history and really enjoyed learning more about the saintly woman who never gave up on her husband, even when he did everything he could to make her life miserable once he went on to shack up with Anne Boleyn. Alison Weir did a great job bringing this time period and its people to life and to really make you feel for Katherine and her daughter, Princess Mary. We all know King Henry to be a monster but he didn't start out that way and from this book, we really see how much he changed from the smart, gentle and kind king he first was to the man who had anyone who opposed him murdered for treason.

While I enjoyed the history and that a lot of the information presented is based on facts and correspondence between Katherine and those who served her, I was bored at times and felt that the book probably could have been shortened. The vocabulary was difficult and somewhat distracting but as I read this on my kindle, I was able to look up a lot of the words, which made it easier than if I had read this in print format. I am looking forward to continuing the series on the remaining five wives that came after the True Queen. ( )
  christianeyoungberg | Aug 30, 2018 |
Loved reading this from Katherine's perspective. She was extremely obedient. Definitely, too obedient by 21st century standards. I couldn't help but think "why would stay after all of this foolishness. I would have made the decision to move back to Spain". However, it was a different time and being a woman that was brought up to serve and love the church she was compelled to stay the course. I admire her dedication.
  LiteraryW | Mar 19, 2018 |
Noted Tudor historian Alison Weir has started a new series, "Six Tudor Queens," about the wives of Henry VIII.  At 602 pages, this first one in the series is probably a couple hundred pages too long.  For me, it dragged at times, particularly in the years after Henry sent her into exile.  But with the author being Weir, you know it will be close to the truth.  In her author's note, Weir states that "many of the letters quoted in the text are genuine, even if I have slightly modernized the language.  The same is true of a substantial amount of the dialogue."

The book covers Katherine's arrival in England in 1501 as the bride-to-be for Henry's older brother, Arthur, through her death in January 1536.  There are family trees (as of 1501) in the front of the book, but no bibliography, only mention in the author's note of "recent research by Giles Tremlett and Patrick Williams" who also wrote recent nonfiction books about Katherine.

Read more at Bookin' It.

© Amanda Pape - 2017

[This book was borrowed from and returned to my local public library.] ( )
1 vote riofriotex | Dec 24, 2017 |
Sometimes I wonder why I bother to read any new books on the Tudors. Yes, I am rather a Tudor junkie But the point is: what is there to learn that's really new? And in fictional accounts, most new approaches are highly unsatisfying, usually sexing up the heroines and adding a lot of anachronistic 20th-century feminism. At least Alison Weir did not fall into that pit; thankfully, she's too much the historian first. That, however, creates another stumbling block for the reader: Truth be told, Katherine is makes a boring protagonist. She is too good, too righteous, too oppressed, too long-suffering, and, sadly, just too darn attached to that loser Henry. It would be pitiful to see her on her deathbed, praying for Henry's eternal soul and mooning over memories of the honeymoon days, if only I didn't want to slap her and scream, "It's over, capiche? Snap out of it!"

Of course, one can't totally blame Katherine, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, for not wanting to give up her rights and title as queen and for refusing to be locked away in a convent, as Henry wished. But in Weir's depiction, she never once gets angry at Henry for rejecting her, whine as she will about being his "one true wife" in God's eyes. When the Catholic church has been dissolved and your ex sets himself up as the head of the new Church of England whose archbishop declares your marriage invalid, it's over in everyone's eyes but your own (and maybe the Pope's, but his only intervention was to excommunicate Henry, to whom it no longer mattered). History is history, however, and it would be pointless to hope for Katherine to turn over a new leaf and either fight harder or start a new life--that just wouldn't have happened.

So here we are, with yet another dull novel about a dull woman. Weir just came out with a novel about Anne Boleyn, so apparently she plans to walk us through all six wives. (And unfortunately I bought this one before I started on her Katherine novel. At least Anne is more inherently interesting, so there's so hope.) ( )
  Cariola | Jul 7, 2017 |
Catalina is the youngest daughter of two powerful Spanish monarchs. Educated, mannered and devout, Catalina has been raised to make an advantageous marriage and at age fifteen she is sent to England to become the bride of Prince Arthur, heir to the throne. Katherine, as she is now known, is concerned that Arthur is ill and, when he dies only five months later, her world collapses. Salvation comes in marriage to Arthur's younger brother Henry and the couple rule for many years, the only blight on their life is the lack of a male heir. After Katherine goes through the menopause, her paranoid husband starts to worry about the lack of an heir and when he falls for a clever woman at court her decides to divorce Katherine. To Katherine this is unthinkable and her battle for what she feels is right drives her husband to schism with the Church and the rest of Europe.


Essentially this is a fictionalised biography of Katherine of Aragon but it is of excellent quality. Alison Weir is an outstanding historian and this comes across in her historical fiction. Anyone who has read about Katherine of Aragon will recognise descriptions and direct quotes from contemporary sources as they go through this book. Weir avoids the clichés of historical fiction in the main, there is little overt romanticism but by contextualising the story some points become clearer to the modern reader. By looking at the everyday life of a noble Catholic woman in the 16th Century the nature of Katherine's devotion to her cause is more understandable. I look forward to the rest of the series.
( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
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"Bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir takes on what no fiction writer has done before: creating a dramatic six-book series in which each novel covers one of King Henry VIII's wives. In this captivating opening volume, Weir brings to life the tumultuous tale of Katherine of Aragon, Henry's first, devoted, and "true" queen. A princess of Spain, Catalina is only sixteen years old when she sets foot on the shores of England. The youngest daughter of the powerful monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalina is a coveted prize for a royal marriage--and Arthur, Prince of Wales, and heir to the English throne, has won her hand. But tragedy strikes and Catalina, now Princess Katherine, is betrothed to the future Henry VIII. She must wait for his coming-of-age, an ordeal that tests her resolve, casts doubt on her trusted confidantes, and turns her into a virtual prisoner. Katherine's patience is rewarded when she becomes Queen of England. The affection between Katherine and Henry is genuine, but forces beyond her control threaten to rend her marriage, and indeed the nation, apart. Henry has fallen under the spell of Katherine's maid of honor, Anne Boleyn. Now Katherine must be prepared to fight, to the end if God wills it, for her faith, her legitimacy, and her heart. Advance praise for Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen "In this first novel of the Six Tudor Queens series, Alison Weir dazzlingly brings Katherine of Aragon to life. Based on extensive new research, it is a portrayal that shatters the many myths about Henry VIII's long-suffering first wife. Far from being the one-dimensional victim of history, she emerges as a charismatic, indomitable, and courageous heroine whose story never fails to enthrall."--Tracy Borman, author of Thomas Cromwell "Yet again, Alison Weir has managed to intertwine profound historical knowledge with huge emotional intelligence, to compose a work that throws light on an endlessly fascinating figure. But her real gift in all of this is making it feel so fresh and alive."--Charles Spencer, author of Killers of the King Acclaim for the novels of Alison Weir The Marriage Game "Entrancing. Weir manages to weave actual history and the imagined kind together seamlessly."--Huntington News "Weir's credible characters and blend of the personal and political will sweep up readers of this engrossing behind-the-scenes psychological portrait of Elizabeth."--Publishers Weekly A Dangerous Inheritance "A juicy mix of romance, drama and Tudor history. pure bliss for today's royal watchers."--Ladies' Home Journal "Highly compelling [with] plenty to keep readers enthralled."--Historical Novel Review Captive Queen "Should be savored. Weir wastes no time captivating her audience."--Seattle Post-Intelligencer "Stunning. As always, Weir renders the bona fide plot twists of her heroine's life with all the mastery of a thriller author, marrying historical fact with licentious fiction."--The Denver Post"--"Young Katherine of Aragon, daughter of Spain's powerful monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, was an exquisite prize in the royal marriage market. Golden-haired, sixteen years old, she was sent to England to marry the future king, Arthur, Prince of Wales. But when Arthur died a few months after their wedding, Katherine's bright future was suddenly eclipsed. It took his younger brother Henry VIII eight long years to do the honorable thing and marry her. Their union was briefly happy until Katherine failed to bear a son, and Anne Boleyn caught Henry's eye."--… (more)

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