Review: Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen by Alison Weir

by 3/27/2018 0 comments
I have long been fascinated by the Tudors and this new series by Alison Weir immediately caught my attention. Henry VIII famously had six wives, divorced two, beheaded two, kinda annulled his marriage to another, was widowed by one and survived by his last. Why so many wives...and what went wrong with his first marriage?

Series: Six Tudor Queens, #1
My Rating: 5❀'s
Genre: Historical Fiction
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Henry VIII married Katherine of Aragon at a young age and everything I have ever read has led me to believe he loved her. Notoriously, he put her aside even though the Pope declared their marriage good and valid, and married Anne Boylen. This novel tells Katherine story, and it is truly a sad and compelling one in my opinion. After a brief marriage to Henry's brother, which left Katherine a widow, she remained in an uncertain state as Henry's betrothed for several years in England. After the death of Henry VII, her long promised marriage to Henry VIII finally takes place and their marriage is a happy one. Henry genuinely loves Katherine, and seemingly did not enter into a marriage with her solely for political reasons, but also because he had long admired and loved Katherine. Sadly, their marriage is strained by the deaths or stillborn births of all of their children, six or seven, other than one daughter, later destined to become Mary I of England.

This is the true trouble at the heart of their marriage, this lack of a male heir. This is what went wrong with their marriage. When Katherine becomes too old to bear more children, Henry begins to question the validity of their marriage, and since Katherine is now older and Henry is younger and attractive, he begins to stray. I'd love to read the next novel (and plan to) and see exactly how Anne Boylen catches Henry's eye and draws him away from both his beloved wife and faith. This novel depicts Anne as ambitious, malicious and an upstart. We'll see what book two brings *wink, wink*

But back to Katherine. The first part of the novel showed the privations she suffered as she awaited a long promised marriage, and the second part depicted a happy marriage overshadowed by loss and in each of these parts, Katherine displayed great strength in bearing up under hardship and stress. I really admired her character for that, especially as she was not always given the best advice by those around her. I loved seeing her learn from those experiences and how they shaped her into the high minded, honest and strong woman she would need to be in her later years. The third part of the novel highlighted Katherine as a queen out of favour, striving to make her husband and the world understand that she was indeed Henry's wife and queen, even if he did send her away and marry another. Her staunch resistance and insistence that no one on earth save the Pope could say she was not Henry's wife made her a hero in my mind. It would have been easy to give into the pressure and threats, but Katherine stayed true to herself, knowing that she was Henry's wife. She did not sway through all the long years of the various hardships Henry visits on her, and I had to admire her for this strength.

I thought the writing poised and polished, artfully weaving fact and fiction together in a way that brought history beautifully to life. I don't think Weir departs too wildly from history, or interweaves too much supposition into her storytelling. This was one masterfully written historical fiction novel.

Happy Reading,

Jewels E


I'm a thirty something girl who loves to read, write and dream. Because I'm so addicted to the written word in all its forms, I created this blog to share the books that devastate me with you.