REVIEW: KATHERINE OF ARAGON – THE TRUE QUEEN BY ALISON WEIR

Due to time restraints while I work on my own novel, reviews on this site will now comprise a book blurb and a short response.

Like many, I’m fascinated by the wives of Henry VIII, so the opportunity to review Alison Weir’s latest novel, Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, was too good to pass by. The novel is the first of six in the Six Tudor Queens series, and having read this one, I’m looking forward to the rest of the books. Here’s the blurb:

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 True Queen is a big book, with more than 600 pages in the trade paperback size. It’s also an enthralling book, rich in detail about Katherine of Aragon’s life, and her relentless fight for her rights as the true wife and queen of Henry VIII. It’s a powerful and memorable portrait of a woman, who was never going to go quietly into the night, even if it meant losing her life. Weir explores new theories about Katherine, including whether her first marriage was consummated or not – in doing so, she brings a new integrity and dignity to Katherine’s story and actions.

And he came to her, not as a lover, but as a lost soul. He was so near to her, yet so far, and she ached for him – and for them both. (p405)

The writing is vivid, the emotions deep but controlled, and the story compelling – I enjoyed this fully. If you share my fascination with Henry VIII’s wives, or you’re a fan of Tudor history in general, don’t miss this one.

Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99AUD). My copy was courtesy of Hachette.