Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Constant Princess - Philippa Gregory (December/05)

My first Philippa Gregory novel! I had seen her books before, but it took a recommendation on a forum I visit to get me reading her. It was worth the read. I read most of it in one day. I just had a few pages left the next morning, which is impressive because it is a long book. I just kept wanting to know what was going to happen next, so I just kept reading.

The Constant Princess starts when the main character, Catalina, is five years old and living in Spain where her mother and father are the king and queen. She had been raised all her love to be a queen, though, because from the time she was young she was betrothed to Prince Arthur, heir to the British crown. She knew it was her destiny to rule, and she lived her entire life with that goal in mind. She finds it hard to adjust when the time comes for her to venture to Britain. She is far away from her family in a strange land, and she is not even sure if she likes her husband. It takes time, but soon she learns to adapt to the life around her and enjoy the time with her husband a little more. Then, tragedy strikes when the husband she has learned to love dies leaving her all alone in a strange court and the farthest away she has ever been from her dream of being Queen.

For the first time in her charmed life, Catalina is alone in the world. She has to make the decisions that she has to make in order to one day be seated on the crown. This means marrying Arthur's younger brother, Henry. He is spoiled and a considerable bit younger, but she knows this is her only way to make her destiny. Henry's relatives are against the idea and her parents are far away and of little use, so her destiny rests entirely in her own hands. Her mother taught her well, though, she sees her goal and will not give up until she has achieved it. Even if she has to lie.

This novel is the last written in the Tudor series, but the events actually take place first. It is a novel about the indominable spirit of a young woman who never backed down from what she had waited for all her life. It is a wonderful and well-written novel. You find yourself laughing with her and crying. You feel like you are on the sidelines cheering on the happy ending that you and her are waiting for. If you have never read Philippa Gregory before, now is the time to start. For historical fiction fans, this is the book that you cannot put down.

I give this book a 4/5.

I also have the rest of the series to read:
The Other Boelyn Girl
The Queen's Fool
The Virgin's Lover

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