Book Review – ‘Katherine of Aragon: the True Queen’ by Alison Weir


Alison Weir 'Katherine of Aragon the True Queen'
Alison Weir’s “Katherine of Aragon: the True Queen”, the first in her ‘Six Tudor Queens’ series (2016)

Genre/s: Historical / Drama / Romance

Setting: London, Kimbolton, Buckden (England)

Characters: Henry VIII / Katherine of Aragon / Prince Arthur / Mary I / Anne Boleyn / Eustache Chapuys / Charles V / Henry VII / Maria de Salinas / Elizabeth Darrell / Jane Seymour / Maud Parr / Isabella I of Castile / Ferdinand II of Aragon

Storyline: Katherine of Aragon came to England as a 15-year old princess to marry the heir to the English throne, Arthur Tudor. Arthur died just 6 months into their marriage and Katherine went on to marry Arthur’s younger brother, Henry VIII. The question of whether her first marriage was consummated would dominate English politics for the late 1520s and early 1530s, with Katherine shunted into involuntary exile.

Point of View: Katherine of Aragon – this is what makes this series so unique. It is the stories of the six wives of Henry VIII, one told from the point of view of each wife. The stories overlap, but you only get one point of view per story.

Strengths: I think that a big strength of this book is the point of view. Normally books are told from a third person point of view, but with this you only know what Katherine knows, which keeps the state of suspense. Some authors reveal plot twists too early. Another strength is the characterisation – it is easy to put yourself in place of these characters and understand their feelings. The description is also very good; you can picture the palaces in your head, although that might also be because some of them are still standing today.

Weaknesses: I think that Katherine’s motivations for her actions could have been made clearer. Sometimes it is difficult for someone in the 21st century to jump into the mind of someone in the 16th, particularly with the religious motivations, as we are not such a Christian country anymore.

Overall Rating: 18/20

Recommend?  Yes, a great alternative look at the life of Katherine of Aragon, particularly her early life and first marriage.

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