28 June 2009

Book Review: The Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory

Picture source: http://www.devon.gov.uk

I finished reading the book yesterday...its tells the story of Katherine of Aragon, Queen of England from 1509 to 1533.

For anyone who might not know (like me, before I read the book), she was the first of King Henry the VIII's first wife..he went on to have five more (what the heck!!!!).....Katherine, born as Princess Catalina of Spain, was initially married to Henry's elder brother Arthur, heir to the throne, but after Arthur died within a few months of the marriage, she went on to marry Henry...but had to first testify that her marriage to his brother was never consummated (we are talking about the 1500s here so I am guessing things weren't as easy as they are now). There have been speculations about this testimony...some people believe she lied, some think she was truthful....the book tells Katherine's story assuming the first..that she lied. More about Katherine here.

I picked up the book at the library by mere chance..and I am glad I did. The book is quite well written and tells the story earnestly from Katherine's own perspective...it is part fact-part fiction and Katherine's perspective is the fiction part...all in all, its a good read. The author gives a (albeit ficitious) glimpse into Katherine's mind while she goes through her life and tries to justify that it was Katherine's love for Arthur which compelled her to lie....I must say she manages to convey quite well the anguish of a princess, a queen and more than anything else, of a woman in love. Mind you, the book isn't just about anguish and pain...it has its share of happy and passionate moments...like when Katherine realises her love for Arthur; when they meet secretly each night to make love (yeah..pretty juicy!!); when she becomes the queen and when she becomes a mother.

This is the first of Gregory's book I read so I cannot comment on her style...but my colleagues at work who have read a few of her books think that the Constant Princess is her best work...I would suggest anyone to read the book if they are romantic at heart and if they don't mind the historical settings...it moves at a slow pace so if you are into sci-fi, mystery, fast-paced reads, this might not be your best choice....the guys (not expecting any of you to be romantic, excuse me if any exceptions exist...haha!) could read the book to get a peek into a woman's heart to know how she thinks, feels and acts (the wiser ones will know by now that most women wont act or show as they feel or think).

Best,
Vinaya


P.S. I can almost say 'Non posso parlare italiano' without forgetting....yipeee

1 comment:

Devi Meyyappan said...

Hi Vinaya, nice review.. I've always wanted to try Gregory Phillipa's books.. but was not sure which one to start with.. I saw the movie 'other boleyn girl'.. I think reading the book is a lot different (in a good way) than watching the movie:).. Think I'll start with "Constant Princess" :).. Thank you:):)