Monday, March 9, 2015

Great Reads: Philippa Gregory's "The Constant Princess" and "The Boleyn Inheritance"

Good morning! With the cold temps and winter weather that we've had here in Oklahoma during the past few weeks, I've settled in to catching up on my reading. As you know, I am a HUGE fan of historical fiction, particularly Philippa Gregory's novels about the English court in Tudor times. (If you've never read any of her novels, I HIGHLY recommend them if you too are a fan of this era in English history.)

The Constant Princess is the story of Katharine of Aragon, who comes to England as Catalina, princess of Spain, to marry Prince Arthur. She was betrothed to Arthur at the age of 3, and was raised to become the future queen of England. She marries him at the age of 16, and sadly becomes a widow when he contracts the sweating sickness only a few months into their marriage. On his death bed he makes her promise that she will swear that their marriage was never consummated and that she will one day marry his younger brother Henry, so that their legacy will come to fruition. Throughout history this has become known as the "Great Lie", and she pulled it off to become one of the greatest monarchs in England. 

This story will take you through her childhood in Spain, alongside her parents King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, who were two of the most powerful monarchs in all of Christendom at that time. You will rejoice with her as she and Arthur fall deeply in love; and you will feel her sadness and despair when she becomes a widow and suffers for many years before becoming Henry's wife. This is truly a hard-to-put-down novel!

The next novel, The Boleyn Inheritance, moves forward in the history of the wives of Henry VIII, beginning with Anne of Cleves coming from Germany to England to become Henry's 4th wife. Their relationship starts off on a bad note, and his great pride never allows him to accept her or fall in love with her. Although he turns her away and divorces her to become "his sister", she is thankful that she escaped his tyranny with her neck intact. It doesn't take long for him to become infatuated with Katharine Howard, who is a mere teenager at serving at court. She grew up in her grandmother's loose household, and wasn't taught the manners or graces that would serve her as a respected lady of the court, let alone as a queen of England. Her past transgressions, as well as her youth and lust for another man, sets the course for her own destruction. 

In the midst of all of the drama is Lady Jane Rochford. Lady Rochford is the former sister-in-law of Henry VIII's second wife, Queen Anne Boleyn. (She was married to Anne's beloved brother, George Boleyn. Both Anne and George were beheaded after being convicted of carnal sins, with Jane testifying against them on these crimes.) Lady Rochford, always looking out to gain a foothold in the royal household, puts her trust in the wrong people and comes to a devastating end as well.

Philippa Gregory's novels are always great page-turners, and I hope that if you read them you'll enjoy them as much as I do! :)

Thanks for dropping by today! Have a TERRIFIC week!


No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for leaving a comment; I truly value your thoughts, ideas and opinions! Have a blessed day! Becky B.