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251 Reviews
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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It!
I'm a fan of Philippa Gregory's other novels about the Tudor court and I found this one was no disappointment to me. In fact I enjoyed it second only to 'The Other Boleyn Girl'. She has taken a most interesting and inspiring subject and breathed into it fresh life. Katherine of Aragon is once-again the formidable and brave woman, no longer overshadowed...
Published on 1 Jan 2006 by Charliecat

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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not PG's best work
As a fan of Philippa Gregory I was initially very disappointed with this book, and was tempted to stop reading. It definitely gets better after about a third, but some of the things which annoyed me remained. These included an excessively modern perspective (giving characters points of view and ideas they would never have held at the time) and switching between action and...
Published on 5 Jun 2006 by Kristin


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57 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved It!, 1 Jan 2006
By 
Charliecat (Oxfordshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Constant Princess (Hardcover)
I'm a fan of Philippa Gregory's other novels about the Tudor court and I found this one was no disappointment to me. In fact I enjoyed it second only to 'The Other Boleyn Girl'. She has taken a most interesting and inspiring subject and breathed into it fresh life. Katherine of Aragon is once-again the formidable and brave woman, no longer overshadowed by Anne Boleyn. I enjoyed her relationship with Arthur, which was told very tenderly and you can see how Katherine grows and matures as she achieves her life's ambition, to be Queen of England.
I'm not disappointed by this novel at all and found it to be a little more involved and interesting, less inclined to melodrama, than The Queen's Fool, or The Virgin's Lover. Good Stuff!
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not PG's best work, 5 Jun 2006
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As a fan of Philippa Gregory I was initially very disappointed with this book, and was tempted to stop reading. It definitely gets better after about a third, but some of the things which annoyed me remained. These included an excessively modern perspective (giving characters points of view and ideas they would never have held at the time) and switching between action and interior monologue, which did not really enhance the storytelling and could easily have been incorportated into the main body of the story. I at times found the writing more childish and simplistic than Philippa Greogry's earlier work, and this really detracted from my enjoyment. On the plus side, she has as usual done her research very well (though perhaps not AS well) and has crafted complex and interesting characters. The story does eventually becoming captivating and Gregory is able to portray Katherine of Aragon in a more sympathetic and complex light than the role of the silent victim she has been given by history.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!, 1 Jan 2006
By A Customer
This review is from: The Constant Princess (Hardcover)
This book compares well with The Other Boleyn Girl. I like the pace of the book and its insights into Katherine's formidable parentage and background. For me she emerges as a more rounded historical figure than I had thought. I liked the balanced approach to her Spanish and Moorish influences and the reasons, why she is able to stand up to Henry. Gregory's grasp of the historical nuances and the possible motivations for Katherine's actions in the book carried me along to the very end. I have read most of her work and I think this is her best yet - it has the Alhambra Palace and Moorish Spain, Arthur and his ambitions plus Henry V11's forceful presence. The young Henry V111 is shown to be the rather spoilt boy who will be a selfish king.
I enjoyed this book more than Earthly Joys or even Virgin's Lover and you always get a well researched book from this author -top marks.
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, 11 April 2006
This review is from: The Constant Princess (Hardcover)
I can not tell you howmuch I enjoyed this book. It was wonderful to get an insight into Katherine when she was a young desirable woman and not the wife that Henry divorced which is inevitably the focal point of so many books about the Tudor period. In this book Katherine is young, desirable and beautiful; we get an insight into her marriage to Arthur, about Henry's childish infatuation with her as well as learning about Katherine's character.The dignity with which she handled her time as a virtual hostage in England, her questioning of her mother's religious zeal as well as her relationship with her children as a mother vs. as a queen concerned about the well being of her country. Fantastic read,highly recommended.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Class, 25 Mar 2007
By 
J. Chippindale (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Constant Princess (Hardcover)
Philippa Gregory has written some excellent historical novel in the past and this one is certainly up there with the best of them. She has the ability as an author to draw you into the story in such a way as to make you feel that you have gone back in time. The sights, the sounds, even the smells of 16th century England seem to be there before your eyes and under your nose.

Children were married young in those days and the three year old child Katherine of Aragon has been betrothed to the English King's son Prince Arthur. The Prince is the heir of Henry VII. Even at that tender age Katherine realises that it is her destiny to rule England, a far off land, of which she knows nothing...

Her arrival at the English court as a young girl does not start well and Arthur seems somewhat childish in her eyes. Slowly she begins to adapt to her life at English court and the strange customs of the land and slowly but surely a tender love develops between the two. Something that is far from normal in the arranged marriages of the time.

Philippa Gregory has got the formula for these books down to a fine art and they are very interesting well researched books that are extremely readable.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow-paced and sweet, for those on "Team Aragon"!, 9 Mar 2008
By 
Morena - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Having read The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance, I thought I'd go back to the beginning of the story and read more about Katherine of Aragon; she was characterised as such a class act in The Other Boleyn Girl novel (unlike in the film - but that's another story!). So The Constant Princess is the story of what made little Catalina, daughter of a warrior queen, into the steely-strong queen of the later days.

My favourite part of the novel was when Catalina and Arthur fall in love. Their awkward, unhappy adolescent relationship and its transformation into a tender and complete love, with all the passion and idealism of youth, was told very well. Philippa Gregory has a great talent for breathing fresh life into figures from history, and this relationship really came alive for me. After Arthur's death, I slightly lost interest in the novel; perhaps not all Philippa Gregory's fault, as she probably did what she could with seven lost, boring years of Catalina's isolation. The only thing sustaining the plot was Catalina's determination to keep her promise to her boy-husband and rule England for him as they had planned to do together. She has to use all her wits to steer around the obstacles to her planned marriage to the much younger "Harry", of whom she grows fond, despite knowing well his faults. Once she's got the ring on her finger, it does get a little bitty; battling the Scots one minute, and Anne Boleyn the next as it draws to a close.

The main draw of this book is a view from Katherine's mind, because in The Other Boleyn Girl she was only seen through the eyes of other characters. However, I do agree that it could have been more tightly edited towards the end, where her flashbacks and inner monologues become a bit repetitive. I enjoyed them more when she looked back on her childhood (her stories to Arthur about Spanish life and the Moors were interesting); less when they seemed to become a concentrated twice-daily dose of grit and determination. Also quite irritating was the overuse of "flatly" and "shortly" - just about everything that comes out of anyone's mouth is said "flatly" or "shortly", to the point where you could build a drinking game around it. Rather than lie in bed downing shots of vodka at every paragraph, I actually began listing synonyms to myself just to prove that there were other words in the English language that could be used instead.

Overall, I'd recommend it to those who loved The Other Boleyn Girl but fancy something a bit simpler and slower-paced.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A look at the lesser-known part of her life, 2 Oct 2007
By 
Jeremy Walton (Sidmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Following the recommendation of my wife and daughter, I read The Other Boleyn Girl a few years ago, and thought it a good story, in spite of not being a huge fan of historical fiction. I picked this up to take along on a recent trip to Granada - having vaguely remembered that Katherine of Aragon had something to do with the Alhambra - and was very glad I did. The novel opens with the famous scene in which Queen Isabella (Katherine's mother) exhorts her army (which is besieging Granada) to build a new camp after the old one has been destroyed by fire. The new camp - named Santa Fe - was built in stone, and was the location of the surrender of Boabadil (the last Moorish king of Granada) to Ferdinand and Isabella at the conclusion of the siege. You drive past it on the way from the airport to the city.

In the story, Katherine's memories of the Alhambra, her formidable mother and her wily father are like a seam of gold that runs through her internal monologues during her early life in England, and which helps her to maintain her dignity and sense of destiny in spite of feeling unloved, confused and frustrated. The book concentrates on this part of her life, and brings her marriage with Arthur to life (instead of it - as usual - being invoked as one of Henry VIII's excuses for divorcing her), alongside her intriguing relationship with Henry VII, and the maturing of her abilities as a monarch. There's also room for sobering reflections on the subservient role of women in education, religion, medicine and politics, and a thinly-veiled plea for understanding between faiths. The book ends just as the question of the divorce is being raised, but since this already a much-tilled field in fiction, I think it's right to stop there.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 1 July 2007
I totally loved this book. It was so beautifully written and one of my all time favourites. For me it comes second to The Other Boleyn Girl.

This is a love story between Catalina, Infanta of Spain (who becomes Queen Katherine of England to Henry VIII) and Arthur, Henry VII son. Arthur dies and Catalina (Katherine) makes a death bed promise to him and must full fill it.

This story is based on true facts and I love how Philippa brings our historical figures alive. Katherine of Aragon is my most favorite and loved Queen of England. I loved this book so much, it is just simply beautiful. I could't put the book down and just wanted to read more.

Well done Philippa!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Philippa Gregory fan!, 10 Nov 2009
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This was my first taste of a historical novel, and it simply blew me away! What a fantastic read. After getting the impression from school that Katherine of Aragon was nothing but a sad, unfulfilled, unloved encumbrance to Henry VIII, what an eye-opener! Nothing could be further from the truth ...and what an incredible woman.
Philippa Gregory writes with authority from the facts, and yet the book is never dry or dull; it focusses on the people involved - Gregory is very talented at authentic characterisation - but it made me want to learn far more about the Tudor period too.
I have recommended this to my daughter now; for both pleasure and educational purposes, it is hard to surpass.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Constant Joy, 13 Dec 2007
By 
Jo D'Arcy (Portsmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
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This is the second of PG novels that I have read, and I was left pleasantly surprised again. They are not books which I would actively seek to buy and read and still wouldn't after The Constant Princess, but if received as a gift again, I would not sneer at them.

The book gives you an insight into a more colourful and different time, the detail in the research shows through and I think this makes the novel much richer. I liked the author's process of switching between telling the 'tale' and sharing Queen Katherine's (as she eventually became) personal thoughts and intimate details. It was a fascinating period and although this isn't a true and exact account of events, PG gives you a pretty reliable take on what *could* have happened, we will never know of course.

My only fault with the book, was towards the end it got very bitty and seemed in a rush to finish and complete the story with the defeat of the Scots and the more marked arrival of Anne Bolyen as a real contender for wife number 2.
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The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
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