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Monday, 29 August 2011

Book Review-Katharine the Virgin Widow by Jean Plaidy

Katharine is relieved when she meets the kind and quiet Prince Arthur, imagining a good life together as Prince and Princess of Wales before Arthur becomes King. But tragedy strikes when Arthur dies five months after the wedding and Henry VII is not interested in her welfare as his alliance with Spain flounders. Struggling for money, she endures a long wait to find out if she can marry the new Prince of Wales, the young Henry.

Another good Tudor read, similar in story to Philippa Gregory's 'The Constant Princess'. This book is less complimentary to the servants and ambassadors who were not doing their best to help Katharine in her time of need. It is pretty shocking the way Henry VII and her own father didn't seem to give a damn whether she lived or died, heaping humiliation on her as she struggled to feed and clothe her household. The main difference is this book concentrates on Katharine's first marriage not being consummated, and her lack of interest in Henry as a future husband, except to get the crown she was promised for coming to England. The book also follows the mental health problems of her sister Juana which I found fascinating, though sad, as I have not read about her before.

Poor Arthur never wanted to be King and his early death prevented him from getting the chance. I think Katharine would have lived a much happier life with him, helping him to run the country, than the life of misery that Henry VIII subjected her to. This book finishes with Henry and Katharine being crowned King and Queen, when she was happy and looking forward to a new life.(les

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