Philippa Gregory’s The Constant Princess offers a refreshing take on the life of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII of England. Most historical fiction set in the Tudor period seems to center on the tumult of Henry’s romance with Anne Boleyn and break with the Catholic Church. In these stories, Catherine of Aragon appears as an austere background figure, pitiable but cold.
However, The Constant Princess introduces us to Catalina, the young Infanta of Spain, raised to rule by her formidable mother, Isabella I of Castille, in both the sumptuous court of Spain as well as on war campaigns. As a teen, Catalina is wedded to the young prince of England, Arthur Tudor, where she becomes Catherine, Princess of Wales. Gregory deftly illustrates Catalina’s struggles with culture shock and her need to negotiate between her Spanish and English identities. The novel also offers the chance to see Henry VIII in a new light: as an eager young boy, the second son who never expects to rule, rather than as the gluttonous, philandering monarch of his later years, which is his predominant depiction.
Gregory creates a detailed backdrop against which the novel’s action and emotional relationships are set. Particularly striking are her descriptions of the cultural and political milieu of early sixteenth-century Spain, where a variety of cultures and religions mingled to produce great works of scholarship and art, despite their ideological conflicts.
Even if you are already familiar with the history, Gregory keeps you guessing and hoping for a happy ending. The historical and cultural detail is rich, but not overwhelming, and the narrative strikes a perfect balance between history and romance. Fans of both genres should be pleased.
Want to read The Constant Princess? You can check it out at Hirsh! Just click the cover to be taken to the listing in the catalog. Happy reading!
Tags4th floor 5th floor affiliation book review circulation coffee copyright crafts databases electronic resource electronic resources events exams extended hours food fun fun lab graduation HHSL Hirsh Health Sciences Library holiday holidays hours ILLiad Interlibrary Loan library service desk library staff lunch new books open access open access week open workshop portals publishing recipes resources staff statistics summer survey Thanksgiving therapy dogs Tufts Hirsh Health Sciences Library website welcome!
Follow Us on Twitter!
- LED technology from MIT to be used by startup working on Alzheimer’s treatment https://t.co/iFhz8P6XTG via @BostonGlobe about 5 hours ago from Twitter Web Client ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Even a Cigarette a Day Is Bad for Your Health https://t.co/eTDSJr0N1r about 6 hours ago from Twitter Web Client ReplyRetweetFavorite
- RT @marionnestle: House Ag Committee SNAP report just out. Bland. Whew. https://t.co/ITnotDEjvc about 12 hours ago from Twitter Web Client ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Join us at the intersection of craft and snack...make a gingerbread house! 12/8 + 12/9 at 12pm | What's New @ HHSL https://t.co/QMBX8AaqVx 03:34:28 PM December 06, 2016 from Bitly ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Can You Get Too Much Protein? https://t.co/muP2OuZT6Y 01:07:12 PM December 06, 2016 from Twitter Web Client ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Depression common among medical school students, study finds https://t.co/7DdsnmBSJC via @BostonGlobe 11:14:30 AM December 06, 2016 from Twitter Web Client ReplyRetweetFavorite
Tufts HHSL on Facebook