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 Ask Leo book review circulation copyright crafts databases dental eBooks electronic resource electronic resources events extended hours food 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 recipes resources restaurant review staff statistics summer survey Thanksgiving Tufts Hirsh Health Sciences Library TUSM Under10 website writing consultants
Follow Us on Twitter!
- The Surprising Failure of Calorie Counts on Menus https://t.co/fEU3gl50AI via @UpshotNYT about 6 hours ago from Twitter Web Client ReplyRetweetFavorite
- ARRRR MATEY! Scurvy (really) is an under-recognized health problem that is trivial to treat. https://t.co/Xtxzh6gUlW via @slate about 8 hours ago from Twitter Web Client ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Food fight erupts as top nutritionists gather to define healthy eating https://t.co/wMc5gaVsp8 via @statnews about 8 hours ago from Twitter Web Client ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Should we edit the human germline? A debate on hubris, equity, and vision https://t.co/F34YlYw1ky via @statnews about 9 hours ago from Twitter Web Client ReplyRetweetFavorite
- Short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change https://t.co/f2V5SdD8P6 about 11 hours ago from Twitter Web Client ReplyRetweetFavorite
- New database from @AHRQNews tracks hospital readmission rates. Learn more: https://t.co/SvHM9VfdtV 09:47:52 AM November 25, 2015 from Twitter Web Client ReplyRetweetFavorite
Tufts HHSL on Facebook