My most recent novel was Philippa Gregory’s The Constant Princess, after I abandoned my Georgette Heyer audio book – I just couldn’t get into it.
As usual, I loved Gregory’s writing and felt compelled to read to the exclusion of all other activities. I was shocked how little I knew about Katherine, or Catalina, of Aragon and her life before the “Great Matter” that changed history for Britain forever. Surprised, and a little shamed. What a life she had! A childhood on crusades and campaigns, knowing her marriage and life destiny from age 3. She struggled to learn the English ways (which in contrast to some Moorish methods and lifestyles seem borderline barbaric and backward) and after an awkward to start to her marriage to Arthur, fell deeply in mutual love with him before tragically losing him months into their marriage. Katherine then decided to fight to stay in England and scheme to become Queen of England by any means.
My only quibble with the book was the sudden skip forward 16years for 3 pages to finish the book with Katherine heading into her Divorce hearing – which seemed unnecessary as there had been a conclusive and reasonable finish to the story without this.