Young Catalina is the daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain. When she is sent to marry Prince Arthur of England, she becomes Princess Catherine. But months into her marriage, Catherine finds herself a widow, and later, the wife Arthur’s brother, King Henry VIII. She is devastated when her husband becomes enthralled with Anne Bolelyn, and makes moves to dissolve his marriage with his first wife.
Told from Catherine’s perspective, Carolly Erickson’s The Spanish Queen blends historical fact with intriguing fiction. Catherine is a character with whom anyone could relate, devastated by the loss of children, and the betrayal of a man she once loved. She is also overcome by sadness in her later years as she is kept from her only surviving daughter, and discarded for another woman.
I was particularly moved by Henry’s brief moments of compassion toward Catherine in the latter pages of the novel. While history has painted a picture of man driven by lust and the unrelenting desire to produce an heir, Erickson’s depiction of him was incredibly thought-provoking. Did Henry ever regret his decision to leave his first wife? If you love historical fiction, you’re sure to enjoy this unforgettable story.
Meg lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, Ryan. Library professional by day, freelance writer by night, Meg writes about life, entertainment and everything in between.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by St. Martin’s Press. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.