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review 2019-06-05 11:15
Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen
Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen: A Novel (Six Tudor Queens) - Alison Weir

This is heavy on the history, light on the fiction, in direct contrast to other Tudor-era historical fiction I’ve read. There’s no plot per se, just a slightly fictionalized account of Katherine’s life from her coming to England to her death. A lot of it reads like Weir is checking things off a timeline. Katherine went to this place on this date. She wrote this letter to this correspondent. The court gossip was this. The political climate was this. So-and-so’s star was rising while Such-and-such was out of favor. It’s interspersed with Katherine’s thoughts and feelings and conversations, but it’s not structured like your typical three-act novel. The lack of rising and falling action results in a plodding pace that makes the book feel much longer than it is. It’s good history, but it’s meh storytelling.


Weir portrays Katherine as a religious, loyal, loving, and largely oblivious wife. Katherine is always the last to know about her husband’s infidelities, and she’s completely blindsided by Henry seeking a divorce, having had no inkling of his lengthy pursuit of Anne Boleyn. Speaking of Anne, I am super curious about how Weir portrays her in the next book. In Katherine’s eyes she was a malicious, vindictive spawn of Satan out to drag the whole of England down to Hell by means of religious reform and her wily king-seducing ways.

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text 2019-06-03 07:37
Reading progress update: I've read 68%.
Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen: A Novel (Six Tudor Queens) - Alison Weir

After a few miscarriages and stillbirths . . .


Katherine: Oh woe! God is punishing us because I was your brother’s wife, though the marriage was never consummated!


Henry: Nonsense, woman! We have a papal dispensation! We’re totes okay with God!


Years later, when Henry wants a divorce . . .


Henry: Oh woe! Our sons all died and you are now barren because I sinned against God by marrying my brother’s wife!


Katherine: No ways, we totes had that papal dispensation, which covers our asses whether my first marriage was consummated or not, which it totally wasn’t. I AM YOUR ONE TRUE WIFE WHY DON’T YOU LOVE ME ANYMORE?!?!


Henry: It’s totes not because I want to bang Anne Boleyn and she won’t let me unless we’re married. OUR MARRIAGE IS INVALID OH HOW MY CONSCIENCE PRICKS ME SUDDENLY AFTER 18 YEARS OF TOTAL CERTAINTY!!!!


This double about-face was brought to you by some interesting characterization choices which I’m not entirely sure were deliberate. Henry’s 180 makes sense, as he wants male heirs and Anne Boleyn’s ass and any excuse will do. Katherine’s is less convincing, since Weir has shown her agonizing over every possible sin God could be punishing her for after each miscarriage/stillbirth/infant death. Unless I missed it, Katherine doesn’t even have a moment of doubt when Henry throws her old fears in her face, which is at odds with the walking stomach ulcer of worry that she's being portrayed as. Even if she’s projecting certainty out of desperation to preserve the legitimacy of her marriage and her daughter’s birth, shouldn’t there be more to her inner struggle than “I love my husband but he’s betrayed me and I’m sure it’s all Wolsey’s doing”?


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text 2019-05-29 06:16
Reading progress update: I've read 26%.
Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen: A Novel (Six Tudor Queens) - Alison Weir

After years of delay, Katherine and Henry are discussing their upcoming marriage and payment of Katherine’s dowry.

“Sir,” she faltered, “part of it was to be paid in jewels and plate. I had to sell some, to buy food and other necessities.”


Henry leaned forward and kissed her. “We will not waste time over trifles,” he reassured her. “The plate and jewels are of no importance.”


And with those few words he banished the anxiety that had been consuming her for years.

And with those few words, he banished the conflict that’s been driving the whole novel since the first mention of the plate and jewels at the beginning. If this really is the end of Jewel and Plategate, I’m going to have to tear up my letter to the publisher demanding this book be retitled as Katherine of Aragon’s Dowry, The True MacGuffin.

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review 2017-12-31 12:24
Six Tudor Queens: Writing a New Story - Alison Weir

As I wasn't expecting much, I didn't think I could be disappointed. It was a free download and I thought it sounded interesting. I was hoping for some insight in to why she felt she needed to write the series and how she came across her 'new' information, that kind of thing. What I didn't expect was six pages of the usual blurb you get at the start of the book (publication information/ author biography) and the remaining ten pages just a very quick summary of history. I imagine that it could be quite a good place to start if you have never read anything about Henry VIIIs wives but if you have a basic knowledge then it just isn't worth it. Having said that it cost nothing and just a few minutes of my life so I am not complaining.

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text 2016-08-01 14:05
July Reading Roundup
The Colour of Poison: A Sebastian Foxley Medieval Mystery (Volume 1) - Toni Mount
The Imp of Eye (Renaissance Sojourner Series Book 1) - Kristin Gleeson,Moonyeen Blakey
Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania - Erik Larson
Mary Tudor: Princess, Bastard, Queen - Anna Whitelock
The Tudor Kings & Queens - Alex Woolf
Fires of Faith: Catholic England Under Mary Tudor - Eamon Duffy
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
The Errant Flock (The Flock Series Book 1) - Jana Petken
Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen - Alison Weir

I was also hoping to be done with Jasper by Tony Riches by the end of the month but didn't quite get there. This month had it's share of hits and misses & they are listed above in my approximate ranking from best - Colour of Poison - to worst - Katherine of Aragon: True Queen. Interestingly, these are both novels written by women who are better known for their historical nonfiction.



Dead Wake

Katherine of Aragon: True Queen


Indie Authors:

Imp of Eye

Errant Flock

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