Review: Katharine of Aragon by Jean Plaidy

Katharine of Aragon
by Jean Plaidy

Rating:  5/5

The godmother of Historical Fiction brings Katherine of Aragon to life in this compelling novel detailing the life of Henry VIII's first wife.

Born to one of the fiercest couple monarchs in history, Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Katherine grew up with a deep sense of family pride, charity, morality and strength of character befitting an Infanta of Spain. Betrothed to the heir of England, Arthur Tudor, from an early age they finally married when Katherine was 16. Unfortunately, Arthur would die a mere five months after their wedding and Katherine, now a widow, has her fate held in limbo by Arthur’s father, Henry VII. Reluctant to lose Katherine’s dowry, Henry VII has her sent off to Durham Castle with the prospect that she is to marry the new heir, the future Henry VIII. However, it would be a full seven years before the marriage takes place and that is only after the King dies.

Katharine of Aragon

Henry and Katherine’s marriage was pleasant, but after years of miscarriages and stillborns, Henry begins to fear that Katherine will never produce an heir. Katherine’s physical appearance has suffered from the years of pregnancies and Henry begins looking elsewhere for lovin’. Enter Anne Boleyn. Well, the poor woman had no chance against her! The picture of youth, gaiety and wit Anne Boleyn quickly wraps Henry around her little finger and Henry tries every possible trick to get out of his marriage with Katherine. Thus “The Great Matter” is born.

No appeal or declaration of love from Katherine can persuade Henry to back down off of his current path. In fact, it only served to incense him further and when the Church declared their marriage was indeed valid, well Henry just broke the Church of England from Rome itself, giving him the ultimate power. Her cause lost, Katherine was separated from her daughter, Mary (whom herself was declared a bastard) and would be shuffled off to castle after castle until her death in 1536 at Kimbolton Castle.

Kimbolton Castle

After The Loves of Charles II, this has to be my second favorite novel of Plaidy’s – she seems to paint the most accurate portrayal of Katherine that I’ve read to date. Katherine’s story is one that needs to be told. Through everything that was thrown at her she stayed strong and never wavered in her conviction…going to her death bed with nary a bad word to say about Henry – the man that had treated her so cruelly, a man that had taken away her daughter and cast her off for a younger woman after years of faithful devotion. She was truly an inspiring and courageous woman.



  1. I will have to look for this one. I have read several of Ms. Plaidy's books and have enjoyed them thoroughly.

  2. Ooh, I think this is one that I haven't read. Another book hits the TVR pile!

  3. This one sounds really good. I only have one of her books at home. They aren't readily available in Canada although the library has quite a few of them.

  4. This book sounds really interesting. I've not read anything by Jean Plaidy. Superb review :)

  5. This sounds wonderful! I simply must get my hands on some Plaidy, and soon!

  6. Jean Plaidy is great, I've read nearly all of her books over the years. Interesting that many have never heard of her.
    Thank you for your post and beautiful blog.

  7. I read one of Plaidy's novels and loved it, so I'll have to add this one to my list.

  8. I have this book, and have not yet read it. You make it sound like a compelling read, and one I should get to soon. Great review! I'll be looking forward to it!

  9. I have The Road of Compeigne by her. Have u read it?! Did u like it! I know it is 2nd in a series, I accidentally picked this one.. when I had to actually take the 1st one! But i think I can read it!

    I read about Katherine of Aragon in King's Fool by Margaret Campbell Barnes. However there is no history of Queen Katherine in that... but it is widely mentioned that she was the favorite queen of the masses! In that book she has mentioned of all that the King does to break there marriage, which made me so sad!

    I really need to get this! I love the sound of it!

    I would love to read about My Lady Katherine of Aragon!


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