Katharine of Aragon: The Wives of Henry VIII (Tudor Saga, #2-4)

ISBN: 0609810251
ISBN 13: 9780609810255
By: Jean Plaidy

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About this book

La princesa viuda reúne la trilogía sobre la reina Catalina de Aragón (Catalina, virgen y viuda, Bajo la sombra de la granada y El secreto del rey) y da inicio a la serie las reinas Tudor. La reciente y cuestionada dinastía Tudor espera fortalecerse al casar al príncipe de Gales con Catalina de Aragón, una de las hijas de los respetados reyes católicos. La joven infanta tiene apenas quince años, y enviuda poco después de la boda; el conflicto político que esto supone la obliga a permanecer en Inglaterra mientras su suegro y sus padres deciden su futuro. Tras una larga espera es desposada por su cuñado Enrique VIII, con quien vive feliz hasta que su imposibilidad de tener un hijo varón la condena al abandono del rey. Con dignidad e inteligencia, la reina enfrenta el repudio del soberano, quien decide romper con el papado y crear la Iglesia anglicana para obtener el divorcio y poder casarse con Ana Bolena. Querida y respetada por la corte y el pueblo inglés, Catalina prefiere la muerte a la deshonra, y hasta el final se considera reina de Inglaterra, y a su hija María, la legítima heredera al trono.

Reader's Thoughts


Very good book about the life of Henry VIII's first wife. This book is really 3 books in 1, with the first book beginning with Katherine's coming to England to marry Arthur, who will one day be king when his father, Henry VII, dies. The book continues with Katherine marry Henry when Arthur dies, though it is several years later. Katherine is kept waiting for years in England until Henry finally decides he wants to marry her, basically because all of his advisors warn him not to do so. The marriage is, at first, very loving, with Henry and Katherine constantly being together. They try, unsuccessfully, again and again to conceive an heir. Henry's eye soon wanders to another, Lady Bessie Blount, who proceeds to give Henry a son. Katherine finally gives birth to a daughter, but Henry and Katherine continue to grow further apart. The Roman Catholic Church and the Pope both dislike Henry, and will not grant his request for a divorce. Finally, Henry gets the divorce he wants because he basically makes himself the Supreme Ruler of the Church of England. Katherine is sent away so that Henry can marry Ann Boleyn, who despises Katherine and her daughter, Mary. At the end of the book, Katherine dies with her best friend and former lady-in-waiting. It can be seen that Katherine of Aragon was a proud lady who alwyas tried to do what was best for her country of Spain,and later for both Henry and England, even though it was not always to her benefit. Much sympathy could be felt for Katherine in all of the trials she had to endure, especially with the King's treatment of her once he grew tired of her. This book was a little long, but well-worth the read!


Jean Plaidy is amongst the nobility of historical fiction authors. Her research, particularly for the time, is amazing. This is primarily the story of Katherine, but we also get a good chunk of the story of her sister Juana, and the rise and fall of Cardinal Wolsey. It is clear that Anne Boleyn will have her own time to shine, as in this book she is a shadow in the background and never in the forefront. You can't help but feel sympathy for the position of Katherine.


This is the story of Katherine of Aragon, Spanish princess (daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella) and first wife of Henry VIII. She is first sent off to England to marry Arthur (Henry VIII’s older brother); Arthur dies, she is stuck in England, living off the meager allowance Henry VII provides her. She is ultimately married to Henry VIII. They have several children, all of whom, except for Mary, are miscarried or die in infancy/early childhood. Henry VIII needs a male heir and thinks he’d have a better shot with a younger woman. He seeks to have his marriage to Katherine invalidated, on the ground that the marriage is incestuous, because she was previously married to his brother. Katherine insists that the marriage with Arthur was never consummated. The Pope refuses to annul the marriage, so Henry VIII ultimately breaks off and starts his own church and marries Anne Boleyn. What struck me most was Katherine’s attitude - she remained dignified despite Henry’s treatment of her. She didn’t let him disrespect her and she fought for herself, but she didn’t sink down to his level.


Katharine of Aragon, by Jean Plaidy"Katharine of Aragon," by Jean Plaidy, is actually an omnibus of the author's three previous novels about Henry VIII's first queen. The books are: "Katharine, the Virgin Widow," "The Shadow of the Pomegranate," and "The King's Secret Matter." So this volume is a great deal, as you're really getting three books for the price of one.Plaidy is an excellent historical fiction writer. I'd seen her recommended several times, and was eager to read something of hers. Katharine happens to be a favorite figure of mine, but Plaidy has written novels on just about anyone you could want to read about in English history. "Katharine, the Virgin Widow" focuses on the young princess and her first marriage to Henry's brother, Arthur. The book starts with Katharine's journey from Spain to England; I would have liked to see Plaidy write some scenes from the princess's life before England - references are made to her "previous" life quite a bit, and it would have been nice to read some of them, rather than just get a line or two of memories. But otherwise, a great book, that introduces readers the different players in the English monarchy and politics. "The Shadow of the Pomegranate" continues Katharine's story after her marriage to Henry VIII, and focuses on her difficulty to conceive an heir. "The King's Secret Matter" finishes Katharine's sad tale, recounting Henry's efforts to divorce his wife and marry Anne Boleyn. Plaidy captures Katharine's dignity and fight to remain a queen through all of Henry's machinations to set her aside. Plaidy pens an engrossing story of Katharine of Argaon, one that fans of historical Tudor fiction will surely enjoy. I'll definitely be picking up more of her novels, because I think they are great introductions for periods or people I'm unfamiliar with. 4/5.


Good, but it took me a while to read it (which tells you something since I LOVE to read). Not as good as the same period historical novels by Phillipa Gregory, however, a nice compliment with a different twist on the marriage and divorce of Henry VIII and Katharine of Aragon.

Sara Giacalone

Whew! This is a big, long book (it's really three books in one). I enjoyed it overall, even if it seemed a bit familiar. The characters are well developed (if a bit familiar in their portrayal) and the plot moves along nicely throughout. I will continue reading the series...


This book took me well over a month to finish but it was engaging. I was glad to learn more of the details surrounding Henry VIII's first wife--I didn't know they were married well over twenty years before he broke from the Pope and had the marriage annulled. Next time I visit the Tower of London, I think I'll be a little more sober about English history.

Jeralyn lovell

Loved this fictional account based on her true story. Wow! She's quite the queen.

Mandy Moody

Katherine of Aragon is actually a trilogy of books that were originally published separately, but have now been combined into one volume, with each book representing a separate part. As I read it, I thanked God that it had been combined like it was.At times I really loved this book, at times I really hated it. The first part was incredibly slow for me. The period between Katherine arriving in England and marrying Arthur, the period between Arthurs death and Katherine marrying Henry - both dragged on for ages. When it finally wrapped up and I realized that the slow begining of this book had been an entire stand-alone novel at one point I wondered how anyone had ever read it as that!The second part was my favorite - maybe because it was about the portion of Katherine's life when she was actually happy. I thought Plaidy's knowledge of the time period and Katherine's relationship with Henry was outstanding.The third book started off very well, but ended up even slower than the first book. Katherine and Henry's estrangement (the time between when he attempted to divorce her and the time that he actually married Anne Boleyn) in real life lasted about 8 years. Reading about it felt like three times that.Jean Plaidy seemed to be very sympathetic towards Katherine, so much so that I'd be interested to see how she portrays Anne Boleyn. Overall, I think it was a good, solid portrayal of Katherine's life. I would have rated it 3.5 stars were half stars allowed :)

Laura Finger

I was so thoroughly disappointed with this one. I've always had a soft spot for Katherine, who received one of the worst hands in history. Jean Plaidy is one of my all time favorite historical fiction writers. They're long, meaty, and if I can get my hands on one that's available as an eBook I'm thrilled. The problem I have with this book is the structure. Plaidy turns from Katherin's narrative to so many other POVs that it's basically anybody's novel. For example, she leaves Katherine to focus on her equally tragic sister Joan, Queen of Castile and their mother Isabella's successor. While I like the idea of reading Joan's story, this was not the place to do so. Katherine's life was more than enough to fill a novel, and I think that jumping around with the POV was incredibly ineffective and annoying. For that reason, this remains my least favorite of Plaidy's novels. I was deeply disappointed with it. When compared with The Constant Princess, also about Katherine of Aragon, this book shortchanges a princess who was shortchanged her entire life.


Incredible! Plaidy writes Henry VIII better than anyone! Start with this one, and then work to her others. My sister got me into "Princess" novels about a year ago, and I can't stop reading them...this was my first, and is the best I've read so far.

Ann Canann

There is more history and politics in Plaidy's work than in the other historic novel's I've read, so I was drawn into the book on many levels. Henry the VIII'S first wife won my heart with the gorgeous speech Shakespeare gave her as she faced Henry in court. She had such an interesting life the two novels I have read about her this year hardly overlapped. Plaidy is Brit-based and somewhat difficult to find on this side of the pond, but well worth the hunt.


If you want to take a historical journey through Henry VIII's Tudor times and can't quite cope with Hilary Mantel then you could do worse than start with Jean Plaidy - this is where it all started for am and I remember her books with a lot of affection. Unlike Mantel she creates a couple of folk to help tell the story and for me that was ok!..

Diane Bell

I really enjoyed this book, which was a nice surprise, since I pulled it off the library shelf without knowing anything about it. It is long, but I stayed interested throughout. The author did a terrific job of delving into the workings of the royalty, and was excellent at revealing the personalities of the characters. I appreciated the fact that though sex was a major theme of the story, she did not get graphic about it.


This book strikes a perfect balance – thorough and well researched from a historic perspective, yet engaging and enjoyable to read just as a novel should be. Definitely recommended!

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