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


Incredibly well-written and entertaining, and I also learned so much about the history of Europe at this time, including Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. I also was fascinated to read about the equally tragic life of her sister, Joanna of Castile ("Mad Joan"). If you are looking for historical fiction that is also historically accurate, this is it.

Victoria Quinn

this is dragging on...


This is a very readable, historically-accurate trilogy about Katherine of Aragon (Henry VIII's first wife). Plaidy sticks as close as possible to historical facts and seems to have done her research well. I am inspired to read more of her books. Plaidy also does a great job of placing Katherine in history so the reader gets a better understanding of historical context in which Katherine based her decisions. This gave the novel greater depth and helped me to have a better understanding of that period of English history. Additionally, Katherine is a likable person, and an incredibly brave one to be able to deny Henry VII his wish for a divorce. It is also interesting to ponder the fact that we still live with the outcomes of their decision today.

Amy Gilchrist Thorne

So-so. The parts of the book that focused on Katharine, and even on Wolsey, were much more engaging than those focused on Henry, where Plaidy distanced the reader from the action, making things drag a bit.Still, it was engaging enough that I probably will never again confuse Wolsey with Cromwell, at least.

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...


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!..


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.


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.

Lolly's Library

2.5 starsIf I'd read this compilation (or the individual novels) about twenty years ago, before I'd studied and read so much concerning Tudor history, I probably would've enjoyed it more. As it is, I just know too much and have too many suppositions and theories of my own; whenever I came upon points of contention, I would say to myself, "Ah, so she went with this version of that event. Okay, so she used this birth date rather than the later one." And so on. So while I can appreciate that Plaidy was an excellent author insofar as creating believable characters and a compelling narrative, her biases ruined the overall experience as they made for rather one-sided characters, especially when it came to Henry VIII. Yes, he was a bastard, there's no doubt about that, but Plaidy's version was almost a caricature--his behavior and personality was just so over-the-top, it was cartoonish. And of course Plaidy went with the standard (at the time) portrayal of "mad" Juana, Katharine's sister, a woman whose image was thoroughly tarnished and maligned by those who purported to love her, who is now becoming somewhat rehabilitated. Not to mention Plaidy had a habit of repeating either information (in what is probably one of the earliest examples of the "As you know, Bob" exposition, I'm guessing), dialogue, or, the most egregious, descriptions. I stopped counting after about the tenth use of "piggy" to describe Henry's eyes. In a way, I believe Jean Plaidy was the Philippa Gregory of her time: she was able to introduce many exciting historical eras and personages to readers using what reference materials were available to her, for which she deserves the lauds she receives, but it's quite obvious she infused her novels with biases and suppositions, possibly her own, possibly those of the sources on which she relied. Either way, while it makes for an entertaining read for those not in the know, for those in the know, reading her books can be disappointing and frustrating, which overwhelms their entertainment value.


A very faithful, touching account of the tragic life of Henry VIII's first wife. This wasn't a frilly historical romance, which I was afraid it could have been, but a solid historical novel with well-researched political and social background. It's horrifying how much suffering one woman could endure, only because her husband never learned the word "no".

Jeralyn lovell

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


One of my new favorite authors is Jean Plaidy. Apparently, she wrote many dozens of books that were published years ago. Most have been difficult to get a hold of, but some are being published again, much to my enjoyment. It's amazing how she works out the politics involved, much like one of my other favorite authors, Colleen McCullough.


I give it 3 stars because of the author's great grasp of history. Usually, historical novels are so over-the-top on pageantry and the show of royalty, they forget that these royals are flesh-and-blood people, and that high rank carried high responsibilities and a heavy personal cost. Sometimes, there are flashes of brilliance, in the descriptions of Arthur's gentleness or Henry VII's calculations. I would have given it 2 stars for the cardboard cutout nature of the characters, and the continual repetition of important themes: Henry VII's tightfisted unloving nature, Henry VIII's lust for life, Elizabeth's silent suffering. There are entire paragraphs that should have been cut out, or revised to make these people more real. However, if you skim it, it could be 4-star material.Having said that, I didn't finish this book.

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 :)


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!

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