Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen (Six Tudor Queens #1) by Alison Weir: A Book Review

Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen (Six Tudor Queens #1)
Author: Alison Weir
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Release Date: 2016
Pages: 602
Source: Netgalley/Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: Bestselling author and acclaimed historian Alison Weir takes on what no fiction writer has done before: creating a dramatic six-book series in which each novel covers one of King Henry VIII's wives. In this captivating opening volume, Weir brings to life the tumultuous tale of Katherine of Aragon. Henry's first, devoted, and "true" queen.

     A princess of Spain, Catalina is only sixteen years old when she sets foot on the shores of England. The youngest daughter of the powerful monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Catalina is a coveted prize for a royal marriage - and Arthur, Prince of Wales, and heir to the English throne, has won her hand. But tragedy strikes and Catalina, now Princess Katherine, is betrothed to the future Henry VIII. She must wait for his coming-of-age, an ordeal that tests her resolve, casts doubt on her trusted confidantes, and turns her into a virtual prisoner. 

     Katherine's patience is rewarded when she becomes Queen of England. The affection between Katherine and Henry is genuine, but forces beyond her control threaten to rend her marriage, and indeed the nation, apart. Henry has fallen under the spell of Katherine's maid of honor, Anne Boleyn. Now Katherine must be prepared to fight, to the end if God wills it, for her faith, her legitimacy, and her heart.

     My Review: In the first of a new series about Henry VIII’s wives by Alison Weir, Alison Weir focuses on Henry VIII’s first wife, Katherine of Aragon. Katherine, a young Spanish princess, arrives in a foreign land that has a different language, customs, and scenery. She misses her homeland but is determined to make her parents proud. She marries Prince Arthur, Henry VIII’s older brother. She shortly finds herself a widow and at the mercy of Henry VII, her father-in-law. For six years, she struggles with poverty and is often neglected. Eventually, Henry VIII takes the throne and decides to make Katherine his wife. Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen chronicles Henry VIII’s longest marriage as well Katherine’s loves, triumphs, and her ultimate downfall.

     Ever since my early teens, I have been fascinated by the Tudor’s. I was excited when my favorite historian, Alison Weir, announced that she would write a historical novel of each of the six Tudor queens. I love Katherine of Aragon’s story because she never gave up fighting for her rights. However, this book took me forever to read, and it was not because of the length.

     Katherine of Aragon is a complex figure. However, in this novel, we never really get to see Katherine’s complexity. I didn’t think that Alison Weir fully developed Katherine of Aragon. Katherine seemed more like a cardboard cutout than an actual character. This is because Alison Weir mostly tells us what she is rather than show us. Thus, I really couldn’t get into Katherine of Aragon and it felt mostly like a rehash of her life. I could not emotionally get invested in her character. I felt as if I was mostly reading a biography about her. Therefore, I felt that Weir should have made this a biography rather than a historical fiction story.

     Overall, this was a good idea to write about the six wives of Henry VIII, however, it just was not executed well enough. The characters were not fully-developed, the writing was dry at times like a textbook, and there were some subplots that lead nowhere. The positives of this book is that Alison Weir is the most accurate historical writer that I have read about the Tudors. She makes very little changes to Katherine of Aragon’s story and mostly sticks to the facts. This will please many historical fiction fans who love their history to be mostly accurate. This is also good for those who do not really know much about Katherine of Aragon and would love to learn about Katherine’s story. Thus, while I didn’t love Alison Weir’s Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, I’m sure her writing will improve more as the series progress. I am eagerly looking forward to reading her take on Anne Boleyn, one of Henry VIII’s most notorious and fascinating queens.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Here is a video of Alison Weir talking about her latest novel, Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen:

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Blog Tour: Faithful by Michelle Hauck

Faithful
Author: Michelle Hauck
Pub. Date: November 15, 2016
Publisher: Harper Voyager Impulse
Pages: 384
Formats: eBook
Find it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, Goodreads

About the Book: Following Grudging--and with a mix of Terry Goodkind and Bernard Cornwall--religion, witchcraft, and chivalry war in Faithful, the exciting next chapter in Michelle Hauck's Birth of Saints series!

     A world of Fear and death…and those trying to save it.

     Colina Hermosa has burned to the ground. The Northern invaders continue their assault on the ciudades-estados. Terror has taken hold, and those that should be allies betray each other in hopes of their own survival. As the realities of this devastating and unprovoked war settles in, what can they do to fight back?

     On a mission of hope, an unlikely group sets out to find a teacher for Claire, and a new weapon to use against the Northerners and their swelling army.

     What they find instead is an old woman.

     But she’s not a random crone—she’s Claire’s grandmother. She’s also a Woman of the Song, and her music is both strong and horrible. And while Claire has already seen the power of her own Song, she is scared of her inability to control it, having seen how her magic has brought evil to the world, killing without reason or remorse. To preserve a life of honor and light, Ramiro and Claire will need to convince the old woman to teach them a way so that the power of the Song can be used for good. Otherwise, they’ll just be destroyers themselves, no better than the Northerners and their false god, Dal. With the annihilation their enemy has planned, though, they may not have a choice.

     A tale of fear and tragedy, hope and redemption, Faithful is the harrowing second entry in the Birth of Saints trilogy.


About Michelle:



     Michelle Hauck lives in the bustling metropolis of northern Indiana with her hubby and two teenagers. Two papillons help balance out the teenage drama. Besides working with special needs children by day, she writes all sorts of fantasy, giving her imagination free range. A book worm, she passes up the darker vices in favor of chocolate and looks for any excuse to reward herself. Bio finished? Time for a sweet snack.

     She is a co-host of the yearly contests Query Kombat and Nightmare on Query Street, and Sun versus Snow.

     Her epic fantasy, Kindar's Cure, is published by Divertir Publishing. Her short story, Frost and Fog, is published by The Elephant's Bookshelf Press in their anthology, Summer's Double Edge. She's repped by Sarah Negovetich of Corvisiero Literary.

     Visit her: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr


Giveaway Details:



2 winners will receive signed paperbacks of book 1, Grudging, US Only.
Tour Schedule:

 Week One:
11/7/2016- Books, Dreams, Life- Interview
11/8/2016- Bibliobibuli YA- Review
11/9/2016- Book in the Bag- Interview
11/10/2016- History from a Woman's Perspective
11/11/2016- Marty Mayberry- Guest Post

Week Two:
11/14/2016- Book for Thought- Review
11/16/2016- Always Me- Review
11/17/2016- Dazzled by Books- Interview
11/18/2016- The Autumn Bookshelf- Review