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The Spanish Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon by Carolly Erickson: A Book Review

The Spanish Queen: A Novel of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon

Author: Carolly Erickson

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: 2013

Pages: 288

Source: Personal Collection 

Synopsis: From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Wife of Henry VIII comes a powerful and moving novel about Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII's first wife and mother of Mary I.

     When young Catherine of Aragon, proud daughter of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, is sent to England to marry the weak Prince Arthur, she is unprepared for all that awaits her: early widowhood, the challenge of warfare with the invading Scots, and the ultimately futile attempt to provide the realm with a prince to secure the succession. She marries Arthur's energetic, athletic brother Henry, only to encounter fresh obstacles, chief among them Henry's infatuation with the alluring but wayward Anne Boleyn.

     In The Spanish Queen, bestselling novelist Carolly Erickson allows the strong-willed, redoubtable Queen Catherine to tell her own story—a tale that carries her from the scented gardens of Grenada to the craggy mountains of Wales to the conflict-ridden Tudor court. Surrounded by strong partisans among the English, and with the might of Spanish and imperial arms to defend her, Catherine soldiers on, until her union with King Henry is severed and she finds herself discarded—and tempted to take the most daring step of her life.

      Carolly Erickson's historical entertainments continue to succeed in creating a unique blend of historical authenticity and page-turning drama. 


      My Review: Catherine of Aragon was the first queen to Henry VIII. In this novel, Queen Catherine of Aragon is a Spanish princess who is betrothed to Arthur, the Prince of Wales. She marries him, but she quickly becomes a widow. She eventually marries King Henry VIII. However, she fails to give birth to a son. Her husband decides to set her aside to marry Anne Boleyn. Queen Catherine of Aragon must stand up to her husband in order to keep her status as queen.

     I did not like Mrs. Erickson’s portrayal of Queen Catherine of Aragon. Because of her illustrious parents, she thinks that she is better than everyone else. Therefore, Queen Catherine of Aragon is very judgmental and critical of those around her. I also did not like that she is very vengeful. She plots the downfall of her rival, Queen Anne Boleyn. Thus, it was hard for me to sympathize with her. She was a very unlikable character.

     Overall, this novel is about religion, corruption, and revenge. I found all the characters to be one-dimensional. I did like Mrs. Erickson’s portrayal of Queen Catherine of Aragon’s first husband. I like how she portrayed her first marriage. However, The Spanish Queen felt very rushed. There were some plotlines that did not go anywhere. There were many inaccuracies and some of the scenes seemed far-fetched. Nevertheless, The Spanish Queen was a short and easy read. If you like to read everything about the Tudors, then you might want to give this a try. However, there are far more superior books on Queen Catherine of Aragon. Some of them I recommend are Alison Weir’s Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen, Katherine of Aragon by Jean Plaidy, and Philippa Gregory’s The Constant Princess! Thus, I advise you to skip this book and read the other historical fiction novels on Queen Catherine of Aragon!

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars


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