Katharine of Aragon
By Jean Plaidy
(Three Rivers Press (CA), Paperback, 9780609810255, 661pp.)
Publication Date: February 22, 2005
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Legendary historical novelist Jean Plaidy begins her tales of Henry VIII's queens with the story of his first wife, the Spanish princess Katharine of Aragon.
As a teenager, Katharine leaves her beloved Spain, land of olive groves and soaring cathedrals, for the drab, rainy island of England. There she is married to the king's eldest son, Arthur, a sickly boy who dies six months after the wedding. Katharine is left a widow who was never truly a wife, lonely in a strange land, with a very bleak future. Her only hope of escape is to marry the king's second son, Prince Henry, now heir to the throne. Tall, athletic, handsome, a lover of poetry and music, Henry is all that Katharine could want in a husband. But their first son dies and, after many more pregnancies, only one child survives, a daughter. Disappointed by his lack of an heir, Henry's eye wanders, and he becomes enamored of another woman--a country nobleman's daughter named Anne Boleyn. When Henry begins searching for ways to put aside his loyal first wife, Katharine must fight to remain Queen of England and to keep the husband she once loved so dearly.