Alison Weir creates a sympathetic Katherine of Aragon in this detailed portrait of her ultimately tragic life.

six tudor queens 1Apparently based on new research into the life of Katherine of Aragon, this first novel in Alison Weir’s new series Six Tudor Queens is refreshing and offers a strong female personality that reveals just how strong Henry VIII’s first queen must have been through all of the tragedies that came into her life – in particular her numerous miscarriages and still births and of course the breakdown of her marriage to the King which transformed England forever.

It is a fascinating insight into the kind of thoughts that Katherine must have had during her joys and triumphs as well as the low points during her life – the period in which she was virtually in exile from the King due to the appearance of Anne Boleyn is particularly heartbreaking to read about in such vivid detail.

But entwined with this is of course a whole variety of political situations that emerge across the years, in particular reference to England’s changing alliances with France and Spain – which judging by Weir’s take on proceedings was always quite manipulative and happened according to what the other country needed in particular.

Throughout this engaging read, there are still moments which feel as though they pass by in a flash rather abruptly, the transitions between periods of time are not particularly smooth – jumping from one particular event to another awkwardly. Of course being a novel it would be difficult and not productive to feature every little occurrence in the day-to-day life of being a royal, but it could have been done in a way that was less history book like and blend the events together with style.

Weir’s novel is in-depth and delivers an admirable heroine – who had such a tragic ending. Did she lie about whether her first marriage to Prince Arthur was consummated or not?  Somehow here it doesn’t seem that important as either way by the end of her life she was neglected and alone.

Overall, the attention to detail is precise and the writing is imaginative and heartfelt with Weir clearly having sympathy for the neglected first queen – as all those who read the book will surely feel. A fascinating read.

Six Tudor Queens: Katherine of Aragon: The True Queen is available to buy through Amazon now.