Second Edition: I added another part in the review
The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory.
Rate: 4.5 of 5
Genre: Partial History, Partial Romance, Partial Religion. I do not know its actual genre. Please ignore it.
Summary of this book: A daughter of Queen Isabella I of Castle and King Ferdinand II of Aragon of Spain , Catalina, fifteen, was sent away from her royal family in Spain to England for an arranged marriage which mean that is matchmaking without a bride’s and a groom’s consent. (The arranged marriage is common practice currently in royal family, traditional families and ethic minorities such as tribal groups or Muslim groups in developing countries) She faced a different culture (Tudor royal line) – different food, different lifestyle, different environment, different politic system, different habits and different practice. With a England king, father-in-law’s insults, how did she face a difficult position alone? She was brought up to be a Queen of England but her first husband died of Sweat (disease) and she became a widow. Her fate of becoming Queen of England was sealed. With her determination and her endurance, she managed to get the title of Monarch for the late husband’s deathbed promise. She faced a poverty and had no friends and no supports of her royal family. The late husband, Arthur’s younger brother, Henry was interested in her. Is there a chance to re-marry the second child of the England King who was intimated with her?
Review: It is really fantastic and engrossing. I guess it is best one among Philippa Gregory’s other books. I am impressed on Princess Catalina and her mother. Princess Catalina is very capable and strong woman. She learnt many things from her mother who wore in royal armour during a battle and was very faithful in a religion but she realised that she and her mother had different views. The mother wiped out all Muslim and Jew scholars who were not following her own faith in order to change the politic after obtaining a land. Those scholars were more intelligent and more knowledgeable than the Christian lords who were more faith in the religion than science and medical theories. Catalina valued the knowledge of science and medicine. They were in sixteenth century. One strange part from that book is about the fake pregnacy. Catalina was told by the English physician that she carried another alive twin after the first dead baby was induced. But she felt nothing in her womb and decided to see Moorish Muslim physician (Philiosopors’ Stone – type of scholars in old time. ). The Muslim physician confirmed that she had no baby in the swollen belly. So odd. The English culture in 16th century was very funny and very queer. You can bath occasionally and change the underwear once half of year. You can not eat raw vegetable otherwise you get sick. It explains why the religion was huge impact than science in everyday life.