At the age of 3, Spanish princess Catalina is betrothed to Arthur, England's Prince of Wales. At 15, she leaves home to marry.

Infused with the idealism of youth, Catalina (christened Katherine in English) and Arthur spend the early days of their marriage loving, talking and planning the future of England. Their marriage is a love match of the heart and mind.

Two years later, a sickly Arthur dies, but not before making Katherine promise to marry his younger brother, Henry, and carry out their hopes for the country. To do this, Katherine must lie about their marriage, claiming it was never consummated and therefore never legal. The scheme works, and Katherine claims the throne as queen, just as she and Arthur plotted.

This is a Katherine of Aragon most readers have never seen. Gregory's portrait is one of a clever, cunning young woman who uses everything to convince those in power that she's an innocent and draw a young, virile Henry into marriage.

Those familiar with Katherine's life will need to suspend their preconceived ideas about her to accept Gregory's reimagined, more emotionally strong woman. No matter how you feel about this new image, you'll have to credit Gregory with creativity and the courage to rewrite history. (Dec., 400 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin