THE SPANISH QUEEN
Expert historian Erickson has covered several of Henry VIII’s wives with sympathetic, realistic portraits and now turns her attention to his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. Readers already sympathetic to Catherine will rejoice in this portrayal and even those who might favor another cannot help but be drawn to this woman who was thrown over because she couldn’t produce a son. Erickson instinctively knows what historical fiction readers crave and gives it to them time and again.
As the daughter of Isabella and Ferdinand, Catherine is a well-brought up, religious young woman who has hopes and dreams of a wonderful life and fruitful marriage when she arrives in England. She is stunned to find her young husband, Prince Arthur, sickly and her youthful hopes are dashed. After his death she is drawn to his powerful and athletic brother, Henry, who is smitten with her. Their marriage is one of fidelity and infidelity as Henry’s eye wanders even before the birth of their daughter, Mary. But when she is unable to give Henry the son he craves and he is ensnared in Anne Boleyn’s web, Catherine fights for her marriage, her daughter and her place as queen. (ST. MARTIN’S GRIFFIN, Oct., 288 pp., $25.99)