This is clearly where the Real Housewives got started. Our fascination for these Tudor wives seems endless.

katherine aragonHenry VIII and his six wives must have spawned more books, films and TV shows that just about anyone else in history.

It’s hard to imagine there’s much new to say, but popular historian Alison Weir finds a way, as she usually does, in extensive and thorough research and meticulous detail.

She presents Katherine’s story deeply grounded in the England of the time – its everyday customs, morals and religious outlook.

The basic details of Katherine’s life are well known: she came from Spain as a teenager to marry Prince Arthur, Henry’s older brother, though he died not long after.

A few years later she married the several-years-younger Henry, and began what seemed a loving and passionate relationship, enduring many failed pregnancies while producing just one living daughter.

When it was clear there would be no male heir, Henry started on a campaign to end their marriage.

Katherine’s utter refusal to back down, her insistence that she was Queen and that Henry was her lawful husband right to the end, set England on a path that would change it completely.

For fans of the Tudors or historical fiction, this is a compelling read many will find hard to put down. I found it fascinating, while finding Katherine really annoying. CH

This review was first published in the Herald Sun’s Weekend magazine. The book was published in May 2016.