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May 30, 2007

Review: The Constant Princess

2007 Finishes: Books

The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 393
Rating: 3.5

This was actually the second attempt I made at reading this book. The first failed about fifty pages in: I simply couldn't buy the premise. Apparently there are some things that are "obviously what happened" in Gregory's brain, but that seemed like huge, wildly improbable conjecture to me and many other readers. I don't want to go into it in detail, so as not to spoil the plot, but basically, Gregory took historical events and assigned feelings and motivations to the major players that seemed completely unrealistic. The first time I tried to read this, I just wanted to throw it across the room.

But then The Last Boleyn came out, and I wanted to read it, but I have that thing about reading series in order. So I decided to give The Constant Princess another try. This time, I forced myself to forget that we were talking about those Tudors; I pretended they were made-up characters. It sort of worked, most of the time. It worked enough for me to conclude that once I got past the historicity issues, it was actually a pretty good book. Gregory's a good writer, and does very well at evoking the atmosphere of Tudor England. I eventually got caught up enough in this atmosphere to end up enjoying the book. So I guess I'd recommend it, but it will probably seem better to those of you who don't know or care much about the historical Tudors.

Oh, and seriously, I'm tempted to buy Gregory's books just for the cover art. Gorgeous.

Posted by Kat at May 30, 2007 09:15 AM

Well, I DO agree that her covers are fabulous. I've only read one of her books, though, and really wasn't that impressed. Maybe because I had just finished Dorothy Dunnett and really, no historical fiction author was going to compare favorably to her!!

Posted by: --Deb at May 30, 2007 05:50 PM
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