Friday 25 March 2016

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: March 2016

The Cephalopod Coffeehouse: March 2016

The Armchair Squid says: 

Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the works they enjoyed most over the previous month.  Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.  If you wish to add your own review to the conversation clink the link to take you to the blue link.

This month I read six books, one was a box set of three, so in effect I read eight books.  One of books wasn’t very good and was only worth 2* from me which was quite surprising because looking up the author she is quite prolific and has received awards for her writing.

Three books received 3* they had the potential to be so much more but the reading experience was less enjoyable due to the amount of errors, typos and spelling mistakes.   

I have gone from a murder mystery set in France, to a box set of ghosts who have been murdered, to a psychic visions novel, to a cosy small town romance, to a contemporary English romance and a historical novel.  So quite a varied and diverse reading choice this month.

My 5* book this month, the very best book I have read for quite some time (I don’t give 5* ratings very often) is …………

The Constant Princess
The Tudor Court Series


Philippa Gregory

I have read quite a few novels from Philippa Gregory and always enjoyed them.  The writing is brilliant and she blends historical facts within a fictional story.

The blurb from Amazon is as follows:
A splendid and sumptuous tale of intrigue in the Tudor Court from the international bestselling author, Philippa Gregory.
We think of Katherine of Aragon as the barren wife of a notorious king; but behind this legacy lies a fascinating story.
Katherine of Aragon is born Catalina, the Spanish Infanta, to parents who are both rulers and warriors. Aged four, she is betrothed to Arthur, Prince of Wales, and is raised to be Queen of England. She is never in doubt that it is her destiny to rule that far-off, wet, cold land.
Her faith is tested when her prospective father-in-law greets her arrival in her new country with a great insult; Arthur seems little better than a boy; the food is strange and the customs coarse. Slowly she adapts to the first Tudor court, and life as Arthur’s wife grows ever more bearable.
But when the studious young man dies, she is left to make her own future: how can she now be queen, and found a dynasty? Only by marrying Arthur’s young brother, the sunny but spoilt Henry. His father and grandmother are against it; her powerful parents prove little use. Yet Katherine is her mother’s daughter and her fighting spirit is strong.
She will do anything to achieve her aim; even if it means telling the greatest lie, and holding to it.


This is the story of Catherine of Aragon, who from a young girl, has been groomed by her Spanish parents from the age of four to become the Queen of England.

The writing is style is slightly different to other books I have read from this author in that we hear the thoughts of Catherine which are written in italics.  It doesn’t take very long to get used to this style of writing.

This is a great book to really get your teeth in to and although it may seem daunting at 500 odd pages the pace and quality of writing meant I was reading it whenever any opportunity arose to read a few more pages.

It is a detailed and comprehensive look at the lives of people living in the Tudor era in England, how they were used and abused and even murdered by the people in power who could also lose their positions very easily as well.

There is love, tragedy, mental illness, plots and tactics, prejudices against people of different faiths, countries and skin colour all skilfully woven through (well researched) facts and fiction.

A brilliant read.

I would thoroughly recommend this book if you like reading about English history.